From left: founding member Lynn Buchanan

Village Voices of Qualicum Beach celebrating milestone

The local choir is going into its 25th season this fall

Once you’ve sung in a choir, there’s nothing quite like it, says Rosemary Lindsay.

Lindsay, the director for the Village Voices of Qualicum Beach which is going into its 25th year, said the singing releases endorphins.

“It’s kind of addictive,” said Lindsay, who’s been the director since 2007 (she took a year off in 2014).

The Village Voices of Qualicum Beach started in the fall of 1992 in the living room of one of the founding members, according to Lynn Buchanan.

Lynn and her husband Claud, who was also the first president of the group, were some of the founding members.

In 1992, Lynn and Claud said there there were 25 choristers listed but attendance wasn’t quite as consistent.

“The first few years were pretty rough. They were rocky and as Claud says, some of our performances were ‘brave’ more than anything,” Lynn said. “We’d all be out there shaking.”

Since those first few rocky years, current president Paul Reitsma said membership is usually around 60, but has been as high as 75 in some years.

“People like to come and sing in the choir, but for some, it’s a social outing as well,” Reitsma said.

Lynn said that during her time with the choir, she has created deep and lasting friendships. She remembered singing Lean on Me bringing her close to tears at a Saturday workshop.

“I think that says it. We do lean on each other,” Lynn said. “We lean on each other during rehearsal because we have to listen to the people behind us and listen to Rosemary and listen to ourselves.”

Lindsay said singing can also be beneficial to people’s health.

“I’ve been very well aware that there have been a number of members who have been facing life-threatening illness and that Monday night rehearsal is part of their health program,” Lindsay said. “To be in there, rehearsing, not thinking about it for those two hours. To me, it really is part of someone’s health regime. Their doctor might say, you need to take these pills and you need to sing in this community choir.”

Lindsay also said that people don’t need to have a particular strength to be a part of the choir.

“Whatever your strength is, it’s complemented. Everybody can come and meet on level ground,” Lindsay said. “You never have to feel like you have to reach a certain standard. It’s just kind of a melting pot; you put everybody in and just end up with the final result.”

Village Voices was started partly as a way for people to sing, but without having to reach a certain level or repertoire, according to Lindsay.

“They wanted to do something lighter, but they didn’t want to make it so light that they just got together one night a week to sing, but didn’t perform. This choir was definitely started to fill that niche. We want to perform, we want to work toward something, but maybe not something as demanding as other choirs were already doing,” she said.

Darla Clarke, a member of the choir for years, said their group has something different from most choirs.

“Our director Rosemary is also a voice teacher,” Clarke said of Lindsay who is a vocal instructor in the music department of Vancouver Island University. “We all get a voice lesson every week. Not many choirs can say that.”

There are two performances this season, We Sing Out on Nov. 20 at 2:30 p.m. and This Season Will Never Grow Old on Dec. 11 at 2:30 p.m.

Tickets are available at Mulberry Bush Bookstore or at the door for $15 for adults and $10 for students. Children ages 12 and under are free.

For more information, visit www.thevillagevoices.ca

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