Jan-Ake Westin


Jan-Ake was born and raised in Sweden, where he participated in community music school programs from age 8-18. He initially studied trumpet and then French horn, and played trumpet in marching bands, and trumpet and French horns in symphony orchestras and solo performances. He dived deep into music theory during his high school years.
Jan-Ake sang in a few dance and rock bands during his high school and university years. It took until his twenties before he discovered voice as a more formal instrument. He sang Tenor in classical choirs, and later on became very engaged in jazz vocal ensembles.
Jan-Ake had heard barbershop in Sweden, but didn’t like it much. “It was too repetitive and all sounded the same”, he thought then. Well, that changed when he moved to Canada in 1980 and joined the Oakville Entertainers. The Entertainers represented the Ontario District at international competitions in 1981 and 1982. Jan-Ake quickly became baritone section leader in the Oakville Entertainers because “he could read music and was pretty accurate”. Jan-Ake also sang in several quartets throughout the years who entertained in the community and competed at the district level, but never medalled. Jan-Ake got interested in chorus directing and has directed men’s and women’s barbershop chorus since 1983. Like Jim Doyle, Jan-Ake has several years of music training from the Barbershop Harmony Society (BHS). Jan-Ake is a certified BHS Music Judge.