Police Chorus performance on the Saanich Peninsula to support refugees

Sunday Serenade concert April 24 in Saanichton raising money for Syrian Refugees.

The Greater Victoria Police Chorus.

The Greater Victoria Police Chorus.

When it started in 1984, the Greater Victoria Police Chorus included police officers from five municipalities in Victoria as well as the RCMP.

Originally, the Chorus was made up of serving and reserve officers. That has now changed, and the Chorus is open to civilians. Currently the Chorus consists of around 30 members and only five retired police officers.

“It’s mostly civilians now and they’re the nucleus and the heart and soul of the Chorus,” said Blake Green, who is a retired officer and who has been with the Chorus since its inception.

Green is a retired inspector with the Victoria Police Department and was a police officer for 39 years. He retired after being in charge of the detective division.

The original concept for the Police Chorus was for community type entertainment — for seniors, hospitals, fundraisers and more.

They wear uniforms as they sing — more of a generic one, as the various police forces in the region don different types of outfits.

“But the area (police) chiefs have still deemed it appropriate that we wear the uniform for fundraising and for charitable things,” said Green.

With between 12 and 15 concerts a year, the Chorus has travelled to Wales, England, Holland, parts of Washington State and elsewhere. The group, Green said, mainly fundraises for seniors groups, churches, hospitals and other organizations.

“All the members in our choir, they donate their time and the road trips and stuff, they pay out of their own pocket …”

On April 24, beginning at 2:30 p.m., the Chorus will perform as part of the Sunday Serenade’s special fundraising concert for Syrian Refugees.

Performing a good mix of songs, Green said the concert’s quality is very good under  the direction of their conductor.

Since it began, more than half a million dollars has been raised by the Chorus.

For people interested in joining, they must be prepared for a criminal record check, along with a testing of their voice by the conductor.

Green said he encourages young people to come out.

“I still enjoy the choir, their mandate,” he explained.

“I just would like to see more retirees or reservists or serving members come out and at least try out with the Chorus to see if it might be a fit.”

The Chorus will perform at St. Mary’s Church in Saanichton. Tickets are $25. For more information or ticket reservations, call 250-652-5392 or 250-652-1611. Alternately, email sueandjohn@shaw.ca or stmarys.saanichton@shaw.ca.

Following the Serenade concert, the Greater Victoria Police Chorus will break for a few months over the summer and reconvene in the fall.

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