If you close your eyes for a second and concentrate on it, it can fill you with childhood sense of nostalgia and remind you of classic Disney fairy tales.
It is the sound of a cappella singing, and it’s what the Scarborough Sweet Adelines Chorus for women does and has been doing for over 57 years.
“We want people to share the joy that we are having,” said Mona Raets, a member of almost 25 years. “We’re a group of great camaraderie really and we have a lot of fun by singing.”
The Scarborough Chorus is made up of 20 women who perform and sing unaccompanied four-part harmony. Established in 1956, the group has won numerous contests over the years, including three regional Sweet Adelines championships, and has performed internationally at venues like the Royal Prince Albert Hall in England.
Now the chorus’s attention is focused a little closer to home. It held its first open house of the year for new members on Oct. 9 at St. Paul’s L’Amoreaux Church.
The Scarborough Sweet Adelines is offering a free, five-week trial membership and vocal lessons to find new members and give women an opportunity to explore their talents.
“We are really trying to generate some interest in the chorus and so we thought this would be a great way to entice people in and get them interested,” said Judi Goodwin, a chorus lead and recent member. “And once they see the value that they get from the music lessons and what continual improvement it is, we are hoping that they’ll decide to stay and join us.”
Joining the chorus, Raets said, is another important reason for having the trial.
“We haven’t formally done the trial for maybe a year and a half because we’ve been very busy,” said Raets, who sings bass. “We needed to enlarge our group.
“There’s constant moving within the chorus when people retire or they move away, and so we have to fill those spaces with hopefully the parts of voice that we need. When one of the ladies leaves, she might leave a very important part and we try to fill that again if we can.”
The women in the chorus are of different ages and backgrounds. They get a great deal out of being a member of the group, Goodwin said.
“Singing is a great stress reliever,” she said. “It’s great for memory work because we sing a cappella, and we also have to memorize all our music and words without having to look at any paper.
“It’s great for the brain, but it’s great as a physical activity, as well, because it gauges your chord.”
What the chorus hopes to do is not only benefit its members but also spread joy in the community.
“Singing is a form of expression,” Raets said. “We all need to express ourselves, whether it’s through arts or hobbies.
“Sweet Adelines is a hobby but it’s a singing one, where we bring a lot of joy to people in retirement homes or at outside events or wherever we sing.”
Rehearsals are set for Wednesdays from 7 to 9:30 p.m. at St. Paul’s L’Amoreaux Church, located on the southwest corner of Finch and Warden Avenues.
Good luck with your membership drive. I sing Bass in a large chorus in Ft. Myers, Florida, “Spirit of the Gulf”. I am on a leave of absence right now, for health reasons but love Sweet Adelines and am anxious to getback to it. We will be competing in Baltimore next fall.. You sound good, keep up the good work – singing is so good for us!!! Connie