Metro Vancouver women’s chorus going for gold at ‘Olympics of the singing world’

The Lions Gate Chorus is looking for new members in preparation for a major international competition on Oct. 17-22 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

A Lower Mainland a cappella women’s group is looking for new members as they prepare for the “Olympics of the singing world.”

The Lions Gate Chorus, an 80-member choral ensemble, is gearing up to compete at the Sweet Adelines International’s 70th annual International Competition & Convention Oct. 17-22 at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The group, which performs both contemporary pop hits and barbershop classics, is part of Sweet Adelines International, the world’s largest singing organization for women, boasting 23,000 members from five continents. The chorus has represented Western Canada at the international competition 12 times and in the last decade has consistently placed in the top five.

North Delta resident Jenny Chou got involved with the chorus four years ago at the behest of an old friend.

“They had an open house on my birthday, so I thought I’d check it out,” Chou says. “They sounded amazing and everyone looked like they were enjoying themselves. They were dancing and I thought, ‘gosh I cannot not join now.’”

She says the chorus gave her a chance to reconnect with music, something she had found difficult due to the demands of her career in health care and her young family.

The Lions Gate Chorus performing at last year's Sweet Adelines International’s annual International Competition & Convention in Las Vegas, Nev.

The Lions Gate Chorus performing at last year’s Sweet Adelines International’s annual International Competition & Convention in Las Vegas, Nev. Photo submitted

“What keeps me personally interested is the degree of learning. Despite my having a good background in classical music, I found myself learning so much about singing,” she says. “It’s like a package, so for whoever is interested in music and [is] theatrical, it’s the perfect place to be.”

Perhaps most important, however, is the sense of camaraderie Chou says the members of the chorus inspire.

“You make friends there,” Chou says. “There are all kinds of women in the chorus and they’re all very encouraging in terms of teaching and making sure that you learn at the same time you’re having fun. It’s exciting. I just keep learning and that really intrigues me.”

The Lions Gate Chorus is holding an open house for prospective members on Tuesday, Sept. 13 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at 3403 East 49th Avenue in Vancouver to answer questions and perform a few numbers for those in attendance. For more information visit lionsgatechorus.ca.

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