Interview with Soleil Chouinard
VWS: Tell me about your work and education after graduating from the VWS. (post-secondary schooling, travel, work experience, family, etc.)
JC: After graduation, I did four years of music studies at VCC, majoring in Classical Voice. Following that, I moved to Hamburg to study Werbeck singing with Holger Lampson (for those around the school in the 1980s, that is Olaf’s little brother). I completed my studies in 2002 with a singing coach diploma, moved to the UK with Amy and started a family. I did eight years of sales, starting out selling CDs out of a bag and ending up working for a global leader selling sophisticated psychometric solutions to international clients.
VWS: What kind of work/study are you involved in now?
JC: With our move to Vancouver in 2010 and the arrival of our third daughter, I have returned to university to get my Bachelor of Commerce. Having studied orchard management at the Kwantlen Farm School in Richmond, I combined a passion for fruit trees. I am creating a business producing pears for the growing local cider industry.
VWS: What do you enjoy most about your work?
JC: The study is fascinating and engaging. Fruit is delicious (no one who has had one of Martin Rothe’s peaches would deny that), and working with fruit trees is an exercise in reading the future. Interacting with something that can live and be productive when one’s grandchildren are old reminds me of the transient nature of my existence and that the impact of my actions will long survive me and ripple out into the world to places I cannot imagine.
VWS: What do you think are your greatest successes in life?
JC: My beautiful family.
VWS: How did Waldorf education affect your life and career choice?
JC: The most significant gift that the Waldorf education gave me was the ability to turn my hand to anything fearlessly; from singing the lead role in an opera, selling CDs out of a bag in London (the UK, not Ontario!), to managing large corporate clients, to pruning trees in the pouring rain, and delighting in making composts. As of yet, I have not been an ironmonger, a mathematician, or a commercial banker, but I am still young.
VWS: What are your fondest memories of your time at the VWS?
JC: Hiking the Stein Valley in the high school, doing Eurythmy with Mr. Down, counting up to 99 with my fingers (yup, I can do that), making an egg in woodworking with Mr. Schneider and Chemistry with Olaf Lampson. More recently, this past Christmas, I got to play Muckel – the best shepherd in The Shepherd’s Play! That was a highlight on my bucket list!!
Editor’s Note: Joseph and Amy Chouinard had three children in the VWS. Joseph obtained his Bachelor in Business Administration at Capilano University. They are currently living in England as of January 2018.
Michelle Gibson, for Development April 2012
The Vancouver Waldorf School provides an experiential, age-appropriate approach to education based on the insights of Rudolf Steiner that inspires students to love learning, to be creative, open-minded, and compassionate. With a curriculum that integrates all academics with the arts and social learning, Waldorf Education develops not only the left and right hemispheres of the brain but the whole human being. A child’s social, emotional, physical and intellectual development is considered equally, supporting a conscious unfolding of the individuality within each student. Waldorf graduates possess capacities for empathy and clear, creative and independent thinking that enables them to carry out a chosen course of action with moral courage and social responsibility.