When Gordon Miller and Christine Chepyha started the Sing Your Joy choir in 2011, it was for young adults looking for a place to come and sing.
It’s free and there are no auditions or barriers.
And it has stayed that way ever since. The choir is getting ready for its ninth season, with an intake at the first rehearsal, Monday, Sept. 9, 6 p.m. at Oak Bay United Church.
The only caveat is it’s a youth choir for singers aged 16 to 29, which was also the goal from the beginning.
“We wanted to create a choir for this age group with no barriers to participation, and quite often finances are a barrier,” Chepyha said.
The choir runs two sessions, a fall season from September to December and a winter season from January to April, each of which ends with a performance. This year’s concert event is called Beautiful & Beyond and is booked for Dec. 6 at St. Aidan’s United Church.
|Co-directors Gordon Miller and Christine Chepyha of the Sing Your Joy chorus with Board Chair
(Brad Edwards Photography)
Each season between 65 and 70 per cent of the choir return. Some come and go for high school, others are transient post-secondary students. And some join while visiting from other parts of the world, Chepyha said.
“Once you try it a couple nights, we ask those who want to join to commit for the concert.”
When the group starts there is a period of getting to know each other. By the end, the choir is a great community with friendships who support each other, she added. “And they make a great sound.”
This year’s music will include songs by the Beatles, Gordon Lightfoot and Pink, as well as some Broadway musical pieces. Chepya added the Beatles music after being inspired from seeing Paul McCartney in Edmonton last year.
The choir’s co-directors share duties, with Chepyha doing piano accompaniment while Miller conducts. Miller was the Oak Bay United Church musical director when they started and is now in community outreach with the James Bay United Church. Chepyha is a professional musician.
The two are compensated for their time from the ticket sales for the concert and donations.
Looking ahead, the group will commission its first musical piece to perform next year. The co-directors secured a grant from the CRD Arts committee and are using it hire composer and choir director Brian Tate. Sing Your Joy will perform the piece next year for its 10th anniversary.
“(Tate) will work with our singers to develop the lyrics … we’re really excited, because this is our first time we’ve engaged a composer to write the piece for us,” Chepyha said. “It shows we’re getting there.”
For more information visit singyourjoy.ca/join-now. New and returning singers are welcome on Sept. 9 and 16, the start of the 13-week season.