Sunrise seniors sing proudly, with room for more voices (photos)

WHALLEY — A multipurpose room at Chuck Bailey rec centre filled with the sound of voices in song.

"Stop, stop, stop — careful with the pitch here," music director Maureen Edwards told members of Sunrise Seniors Choir as they rehearsed on Tuesday afternoon (June 9).

"It’s good, but we can be better."

Some of the choristers sat in chairs and, at times, others stood to sing along to notes played by pianist Tatyan Ribnitska.

The rehearsal was a key one, with the 30-member choir set to perform its twice-yearly formal concert this Sunday afternoon (June 14, 2 p.m. start) at the very same venue.

The choir has been around for close to 30 years, with rehearsals held at Chuck Bailey in recent times. Before that, the group was based at Sunrise Pavilion, which was knocked down to make way for Surrey’s new city hall.

"It was a difficult transition from having our own centre at Sunrise Pavilion to being just a part of a multi-generational group (of patrons at Chuck Bailey)," choir member Diane Hislop told the Now.

"There were some growing pains at first," she added. "There were some concerns about the location at first, but it’s only a few blocks from the old building. Sometimes we felt forgotten. Three years on, though, we are settled into our new digs.

"It is a joy to see the young people listening to us. The parking is much bettter, the cafeteria is great, the acoustics are way better than the old gym we used to practice in."

Staff at Chuck Bailey have also been friendly and very helpful to the choir, she underlined.

"They go out of their way to make tremendous meals and celebrations for us."

The choir sings each year at the Strawberry Tea for seniors at Surrey’s big Canada Day celebration in Cloverdale, and also regularly performs at seniors’ residences around the city, among other events.

Women outnumber men in this choir, and that is a bit of a problem.

"We’re always happy to have new members, especially men," Hislop emphasized. "We need the men because thier voices add so much depth to the songs. It’s really important to us as a choir."

For its concert this Sunday, the choir will perform a variety of favourites, starting with "Canon of Joy" and including "The Ash Grove" and "Art Thou Troubled."

"Our 80-something (choir) member will tap-dance to ‘Sing Sing Sing," Hislop explained. "Then the show will end with a rousing performance of ‘Say It With A Song.’"

Admission is free to the concert, but attendees are encouraged to bring a donation for Surrey Food Bank. The rec centre is located at 13458 107 Ave., Surrey.








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