Members of the Sooke Community Choir practice for their HITS! show, which is coming to Qualicum Beach May 12 to perform pop songs. — Submitted by Margaret Longdale

Sooke group lends choir power to pop songs

HITS! concert bringing Adele, Ed Sheeran, Radiohead music to Qualicum Beach

As the Sooke Community Choir has grown even more popular, so have the tunes it sings.

The choir, which now includes almost 60 singers, is headed to the Qualicum Beach Civic Centre on Saturday, May 12, to perform its HITS! concert.

The show features chart-toppers by musicians including Toto, Adele, Ed Sheeran, Tom Petty, Pentatonix and more. The focus on pop songs leads to a lively, energetic performance from choir members, said artistic director Bruce Ruddell, and is perhaps one reason the choir has managed to grow.

“We do three shows in Sooke. We’re in a huge, huge hall and we sell really, really well,” said Ruddell, adding he’s not sure exactly why they’ve grown so popular, but said one reason could be the variety of the types of music the choir performs.

In the Parksville Qualicum Beach area, the choir has brought a 70’s themed show and a spirituals show including African-American music and songs from The Beach Boys.

“At Christmas, we were invited by Christ Church Cathedral here in Victoria to bring our winter show in there,” said Ruddell. “And that was a big classical program… and now we’re doing this show, which is a celebration of the pop song.”

Some of that movement is down to survival, said Ruddell.

“It keeps it alive,” he said. “I mean if we were just going to do one genre of music, it would get tiring for me, and I wouldn’t be able to do it.”

Ruddell works in the music industry as a writer/composer/musician (and much more), and has written popular music. He’s also got a great interest in the genre.

“People think about a pop song as being a simple thing to bang up,” he said. “It’s as hard to write a good pop song as it is to write a symphony.”

Luckily for Ruddell, the choir is just as excited to try pop music in a choral form.

“They really love it. They jump as quickly from singing Bach to singing Radiohead,” he said. “So I’m really happy that they like to jump around where I like to jump around.”

That excitement of many voices is one of the things a choir format can add to pop music, said Ruddell.

“What changes is that the music really gets infused with the energy of each of the singers. So they have an identification with this music already. And what I’ve really encouraged them to do is to sing it… all the right notes and everything, but with the attitude that they first came upon these great songs,” he said.

“The choir is really loose in that way, a lot like back-up singers.”

The choir will have seven soloists perform, including a male soloist for an Adele piece. That choice is not only to highlight one of the choir’s great singers, but to deter comparisons to Adele.

Other pieces the choir will perform are Somebody That I Used To Know (Pentatonix’s cover of the Gotye song) and Creep by Radiohead. The choir will be helped along in their performances by a drummer, a guitarist and a keyboard player.

The concert is on Saturday, May 12, starting at 2 p.m. at the Qualicum Beach Civic Centre. Tickets are $20 (free for those under 16 years old) and can be purchased at the door. Doors open at 1:30 p.m.

For more info on the Sooke Community Choir, go to sookecommunitychoir.com or call 250-642-3566.

Send story tips to: adam.kveton@pqbnews.com

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