Diane (Mary) Loomer (b Kolander). Choral conductor, arranger, teacher, born St Paul, Minn, 23 Apr 1940, died Vancouver, 10 Dec 2012; BA (Gustavus Adolphus College) 1962, B MUS (British Columbia) 1982. Diane Loomer was raised in a musical Minnesota family, playing piano and accompanying singers at age five. After teaching high school math and English in the US and Germany, Loomer relocated to Vancouver and in 1979 began studies in music theory, piano and voice at Douglas College. In 1981 Loomer transferred to the University of British Columbia, where she took courses with conductor James Fankhauser and earned a degree in music theory (minor in voice) in 1982. Although lacking experience in choral conducting, on the suggestion of Professor Richard Kitson she formed and conducted the Douglas College Community Choir 1982-96 (renamed the Amabilis Singers in 1989).
In 1983-4 Diane Loomer was an apprentice to Jon Washburn, working with his Madrigal Singers, Healey Willan Singers, and Vancouver Chamber Choir. She subsequently established the Douglas College Children's Choir and became assistant director of the Vancouver Bach Choir. In 1987, after undertaking further studies in theory at the University of British Columbia, Loomer formed the Elektra Women's Choir with Morna Edmundson. She founded the Chor Leoni Men's Choir in 1992, and has remained its artistic director. Under Loomer, both choirs have earned strong international reputations for choral innovation and technical ability.
Diane Loomer conducted the University of British Columbia Choral Union 1993-9, and has guest conducted in Minnesota, Montana (2006) and Iceland (2000). She conducted provincial youth choirs throughout Canada, and in 1994 was the first woman to conduct the National Youth Choir.
In addition to conducting, she has arranged and composed several works for choir, the majority of which have been published by Cypress Choral Music, founded by Loomer and her husband, Richard Loomer.
Diane Loomer has been the recipient of a number of awards. In 1990 she was given the Willan Award by the British Columbia Choral Federation, and in 1994 was named "Vancouver's Woman of Distinction of Arts and Culture" by the YWCA. Loomer was named a distinguished alumnus of Gustavus Adolphus College in 1997 and of Douglas College in 2004. In 2005 she was named conductor emeritus at Dalhousie University. Diane Loomer was appointed a member of the Order of Canada in 1999 and received the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002.