MELANIE MINTY: A ‘west wind’ brings singers to Zephyra Women’s Choir

New chamber choir is for women who want to perform at highest level

Members of BC Girls Choir.

SURREY — Summer is almost gone. Now we are looking at school schedules rather than sun time schedules. Changes. New beginnings – or returning to our favourite fall activities. Oh yes, that is better.

I was sooo enjoying my lazy summer schedule, but everything changes with the seasons. Are you looking for something new, or maybe continuing something – like singing in a choir – that you did when you were young? Hold that thought. The BC Girls’ Choir has just announced its newest choir: Zephyra Women’s Choir.

The name comes from Greek mythology, and is the feminine form of Zephyr, or ‘the west wind.’ Well, this is the west, and it takes wind to sing, so good name. Also good to see that the BC Girls’ Choir is expanding to include those women who loved being part of this world travelling choir when they were young. But after more than a decade, the BCGC has hundreds of girls who have now grown up, graduated from school, university, become mothers and professionals. They still long to sing together at the same high level of music making they experienced in their teens.

Artistic Director Fiona Blackburn, director of the choir, noticed so many alumnae coming to concerts and supporting the newest and youngest singers. They would plead with her to, “please create a choir for us, Fiona!”

This is the year BC Girls Choir is establishing Zephyra Women’s Choir, a women’s chamber choir for advanced singers who wish to perform at the highest level of musicianship. The choir will be administered under the auspices of BC Girls’ Choir and adhere to the mission statement of BC Girls Choir: giving voice, enriching lives, creating extraordinary music. Zephyr will perform with the BC Girls Choir twice a year; however, the choir already has its own performances planned, including a fundraising concert for the Downtown Eastside Women’s Shelter, a festival performance and being part of a recording in the spring of 2016.

Zephyra Women’s Choir welcomes not only the alumnae of BC Girls Choir, but any woman who wishes to sing the most beautiful, challenging and exhilarating choral music ever written for the female voice. Prospective singers must have extensive choral experience and be musically literate. Zephyra Women’s Choir rehearses on Tuesday evenings in New Westminster, from 7:30 to 9 p.m. More information regarding auditions may be obtained from the BC Girls Choir office; email choir manager Robyn Martin at manager@bcgirlschoir.org or call 778-228-0138.

Just like summer – one thing ends, but another season arrives.

Of course, fall will always be the season for young people starting new ventures. School is just one venue. For some, music is born inside and looks for a place to be encouraged and developed.

Since 1976, the Surrey Symphony Society has provided young musicians (aged seven to 20 years) with high-caliber musical instruction and opportunities for public performance. Members are challenged by the musical training program and are rewarded for their commitment. Orchestra and chamber music concerts, as well as other public musical performances upon invitation, are presented and foster musical appreciation in the community of Surrey and the rest of the Lower Mainland. It is an extremely successful musical organization, and takes playing an instrument beyond the classroom.

Auditions for the society’s Surrey Youth Orchestra, Intermediate Orchestra, Junior Strings and Chamber Music for the 2015/16 concert season will be held on Saturday, Sept. 5 at Surrey Christian Secondary Campus, 15353 92nd Ave., Surrey. Visit Surreysymphony.com or email gm.surreysymphony@gmail.com for more information or to arrange an audition.

All this music training does come with an extra cost attached. Well, nothing worth doing comes for free – not even education of the “traditional” sort. It all has a price tag. While many parents can afford to invest in a child’s music training, there are many who really cannot afford the extra dollars. For decades, the Peninsula Arts Foundation has assisted students in the performing arts with scholarships.

It would be fantastic if this foundation, and others like it, just had a huge fund so scholarships could be doled out without any fuss. But, just like the government funds, that money has to come from somewhere.  The Surrey Young People’s Theatre Company is holding a fundraiser for the Peninsula Foundation on Saturday, Sept. 12, starting at 2 p.m. at First United Church, 15385 Semiahmoo Ave., White Rock.

SYPTCo presents “Anybody for Tea,” a delightful comedy along the lines of “Arsenic and Old Lace.” It revolves around six elderly ladies who entice their handsome neighbour – a homicide detective – into their home by staging a homicide. Logical.

This one-act comedy is followed by a tea party with tea, sweets and door prizes. Admission is only $10/$15 at the door, but do check with the foundation by emailing them at info@peninsulaartsfoundation.org. A tea party – what a great way to ease out of the summer season and on to the next.

melminty@telus.net

 

 

 

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