As summer draws to a close and a new season of Higher Ground choir begins, our Tuesday nights are once again filled with music and friendship.
On the first night of the new season we are all excited to re-connect with the many choir friends that we may not have seen over the summer and see what music Janet has chosen for us. We meet our new members and settle into the fall routine of learning new music, making good progress on the pieces, and preparing to perform for our annual winter concert at Highlands Church (on December 11th) and for the seniors’ group, a twice-yearly tradition that is very dear to our hearts.
As a founding member of the choir – three current members answered the original call by Janet to a new offering in the 2002 North Shore Continuing Education flyer to come together and make beautiful music – I have seen many changes over the years. Choir members have come and gone due to personal circumstances and commitments, venues have changed (our first concert was in the Carson Graham music room!), and our numbers have increased, as has the number of songs we sing at our concerts (from 8 songs in 2002 to 18 in 2018). The evolution of Higher Ground has been a natural progression from Janet’s initial concept to the award-winning (yes, it’s true – we were the crowd and judges’ favourite at Yule Duel 2017!) choir we are today.
As I reflect on the past sixteen years as a member of this choir (which have come and gone in a blink of an eye, by the way) there are so many good memories that come to mind: new people becoming old friends; those precious moments during a piece when the entire choir seems to be of one mind; road trips, when there is more time to get to know one another and share new experiences; conquering seemingly impossible choreography moves (though “conquering” may be overstating our achievement just a bit); the times when Julian uses his musical genius on the piano to lighten the mood and make us all laugh; the spontaneous outpouring of love and support whenever a choir member is facing adversity or tragedy; the moment my Dad caught my eye from the audience as my Mom’s photo came on the screen during a performance of a song about mothers; the magic that happens in a practice when each person sets aside the hustle and bustle of their busy day and family life and steps into the shared circle of singing together as one; tea time in the middle of each practice, when we are all talking at once and catching up with each other’s weeks; the celebration of engagements and marriages; the arrival of our choir babies (all practicing stops when they arrive for a practice or even just a quick visit); and the miracle of making beautiful music out of a piece that may have seemed impossible when we first took a crack at it. These are just some of the reasons why I cherish my choir – there are, of course, many more.
With our voices and our performances we hope to share not only Janet’s unfailing commitment to constant improvement in all aspects of making beautiful music, but also the growing respect and emotional investment each one of us has in the choir and in each another as individuals. And though it can be a little nerve-wracking in the moments before we go on stage for a concert, from the moment we enter until the moment we leave, our wonderful audiences have always been enthusiastic and supportive – we simply wouldn’t be “us” without “them”.
So I am going to speak on behalf of all of us again when I say that we all feel truly thankful – not only for Janet, for Julian, and for one another, but also for our audiences and their continued love and support. Together we are making memories and sharing the joy of music.
– Jan Currie
Jan sings second alto and makes us tea every week— when she is not traveling to exotic far off lands!