The Community Choir wows the crowd on their Mayerthorpe debut

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The Lac Ste. Anne Community Choir are back after a two year hiatus, with some new members including from the Mayerthorpe and Sangudo areas.

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Due to the increased membership of Lac Ste. In western Anne County, the choir gave its first performance in Mayerthorpe on Sunday, director Debbie Rosen said.

“We were pleasantly surprised at the good turnout we had at Mayerthorpe and the warm welcome we got,” Rosen told the Independent.

At their Springs into Song concert at the Legion, the choir gave sublime renditions of popular songs such as Neil Simon’s “Bridge over Troubled Water” and Toto’s “Africa”.

There were also forays into more colorful territory with “For Good” from the Wizard of Oz– inspired musical Bad and Monty Python-inspired “The Song That Goes Like This” spamlot.

Shelley Jogola of Mayerthorpe performed flute for the Irish folk song “Wild Mountain Thyme” and Keat Machtemes played keyboards throughout the concert.

Rosen described Lac Ste. Anne Community Choir as an amateur choir which, despite its talent, is not auditioned.

“Everybody come in,” Rosen said.

“You don’t have to read the music, but it helps, and we have a nice mix of people who can read and can’t.”

The choir is now in its 10th year. On its first night, it had just five members and now has around 33, she said.

Rosen said the members are men and women from Mayerthorpe, Sangudo, Darwell, Onoway, Alberta Beach – and as far away as Edmonton, St. Albert and Stony Plain.

Anyone 18 and older can join, though Rosen noted that many members are seniors and the concert was supported by the federal government’s New Horizons for Seniors Program.

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“The choir is a great program for people who go out less and don’t have a lot of people to see on a daily basis,” Rosen said.

“It’s a big family, like a community that supports each other in a wonderful weekly meeting.”

(The concert also received support from Lac Ste. Anne County, the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, Cougar Creek Campground and Jungles Bar, depending on the program).

In previous years, the choir had as many as 60 members, but Rosen said COVID and the trend of older people moving away has brought the numbers down.

“Hopefully we’ll be at least 40 by next fall,” Rosen said.

Post-pandemic, Rosen said the choir came together to start rehearsing in September 2021 and performed a few concerts in December. It was significant for the group to resume its activities.

“We miss performance so much when we don’t,” she said.

“That’s all.”

This spring, Rosen said the choir performed in Onoway and Alberta Beach before ending in Mayerthorpe.

The choir may return to Mayerthorpe, perhaps not this winter, but Rosen said ‘spring is a good time’.

Rosen said anyone can join by going to the first rehearsal in September, with an announcement coming before that.

The first two weeks of membership in the choir are free, she added.

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Sam D. Gomez