Candies and Chocolate or a Pumpkin Pie…

Higher Ground Women’s Choir delivered its first concert of the year on November 22, at Friday Night Live, a unique weekly, community-focused event hosted by Lynn Valley United Church. The event is billed as a “Kitchen Party” and it was as if the evening was designed around the choir’s seasonal repertoire.

One of the choir’s jazz tunes, Honeysuckle Rose (words by Andy Razaf with music by Thomas “Fats” Waller and arranged by Darmon Meader) has a line that reads, “candies and chocolate or a pumpkin pie, can’t compare when you’re passing by …” And Friday Night Live made that story come alive.

Throughout the foyer and performance space, sweets and chocolates topped the tables in casual sitting areas. And the admission price, though it didn’t include “pumpkin pie,” did include pizza pie! Morning Coffee (music and lyrics by Bill Cantos and arranged by Michele Weir) also came to life with the aroma of coffee that was freshly brewed for the guests.

Credit: Deb Coulthard (A1)

Between sets, Friday Night Live’s host, Joel Grinke, interviewed Higher Ground Choir Director Janet Warren.  During their discussion, another theme emerged as a mutual priority for both Friday Night Live and Higher Ground: community.

Joel described Friday Night Live as a place for people from the community to gather together.  Janet similarly mentioned the importance of developing a sense of community within the choir. She explained that the choir breaks for tea in the middle of each weekly rehearsal, “The chitter-chatter in that room is overwhelming sometimes and it’s a wonderful time for the members to just stand beside someone and find out how their week was.” When else do we slow down long enough to do that?

As for any community, choir members come and go, Janet reflected, “We welcome new members. Every time there is a new person who comes to the choir they bring something totally different, something a little new and add that into the mix and it always makes for a wonderful community.”

Higher Ground originally included men, but eventually became a women’s ensemble. Being a former North Vancouver high school student of Janet’s, Joel asked about the types of pieces that a choir of all women performs. Janet noted that she doesn’t want to only present pieces about women’s issues, “It’s not that I don’t want to acknowledge women’s issues, but I don’t want to do exclusively music about women’s issues.” The music is inclusive and relatable to everyone.

Just as Friday Night Live brings together a community to share treats and enjoy performances, Higher Ground gathers as a community to share treats and perform beautiful music. What more could anyone want from community?

Having performed this first concert of the year, the choir will continue to refine the music performed on at Friday Night Live, as wall as the additional pieces that make up the full concert line up.

Hear Higher Ground perform “Treats Abound” Tuesday, December 10th at 7:30 pm at Highlands United Church in Edgemont Village (North Vancouver).  Tickets are available for $20 online in advance or for $25 at the door.

And join the Friday Night Live community for other local talent … and treats!

Credit: Deb Coulthard (A1)

-Pamela Hollington

Pamela (left) sings second soprano and when she’s not singing with the group, is engulfed in card-making and art journaling adventures!