Manitoulin Community Choir Spring Concert celebrates Canada

Manitoulin Community Choir director Jane Best in photo, right, along with accompanist Joan Eichner at the choir’s spring concert held last Saturday in Kagawong.

KAGAWONG—In a fitting tribute to Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations this year, the Manitoulin Community Choir put on its spring concert featuring songs from across the nation in front of a packed Park Centre upstairs hall this past Saturday in Kagawong. The evening provided the choir the opportunity to do an encore in tribute to its hardworking Choir Director Jane Best.

“Yes, we do have an encore,” stated choir member Susan Garlock at the end of the concert. “Nearly 20 years ago Sharon Beckstead, the music director of Leaside United Church in Toronto, wrote fresh lyrics for a traditional English/Irish melody to salute her hardworking choir. With her permission, we took Sharon’s idea and turned it around to salute our hardworking choir director.”

The opening of the evening’s entertainment began with the Choir performing our national anthem, “O’Canada.”

“The songs for tonight’s concert are basically from all across Canada,” stated Ms. Best. The first song, ‘Call of the Ocean,’ was composed by a  Canada composer—teacher, D. Rhodenizer who went to school in Tehkummah.

‘Song of the Land,’ featured a solo by Janelle Addison with Stephanie Burt Hillyard, Vanessa Glasby, and Kyleen Robertson.

A second version of  ‘O’Canada’ featured special guests-students Mary Hore, Rachael Orford, Cindy Middleton, Lia Laquerre, Colton Chevrette, Amara Wilson-Zegil, Lea Heinen, from C.c. McLean public school under the direction of conductor Enid Runnalls. The song was sung in Ojibwe by the students, with Ms. Runnalls playing the drum.

‘Let Me fish off Cape St. Mary’s’ included the women’s chorus and a solo by Susan Garlock, which was followed by the song ‘Change the World.’

Two spiritual songs were next, including ‘Don’t Let Your Hearts be Troubled,’ and ‘Morning Train,’ featuring the men’s chorus.

“Not everything in the program can be a Canadian song,” said Ms. Best as the choir performed ‘River in Judea.’

After a short intermission the concert continued with ‘Walk in the Light’with a solo by Peter Gordon, followed by a spiritual arrangement ‘Peter on de Sea, Sea, Sea, Sea,’ and the ‘Bruce Stomp,’ co-directed by Enid Runnalls.

Two songs produced in British Columbia, ‘Mountain, Sea and Sky,’ with a solo by Paul Best, and the ‘Royal Hudson’ was then performed.

‘Wood River,’ a song from Saskatchewan, featured a solo by John Robertson.

“We couldn’t do a Canadian music concert without performing ‘Both Sides Now,’ stated Ms. Best. The song was followed up by a ‘Song for Canada-Un Chant Canadien.’

It must be pointed out most of the songs for the evening were created by a Canadian composer, lyricist, arrangers, and/or publisher.

For the encore song, ‘We Heard the Voice of Our Jane Say,’ Ms. Garlock said, “I do have one disclaimer, this production is without rehearsal and this will be the first time we have sung this together. I suspect that our attempt to go it alone will show you just how  hard Jane must work to make us sound so good,” quipped Ms. Garlock. The lyrics for the song are presented here.

“We heard the voice of our Jane say,

Put all your cares away today;

let music be your thing!”

We came to choir as we were,

put ourselves in Jane’s  kind hands.

We found a perfect singing place

and now we’re not half bad!

We heard the voice of our Jane say,

”Some songs we may not like,

but with a smile and loving heart

we’ll try to sing them right.”

Our laughs and giggles soon became

the order of the day,

and our voices-young and old-

squeaked, screeched, and slid, and brayed.

We heard the voice of our Jane say,

“Sopranos carry the tune,

the Altos have the flavour notes,

Tenors high, and Basses boom.”

Joan plays the keys with skill and grace,

her fingers fly so fast.

Piano and kazoos and voice

Create music that kicks ass!”

The Manitoulin Community Choir Spring 2017 includes Janelle Addison, Heather Bryant, Mary Buie, Doreen Campbell, Rosanne Campbell, Sandy Cook, Lori Evans, Ronit Fabro, Janice Frame, Susan Garlock, Vanessa Glasby, Stephanie Burt Hillyard, Judith Jones, Judy Land, Gail Los, Sharon Meeker, April Patterson, Kyleen Robertson, Enid Runnalls, Joan Sheppard, Mary-Jo Tracy, Theresa Webb, Linda Willson, Paul Best, Johnny Fletcher, Peter Gordon, John Robertson, Dan Thompson, Chuck Willson, Director Jane Best and accompanist Joan Eichner.

This is the 11th year of the Manitoulin Community Choir has been together as a choir.