HANNA PETERSEN PHOTO North Island Community Choir performing at the Port Hardy Civic Centre in December.

North Island Community Choir welcomes new singers

The newly formed choir is set to start their sping session

The newly formed North Island Community Choir is gearing up for their spring session following a successful first-run last fall.

The choir came into being after a conversation took place between Port McNeill Rotarian Deborah Murray and Marcia O’Neill, a music teacher who moved to the North Island last year from Newfoundland to be closer to her daughter and grandchildren.

“We were talking about a choir and she said there used to be choirs here and now there aren’t and I said oh well I can do a choir because I’m a music teacher,” said O’Neill who teaches piano, voice, musical theatre, and theory.

It wasn’t long before their idea became a reality, and the North Island Community Choir was born.

“There is a joy in singing and there is nothing quite like it,” said O’Neill, adding that “I think that the benefit to having a choir is giving people the opportunity to enjoy sining.”

The choir performed as an opening act for the opera group Viviace during the North Island Concert Society’s Dec. 2 performance, and hosted their own Christmas concert at the Gate House Theatre the following week where they had 28 adults and 13 children perform.

“We had quite a good turnout with both the adults and kids and decided that this is something that could be an organization all on its own,” said O’Neill who added she hopes they will have enough interest after the spring session to form a board of directors.

While the choir’s first session took place in Port McNeill, the rehearsals for the 12-week spring session will take place in Port Hardy.

O’Neill said she’d like to see roughly 20 children and 40 adults participate, and noted that the choir is accessible to everyone who wants to sing regardless of musical ability.

“I have some people who have been singing in choirs for ages and were delighted to hear that a choir had started again because they really just want to sing, and I have some people who have sung in choirs but aren’t feeling secure, and some who have never sung,” said O’Neill.

She said she likes having a mix of people, because the more established singers can mentor the new recruits.

“Often times signing is a matter of confidence and if you are surrounded by people who are singing it’s easy to join in,” said O’Neill, adding that “If you have to sing all by yourself it’s a whole other matter but choirs are nice because if you miss nobody notices.”

O’Neill said she has chosen feel-good music for the spring session, which includes a few show tunes. “When I’m picking the repertoire I try to have a variety of beauty and fun, and some things that people can move too, and some things that have some really interesting harmonies,” she said.

The first rehearsal of will take place on Jan. 21 from 2:00 – 4:00 pm at St. Columba’s Church in Port Hardy and the costs of attending the 12 week session is $60 for adults and free for children.

She said after the first rehearsal new participants can bring home the music to practice and decide if it’s something they would like to commit to doing before they register for the full session.

O’Neill said that new participants will also have a brief introduction to choral singing, which will help them learn how a choir functions by teaching them things like how to look at sheet music or how to find their parts.

“It’s pretty basic to our nature to sing,” said O’Neill, adding “It’s only as we get bigger that we think maybe we shouldn’t be heard and we tend to stop singing.”

The choir will host another concert sometime in the spring when the session wraps up.

For more information on the North Island Community Choir or to pre-register contact Marcia O’Neill at 250-230-4398 or mbaoneill@hotmail.com

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