Two of Nova Scotia’s best men’s choral groups, one local and one from Cape Breton, will perform a benefit concert for First United Church, to be held at Eastern Shore District High School on October 14 at 7 pm. Headlining the show will be Men of the Deeps, the choir that men from Cape Breton’s coal mining industry first formed 50 years ago. And opening the show will be the Shore’s very own Coastal Voices Men’s Choir.
The show is a benefit for First United Church, whose pastor, the Rev. Joan Griffin, has a very special link to the Men of the Deeps.
“I grew up with the Men of the Deeps,” says Griffin, who was born in New Waterford the same year that Men of the Deeps was founded, 1966. “They’d come and sing at our schools, they were in other local choirs, we went to their concerts, they’ve been part of my life ever since.” Griffin is very good friends with Robert Roper, who is the only remaining original member.
Griffin had produced two earlier fund-raising concerts for her ministry when she was serving in Middle Musquodoboit. Several members of Coastal Voices Men’s Choir belong to Griffin’s current congregation, including Shane Doucette, whom she credits with sparking the idea for inviting Men of the Deeps.
When Men of the Deeps began, only coal miners could join. But with the end of coal mining, the group has extended its reach out to sons, grandsons, and close family members of former miners. Over the years, the chorus has performed all over Canada and United States, and has made overseas trips as far away as Kosovo and China. They have released several albums, and appeared in two films from the National Film Board of Canada. Their singing keeps alive the musical legacy of Nova Scotia’s coal-mining era.
The opening act, the Coastal Voices Men’s Choir, directed by Janet Gaskin with accompanist John Plant, was founded in 2011, and has become an increasingly popular group along the Shore and around the province.
Tickets for this benefit concert are $35. Tickets are available at Harbour Breezes Daylilies (10099 Hwy #7), from members of First United Church, Musquodoboit Harbour, or call 902-889-2359.