Community choir director, Jill Last, leads the opening song at the Hope Community Choir Spring Concert on Sunday at Grace Baptist Church. Greg Laychak

Hope Community Choir sings in spring with annual concert

This year’s concert theme is Music Changes the World

April showers bring May flowers, and along with the month’s colourful blossoms comes the melodious sounds of the Hope Community Choir as they present their annual spring concert.

“This year’s theme is ‘music changes the world,’” said Jill Last, the choir’s director. “We’re singing, in the first part of the program, music that was written throughout the world by musicians who’ve been in many countries and written pieces for people of all nations.

“‘Music changes the world’ also shows people that when things aren’t always good, music can bring people together. All the songs the Choir is doing for this concert all have a meaningful message,” Last continued.

Hosted at the Grace Baptist Church on Sunday, May 5, at 7 p.m., admission to the performance, says Last, is by donation.

“Every year we raise money for a $500 bursary to be given to a graduating student of the arts,” the music director said. “It doesn’t have to be music, just art in (any) form, and choir members select the student.”

Any money raised beyond the bursary amount goes back into the Choir, which has been an active member of the community for more than 50 years now.

“It’s been active under various names,” Last explained, “but Hope has had a choir for over 52 years, and we sing at other venues, too. We try and do places where not necessarily everyone can have (live) music.

“And we’re a secular choir,” Last added. “So we don’t just focus on religious music, and are always looking for new members.”

Currently, the Hope Community Choir has “over 30 voices, aged 20 to 85, or 86, mostly women, but there are some men. But we’re always looking for new members,” Last said. “We always say we’re welcoming to new members and it would be nice to have more men (join).”

Somebody will also have to step up as director, as this will be Last’s final time directing the Choir’s spring concert, after doing so for eight years.

“This is my year of retiring from life as I know it,” Last explained. “Means big, big changes for me. I’ve loved (directing the Choir), I’ve (truly) loved doing it, but now it’s time for other things.”

Last month, Last celebrated her 79th birthday and announced her retirement from many of the activities she organized by hosting a free-for-all party to celebrate her departure from the daily grind and arrival in the slower, more relaxed, golden years.

“It was such a wonderful time,” recalled Last with a smile. As will be the spring concert.

“The doors open at 6:45 p.m. We’ve been practicing since just after Christmas … and there are two sets, with three pieces performed in each set, along with guest performances. It’s like a variety show, actually.”


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