May 07, 2014

Choral Connecting

This weekend I had the immense privilege of directing my choir through their spring concerts.  I was definitely not the only person who was blown away by what we have accomplished this term.

I share the directorship of this wonderful group, so when I say "my choir" I really do mean "our choir"; this year has definitely seen a team effort.  In the last 12 months, this community choir has experienced a complete make-over which was only partly intended.

We began the year with a Men-Beer-Ship Drive at the Royal Canadian Legion, which was wildly successful.  After our December concerts, more people joined; the choir has gone from 30 voices at this time last year to just shy of 80 voices now.

A large part of that growth in numbers has to do with the contageousness of joy.  This group comes from all walks of life, all levels of musical experience and inexperience, and marks birth-years in six decades.  The unifier is music.  We gather to sing because we love to do so.

The term was incredible, with repertoire taken from all influences - Sea Shanties, Canadian Folk Music, Gregorian Chant, Broadway, Gospel... as well as a new piece written specifically for us by composer Jeff Christmas commemorating the flooding of 2013 and our association's 20th anniversary.  Musically, the singers stepped up to the plate and delivered at a level previously unheard.

But at our gathering last night, it was reinforced to me that this choir is about so much more than the music.  I have had the honour of seeing friendships develop, connections made, and solace found between members. 

In the last year we had one brain surgery, one heart attack, two (or three?) knees replaced, cataract surgery, family members with various health scares, Lyme's disease, the fall-out from divorce, and the joy of children.  We are expecting two babies, anticipating at least one wedding, and seeing kids grow and leave their hometown.  The choir has welcomed people new to our town (and in a sense, defined their early lives here through connections with other singers) and is sad to see old friends leaving for new chapters elsewhere.

And there is more.  Last night at the Royal Canadian Legion, where so much began last August, plans were made between members to get together and continue making music through the summer break.  At least one small group was forming to play to residents at one of our long-term care facilities.  Newbies are coming out to my improv song jams.  Choir members conspired to join the incredibly popular ukulele group that meets weekly here.  Others are planning to join a dance class together.

The quality of the music, the infectious joy, and the blossoming of community in this choir has overwhelmed me and I count myself unspeakably blessed to be a part of this group at this time.

All that I can really think to say is THANK YOU.



If you're in the Bow Valley and are interested in joining us in the fall, we'd love to have you.  We are a non-auditioned community choir (which means you absolutely welcome, no matter your musical background or lack thereof) where the community counts for as much as the choir, if not more.  For information, click here:  Valley Winds Music Association

From on April 19, 2015 4:11 PM

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