Peter Butterfield

Peter Butterfield
Teacher, Senior School Choral Music
September, 2009
BA (McGill); Britten-Pears School for Advanced Musical Training, UK

It is physically, emotionally and spiritually inspirational to express ourselves through the singing voice.

Using a variety of musical styles and a balance of theory, history and anecdotal material, a choir class with Mr. Butterfield is part instruction, part inspiration. Mr. Butterfield aims to create a dynamic classroom environment.

"Ambiance, environment and atmosphere in the room are fundamental components of a meaningful singing session," says Peter. "With diverse amounts of talent, interest and skill within any given class, my teaching philosophy is based in a belief that everyone has some ability to express themselves through their singing voice."

In 1982, Peter made his professional debut as a concert soloist with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. Since then he has lived and worked in Europe and North America, performing in great concert halls including the Palais de Beaux Arts in Brussels, the Barbicon Centre in London, and the Musikverein in Vienna. Since returning to his native west coast in 2001, Peter has directed school and community choirs in Vancouver and Victoria.

Always willing to provide individual coaching, Peter always offers extra sessions each week. Called "SMUSings", it is for any student wishing to sing through any material and receive feedback and coaching.

"I love teaching and conducting. I see them as two sides of the same coin," he says. "Through singing, there are opportunities to have a peek into another time period while improving understanding of English and the flow of language."

Singing, says Peter, also opens up an instant community. "It is a skill that is easily continued at university, and thus provides an immediate connection to a group in a new place."

In addition to senior choir class, Peter prepares the vocal music for the senior school annual musical solo and ensemble parts and also spends time in our residences as a Houseparent.