MINTY: Barbershop chorus marks Remembrance Day on Nov. 1

A recent chamber of commerce survey indicated that only 13 per cent of people living in Surrey feel "safe," as compared to 54 per cent in Vancouver.

I would sure like to know how many people were surveyed, in which neighborhoods, and how the survey was taken. Surrey is a wonderful place to live, with plentiful parks, lovely libraries, art centres, theatres and recreational programs.

More than 1,000 people per month are moving into Surrey, so why is there such a bad image? Why don’t you feel safe? It is an important issue in the upcoming municipal elections.

While more policing, especially the community police patrols, can certainly add to the safety of our city, you should know about a group of individuals who have made a difference.

Friends of the Grove is a community group that has been focused on The Grove, a stand of magnificent trees located near the Newton bus loop and Newton Recreation Centre. Through improvements, poetry readings and music gatherings, Friends of the Grove has made some progress in making this part of Surrey both usable and safer.

Friends of the Grove just received the 2014 Beautiful City Award. This award is given annually to celebrate achievements in community beautification. The city has also given the Friends of the Grove a grant to install lighting in this area. Beauty and safety.

Even more important, Newton neighbours and businesses have all contributed to make this one small spot in Surrey a better place. Well done, and an award well deserved. Just think what could happen with more community groups like Friends of the Grove. We look out for one another and take pride in our neighborhood.

In our multicultural city, we may not always understand our neighbours. Good place to start understanding each other better is to learn a little about the history of Surrey.

Surrey Museum is a good place to discover. There are unique artifacts, images and interactive displays in a stunning, modern space that highlights Surrey’s history. And there are special programs available as well. Surrey Remembers is the theme for Remembrance Day activities.

After the Remembrance Day ceremony at the cenotaph, you are invited to come in for refreshments, films and "peaceful" crafts for kids. Local author Sylvia Crooks will also have a visual presentation exploring how the two world wars affected life in small-town British Columbia. This presentation is from noon to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 11; pre-registration in requested by calling 604-592-6956.

Remembrance Day isn’t always celebrated on Nov. 11. The Langley chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society, also known as the 1st Capital Chorus, is holding its 19th Annual Remembrance Day show. The 2014 variety show commemorates the 70th anniversary of D-Day and is on Saturday, Nov. 1, at 2 and 7 p.m. at St. Mark’s Anglican church, 12953 20th Ave., Surrey. Tickets are $20 general and $15 for students/seniors, and can be purchased at the door. Be early if you plan to purchase tickets at the door. This presentation by the 1st Capitol Chorus is well attended, usually. It is inspirational and reminds us of the people who went to war to make our community safe. For information, phone Denny at 604-536-7983.

There’s more: August 2014 marked the 100th Anniversary of the First World War. In remembrance of the sacrifices made during "The Great War," Peninsula Productions, along with The City of White Rock, is staging the poignant Canadian play Mary’s Wedding, by Stephen Massicotte.

In the early months of 1914, while seeking refuge from a sudden storm, Mary, a recent immigrant from England, and Charlie, an Albertan farm boy, find not just shelter, but each other. Six years later, on the night before Mary’s wedding, she dreams of Charlie. In her dream, she is with him when he joins the C Squadron of Lord Strathcona’s Horse.

She is with him in the trenches and, ultimately, is with him at the battle of Moreuil Wood. By marrying scenes of Prairie thunderstorms and polite tea parties with the horrors of war, Mary’s Wedding captures Canada’s sacrifice with sensitivity and beauty. Directed by Wendy Bollard, the performers are Harrison MacDonald and Julia Siedlanowska. This is a limited run, from Nov. 11 to 15.

The Nov. 11 performance is dedicated to Canadian veterans – free to all vets and their families and by donation for everyone else. Tickets for performances from Nov. 12 to 15 are $20. The show is staged at the Black Box Theatre at White Rock Elementary, 1273 Fir St., White Rock. Tickets can be purchased online and in person at White Rock Visitor Information Centres.

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