Anne was a professional illustrator for thirty years (see annestanley.com), but now applies her creativity to home renos, gardening, sewing her own clothes, resin work, and more. A former world traveler and rock climber, she is an animal and nature lover. Anne has also been Echo’s administrator since 2009.
Born in Toronto, Anne is a proud homeowner, living with her two fur babies.
Echo: You are deeply involved with Echo in a number of different ways. Tell us more about your involvement with the choir.
AS: For over 24 years I’ve been singing with the choir, then administrator since 2009. Having an art background, I was really happy to get this job [part-time]. I get to do all sorts of things and I really like it. I did some artwork for our CDs, then the background for the new “Rainbow Race” virtual recording. It was also an opportunity for a singleton freelance artist like me to get into a community and group. I know so much about the choir now; the Board and Artistic Directors provide support. We work together. Since Covid, I’ve been doing more online, learning new technical things.
Echo: Why did you choose to sing with Echo? What do you like best about the choir?
AS: I wanted to join a choir, I love music. But I was too shy to audition. My friends in Echo told me you don’t have to. Also, it has a sliding scale, so that if your income is lower, you have the opportunity to pay a bit less and maybe volunteer, or to pay more if you’re able.
I liked that you can come on Tuesday nights, sing, and go home. Later on, [volunteering at fundraisers] became really fun. I have become a confident singer.
Echo: Have you always been interested in music?
AS: I’ve always been intensely interested in music, always more obscure, not mainstream (Nine Inch Nails, Nick Cave). I played piano when I was younger, and alto sax and clarinet in high school – not very well. I’ve taken up ukulele in the past couple of years and really love it because it re-introduced me to all the beautiful songs I love.
Echo: Are you still active as a visual artist?
AS: Everything I do is art. I look at things through a creative lens. I’m not a professional illustrator any more. It was too stressful to earn a living, but I had a good career. I got some really good jobs over the years. What I liked best [about my career] was connecting with the client and seeing my work in print.
Echo: What does the choir mean to you on a personal level?
AS: I’ve gotten to know a lot of people as administrator – the artistic directors, board, choir members, and workshop artists. I have so many close friends from the choir. They are so good to me. When I got sick [in 2020], they visited me at the hospital, dropped off food, gave me rides to the hospital and picked up the slack when I was not at rehearsal.
Echo: You identify as a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP). Tell us a bit about this personality trait and how it effects your daily life.
AS: It’s a huge part of my life. When I discovered I was, my whole life made sense. Fifteen to twenty per cent of the population are HSP. I am aware of every little thing (noises, moods of people, everything going on in my environment. I’m like a sponge collecting information and sometimes it’s just too much and I have to go home. Then there is the deep processing of all that I’ve taken in and the vast inner world. I am conscientious and empathetic. I try to put people at ease in social situations and I’m very curious about human nature. Collecting information as an administrator is the perfect job for me.
Echo: How have you coped with virtual singing offered by Echo online during Covid?
AS: I am Zoom host [for the online rehearsals], so there’s lots for me to do as I sing along. I think it would be difficult for some to sing in isolation. We’re all just doing what we can until we can get back together again.