It was 1984 when a small group of women decided to leave their four-part acappella choir and become part of the Sweet Adelines International singing choruses. The newly minted Sweet Adelines changed their name to Barrie Huronia Soundwaves, and took a new direction under a very serious competition banner. Twenty-five years later, they are still singing their hearts out under the direction of Maureen Rocchio who has been their director since the beginning.
They are still competing in regional competitions and have placed as high as fourth out of 33 choruses. They still have a wonderful mix of women’s voices and their members range in age from 14 to 80’s. They hold Tuesday nights sacred because Tuesday nights are practice nights. These are the nights they perfect music, start new music and sing their hearts out… for the love of it. This is a place where they belong to each other, whether they’ve had a tough day at work, are worried about their kids, have lost a spouse, are struggling with a parent.
These women perform free of charge throughout our community, giving concerts at seniors’ homes, at the launch of the Winners Walk of Hope for Ovarian Cancer this month. They do a major fundraiser performance at Gryphon Theatre each year and sometimes a Christmas Show.
And so, after a quarter-century, it is fitting that Barrie Huronia Soundwaves launches a CD compilation of 12 songs (called Applause) and celebrates their longevity and their love of music with their sisters past and present. October 6 (a Tuesday night, of course) at Vespra Hills Golf Club at Snow Valley Rd and Wilson Dr, at least 175 women will come together to celebrate their past and re-live it in the present.
The evening is totally devoted to past and present choir members and Sandy Mitchell, a 14 year member, says they anticipate 175 in attendance. With a visiting time, a photo gallery and costumes from various competitions, those attending will have an hour to re-connect from 6 to 7. A dinner starts at 7 and then all present will form an enormous ensemble as music distributed ahead of time will be sung to raise the rafters at Vespra Hills.
For the four choir members who have been together since 1974, this will be a magnificent evening! Jackie Marchildon, Marguerite Crouch, Sharon Dion and Marlene Thurlow have all drawn and given life to this group for 25 years! Sharon Dion sums up the significance of her membership: “Being part of Sweet Adelines has empowered me as a woman in so many ways. If not for the discipline and challenge of learning music and taking it to a higher level, I would not have had the courage to continue my education through the Royal Conservatory of Music.”
Sandy Mitchell says the group hopes to find most of the 200 members who have come and gone over the years and the organizing committee has put out invitations to as many former members as they can find.
Barrie Huronia Soundwaves is currently 70 women strong with a membership drive under way this fall to increase their numbers. People as young as 14 and as old as 80 make up this wonderful choir.
And so, if you were ever part of this four-part-harmony choir, October 6 is your date! For tickets, call Barb Bassett at 705 725-5824, or go to www.barriesweetadelines.com.