Open Voices Community Choir was founded by Andy Rush and a group of like-minded friends in the fall of 2001.
Andy has been the Artistic Director of Open Voices since the choir's inception, except for two short hiatuses, and has degrees in Music and Education from Queen’s University.
Andy’s grandmother was a piano teacher in Sault St. Marie, Ontario and Andy grew up listening to his dad play old standards on the upright in the Rush parlor. Andy studied piano, and participated in choirs, school musicals and as a guitar playing folk music enthusiast in his youth. Early teaching experience included summer camp counseling, tall ship sail training and YMCA leadership.
After certification in 1986, Andy had a very dynamic and active career as a high school music teacher for choral, instrumental and guitar music. During this time Andy began to lead impromptu, mixed skill, adult choral workshops at the Blue Skies Music Festival, and at other festivals and camps across Ontario. A group of friends, from Andy’s Community in Song weekends in Lyndhurst, set Open Voices in motion.
Andy took a year off teaching in 1999/2000 to do graduate studies and his master’s project which involved listening to choir members, and interviewing choir directors and leaders from other community choir projects. It was this experience that inspired Andy to start Open Voices Community Choir.
Andy retired from high school teaching in June 2012 but continues as an adjunct instructor at Queen’s University’s Faculty of Education, and with Open Voices.
Andy continues to learn about music and choral art by attending music festivals, workshops, and clinics.
He lives with his wife Jackie, a high school English Teacher, in downtown Kingston, and his two daughters Kat and Tegan are developing careers in the visual arts.
Andy loves the challenge of unlocking the musical puzzle of each song. He revels in creating interesting and fun concerts and finds the whole teaching/learning dynamic in rehearsal and performance to be exciting. Andy enjoys arranging music for the choir, especially when we feature a singer/songwriter as a guest. He is assisted by a very able group of musicians, board members and member volunteers.