CHARLOTTETOWN – Keeping a choir together for 50 years requires a large dose of commitment, but it also helps to have a cause. So it is with the Charlottetown Royal Canadian Legion Choir whose mandate is to provide music for ceremonies commemorating the sacrifice of Canada’s war veterans.
Documents in the choir’s archives record its beginnings in 1963 as an all-male chorus, and its improvement by the addition of women a decade later. Through half a century the choir has kept on serving its cause, and at one time consisted of 40 members. Today it has about 20 voices. Though once a men’s chorus, there is now a shortage of men, which seems to be a common problem in choirs these days.
The Chorus intends to recapture some of its old ways when it celebrates 50 years beginning this fall. Besides its focal role on Remembrance Day, the group plans to re-embrace entertaining at local seniors’ centres, as well as performing as usual for the public in concerts at Christmas and in the spring.
The repertoire of musical selections includes wartime music with a message of hope for peace in the world, and also popular music, show tunes, sacred music, folk songs and traditional fare, all under the direction of Hannah Rollwage and accompanist Sondra Fletcher.
Soprano Mary Gallant has attended the choir for about 10 years.
“Having the chance to sing regularly is what attracted me, and we learn lots of new songs,” she says.
The fellowship of the group is important too.
The choir has high hopes of expanding its numbers of men and women, and the addition of some younger members may be crucial to surviving another 50 years.
“We are certainly looking for a few good men to step forward,” says chorus president, Colleen Murphy.
There is no audition process for prospective singers. The principal requirement is a love of music, the ability to carry a tune, and some commitment to attend Tuesday night practices and events from September through May.
The first such practice occurs on Sept. 10 from 7-8:30 p.m. at the Charlottetown Legion (top floor) on Pownal St.
Charlottetown Royal Canadian Legion Choir is grateful for the continuing support of the Charlottetown Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion and the use of a room and piano on Tuesday evenings.
The choir will be having a Bake & Book sale on Saturday, Oct. 5, starting at 9 a.m., at Confederation Court Mall. Monies raised will be used to offset regular group expenses. Those who wish to donate books or baked goods should contact Kip Holloway at 628-1415.