Oak Bay’s SingYourJoy shines with its inclusivity and shares the happiness in song with it’s season-ending concert.
SingYourJoy is a non-auditioned chorus for young adults from all walks of life, joining their voices together in an exuberant expression of joy, building friendships and growing community.
Amanda Anderson, 26 has been a member of the choir about a year.
“With SingYourJoy I have found home. I have never really felt like I fit anywhere,” Anderson said. “It’s the group and the music, but it’s also the fact that when you join SingYourJoy you are expected to sign an agreement that states you are going to respect everyone else and everyone else will respect your life and your choices and who you are. The group is really inclusive it’s wonderful.”
A non-auditioned mixed-voice community chorus is open to all people ages 16 to 29 and rehearses at Oak Bay United Church each Monday evening.
“One of the other great things is they let anybody in. If you are interested in singing but you don’t have a trained voice you are allowed to join. If you have a really trained voice and haven’t had a chance to sing with other people,” Anderson said. “We’ve got people from all walks of life and it’s really wonderful.”
Frankie Pryor, 28, with the choir since January 2012, takes the bus each week and using the travel time from Langford to create and listen to playlists of the music the group sings.
“It’s a way of me learning the music and learning the words,” Pryor said. “(The choir is) a sense of community for me. It gives me something to do other than just working and going home.”
A longtime singer, Pryor dropped music in favour of sports in high school but made the return after connecting to the choir through friends.
“Everyone there is super nice and super supportive,” Pryor said.
The chorus was co-founded and is co-directed by Christine Chepyha and Gordon Miller, who supported the singer after taking a year off due to injury hit by a truck. The leaders and choir members offered things such as travel to appointments.
“I felt a very close community with a group of friends and my coordinators,” Pryor said. “I’m actually very not outspoken. I help out with registration at the beginning of the seasons and making sure everyone gets their papers and everything. But during practices I’m quite alone.
“I’ve always just been in a corner on my own, but, I still feel safe around everyone.”
The Chorus runs two seasons – September to December, and January to April with a concert to end each season.
The group enjoys performing for enthusiastic audiences and believes in creating community, and working together to not only sing well, but to give back to the greater community at large.
SingYourJoy performs Friday, Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. in St. Aidan’s United Church, 3703 St. Aidan’s St.
“We showcase anything from folk music to top 40 to old school music and jazz. That’s what I like about it,” Pryor said. “We’ve always learned different languages. We usually have an African song, but I’m super excited about this Japanese song we’re learning. Being as an alto we have our own song that showcases the altos.”
Plan to stay to meet and visit with the singers during a post-concert reception.
Tickets are $15/$10. Visit singyourjoy.ca for tickets and information.