By Anthony Hillman
Coastal Voices Men’s Choir was formed in 2011 with the aim of promoting male choral singing on the Eastern Shore. Between January and late Spring each year, the Choir meets for weekly rehearsals in Musquodoboit Harbour and at various open houses along the Shore, preparing for two or more concerts in the region.
In the summer of 2012, the Choir performed an inaugural concert at Memory Lane Heritage Village in Lake Charlotte. The Choir has seen steady growth since then, a rise in membership and capabilities grown through experience. In the 2014 season, the Choir premiered the song “Come with Me,” composed by choir member and singer/songwriter Jim Reid, arranged for the Choir through a grant from the Nova Scotia Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage. In 2015 the Choir was featured in the Aeolian Singers presentation “Songs and Sayings,” performed in Lunenburg and Halifax.
The growth and success of the Choir would not have been possible without the dedication, leadership, and musical talents of Janet Gaskin, Director, and Allan Banks, Assistant Director, and with the superlative support of John Plant, Accompanist. Janet leverages her career in public school music education to find ways to continuously “raise the bar” for the Choir. Allan, a past president of the Nova Scotia Choral Federation, brings a fine tenor voice and many years of choral singing experience to the Choir. John, a gifted pianist and composer, has also arranged music for the Choir. Last season John arranged “I Am So Proud” from Gilbert & Sullivan’s “The Mikado”.
Many choir singers say that choral singing makes them feel better. Over the years, there have been several academic studies showing the mental and physical benefits of choral singing, including improved cardiovascular fitness and lung function, reduced stress levels, and lowered blood pressure, all while having fun! A choir is very much a team, and in Coastal Voices Men’s Choir, team spirit is one of its greatest assets, mixed with a strong sense of community and great fun.
Planning is well underway for the new season starting in January. The Choir welcomes new members. Anyone interested in joining should contact Allan Banks at 902-889-3179. Also, please look out for details and come along to our concerts planned for April and May 2017. Details of Coastal Voices Men’s Choir activities and events can be found at the website: http://coastalvoices.ca/, and at Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/coastalvoicesmenschoir/.