Charles Vanderwilt in hospital after being struck while out walking. (Submitted by Sue Doman)

Greater Victoria choir singer performing for first time after brain surgery

After being hit by a car, Charles Vanderwilt is back on stage with the Starlight Pops Feb. 1, 3

The Starlight Pops Choir will be performing at the Dave Dunnet Theatre Feb. 1 and 3, and Charles Vanderwilt will be singing with them for the first time since being hit by a car.

Vanderwilt woke up in the ICU after being struck while walking in late September. He suffered a severe skull fracture which required emergency brain surgery.

Doctors thought he would remain hospitalized for weeks and require months of therapy, but Vanderwilt was soon able to walk out under the care of his wife Liz Mackay. He made it back to choir practice in November.

RELATED: Canada’s largest male voice sings with Victoria’s Starlight Pops in Oak Bay

“We were horrified when we heard what happened to him, and thought he would be away from choir for a long time,” said choir director Sue Doman. “But his voice is strong and he’s up to speed with all the memorization, which is unbelievable considering what he’s been through. We’re thrilled to have him back with us.”

“Our choir sings challenging arrangements of popular songs, and all music has to be memorized when we perform,” Vanderwilt said. “So that was another obstacle I had to overcome.”

Vanderwilt had music memorization included as part of his Cognitive Therapist sessions, which helped drive his desire to get back on the stage.

“Starlight Pops is a huge part of my life, they’re like a second family to me,” Vanderwilt said.

Doors open at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 1, and 2:30 p.m. for the Feb. 3 performance. Limited tickets will be available for $25.



jesse.laufer@oakbaynews.com

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