Barry Yamanouchi Receives Honours by BC Choral Federation

photoCoastal Sound Piano Accompanist Barry Yamanouchi was awarded the Joyce O. Maguire Award for outstanding, long-term service as a choral accompanist, by the British Columbia Choral Federation at their Chorfest Banquet at the Sutton Place Hotel May 3rd.  Barry, completely surprised by the award, received a standing ovation by all in attendance, then went on to accompany the BCCF Youth Choir that evening. 

Barry started piano accompanying at Coastal Sound in June 1995. At that time, the fledgling organization was called “Coquitlam District Choral Society”. Barry came on board to accompany the Coquitlam District Children’s Choir on their first international tour to Des Moines Iowa. Barry has remained on contract at Coastal Sound ever since then, and with good reason. As well as being a sensitive artist at the piano, Barry is dedicated, caring, generous, loyal and nurturing of everyone.

From September 1995 to June 2008, Barry worked with Morna Edmundson and our Coastal Sound Youth Chamber Choir. This included tours, retreats, recordings, major works and festivals. Together, Morna and Barry created an outstanding, internationally recognized chamber choir for youth.

During this same time from 1998-2000, Barry created and led an innovative accompanist training program at Coastal Sound.  Barry mentored budding young pianists each week, offering feedback on their rehearsal playing, and tips of the trade honed from his years of experience as an accompanist for choirs and solo singers. Some wonderful accompanists like George Chung, Demi Chao, Alyssa Espiritu, Maana Javadi and Peter Abando got off to a great start thanks to Barry’s tutelage and encouragement.

Barry also helped to create our theory and sight-singing program, and continues to offer insights and suggestions for program refinements. He is currently one of our theory and sight-singing instructors. Singers appreciate his expertise and his calm, quiet and nurturing, professional teaching style.

In September 2008, Barry was at the piano with founding Artistic Director Donna Otto and the Coastal Sound Children’s Choir, including an epic tour to China. Barry has remained a faithful accompanist for our Children’s Choir since that time. Current Artistic Director Diana Clark has worked collaboratively each week with Barry since September 2009.

“I appreciate that Barry is involved in, and committed to singers’ learning. He is a calming influence, and clear, rational thinker when it comes to helping make decisions about our choir. At the piano, Barry is an intuitive artist, and an exceptional improviser, making the most of a boring or even non-existent piano part! When faced with a challenging piano part (it is rare that Barry is challenged by a part!) Barry is prepared and does what it takes to do so. There have been many times when I have thanked my lucky stars for having Barry Yamanouchi at the piano next to me!” says Clark.

Barry has been a dedicated and loyal part of the Coastal Sound team- and he gives each organization he works with, this same treatment and thoughtful consideration. He is always kind, professional, prepared, and supportive of everyone around him.

Clark adds, “I have never, ever, heard an unkind word spoken from Barry, about any of the musicians or organizations he has worked with. Never. I trust him completely and because of this, I feel like I can take risks and be vulnerable in rehearsals, and I feel like I have a partner at the piano.”

Barry usually will come early to performances in order to be well prepared. He will bring his own equipment for gigs where keyboard is needed. He will coordinate performances by our singers at his church, so that they can gain performance experience. He will go the extra mile and extra hours at a performance, generously donating services as necessary.

In short, Barry Yamanouchi is an outstanding accompanist. Artistically, he is accomplished, sensitive, responsive and creative. Barry is also an outstanding person with his unassuming and gentle manner and kind spirit. The fact that Barry has made a career out of accompanying, speaks volumes to how respected and accomplished he is.

All of us at Coastal Sound are thrilled that Barry Yamanouchi has been singled out to receive this prestigious award. We truly, cannot think of anyone more deserving, more dedicated with such long term service to the profession, and more representative of the qualities of an outstanding accompanist.


The Joyce O. Maguire Award

  • For outstanding, long-term service as a choral accompanist
  • Nominations will include individuals who possess the qualities outlined above

Joyce Maguire was pianist for the Vancouver Bach Choir for nearly 40 years, and manager of its Children’s and Youth projects from their inception. She was elected as Associate of the Royal Academy for achieving distinction in the profession, and also served as Executive Director of the BCCF from 1983 until 2004.