Checo Tohomaso's Bio
Music Director, Checo Tohomaso, brings a wealth of musical experience to the Vancouver Outreach Community Sweet Soul Gospel Choir (VOC). Born in Florida, and raised in Hawaii as well as Okinawa Japan, he has entertained with many notable performers throughout his career. Checo was honoured to play keyboards, percussion and sing background vocals for the last European tour of Motown legend, Marvin Gaye. As a keyboard player and background vocalist for the Green Machine, the band providing the sound for The Commodores and Lionel Ritchie, he continued to tour the world extensively until Expo '86 brought Checo to Vancouver.
Checo’s musical journey began in early childhood where his first performances were as a member of a church choir. The son of an African-American Christian mother and Peruvian/African-American Jewish father, Checo grew up surrounded by different styles of ethnic music. When asked how his passion for Gospel music began, Checo points out “ninety per cent of American Soul, R&B, and Jazz singers have their musical foundation singing Gospel music in the church and I was heavily influenced by those artists at a very early age”.
Following Expo ’86, Checo toured the Canadian school system exposing youth to ethnic and soul music. In addition, he worked extensively with the First Nations population to provide positive motivation, from the perspective of a person of colour, and deliver messages of staying in school, staying off drugs, and racial tolerance.
Checo’s current focus is to communicate the positive, healing qualities of soul music to as many people as possible. He notes, “at home, everyone sings Gospel and the spirit and culture are strong. People in Vancouver are longing for real music and my goal is to bring it!”
In order to achieve his goal of "bringing soul to the city", Checo also coaches soul, R&B, gospel and light jazz-style vocals, and teaches both keyboards and bass to students from across the lower mainland.