Chris Bowman, foreground, co-director of Choirs for Comfort, rehearses with Cantabile Boys Choir members James Robinson, Aiden Hennigar, Henry Lever, Kyle Brown, Zac Ellis and Erik Hayden. Choirs for Comfort will run both Feb. 9 and 10 at 3 p.m. at the First United Church. More than 500 singers in 15 choirs will perform over the two-day event.
TRURO – A local family still reeling from the sudden loss of a precious loved one will find solace through music when Choirs for Comfort takes the stage next weekend.
The ninth annual event, which will see more than 500 singers come together for two performances, is dedicated to Lynn Erskine, a former Truro Heights resident who passed away last year at the age of 31.
“Lynn was a dear friend to many, and was a gifted musician and accompanist,” said Lynn Macpherson, co-ordinator of the event. “He had a lovely voice and was music director at Immanuel Baptist Church. Plus, he was a gifted pianist as well.”
Held at the First United Church on Prince Street, Choirs for Comfort will see 15 choirs perform – eight choirs on each day with the host Cantabile Singers performing on both days. Ross Thompson and Chris Bowman share the director duties for the event.
Last fall, the choral community lost Erskine, who was training to run in a fundraiser for the Canadian Foodgrains Bank. In the past, Choirs for Comfort has given its proceeds to the Colchester Food Bank, however this year, the event will support the organization that was dear to Erskine’s heart.
“It was such a devastating loss,” said Macpherson. “The music community lost a great and dedicated member.”
Macpherson said one of the music directors suggested in October to use the same charity Erskine was passionate about supporting. Choirs for Comfort will also feature Clary Croft’s ‘Still the Song Lives On,’ with a choral arrangement made for the occasion, which will see all choirs gather on their respective days to perform together.
That song will be the second last song performed at each of the two performances, with the final number supporting the Colchester Food Bank.
“We wanted the audience to leave on a happy note,” said Macpherson, noting the last song will be a choral arrangement of The Wailin’ Jennys ‘One Voice.’
“There was a choral director that had made an arrangement, and when we contacted her, she said it wasn’t published,” Macpherson said. “What she asked us to do was, when we made copies of it for our singers, that we would donate $2 per copy to the local food bank, so that money is coming in.”
While the majority of the choirs will be from the Truro area, there are two coming in for the occasion – the New Glasgow Junior High School Choir and the Tatamagouche Area Singers.
“Our hope is that Choirs for Comfort will be happening throughout the Maritimes one day, supporting charities in those communities,” said Macpherson.
Admission to Choirs for Comfort performances both days is a free will donation at the door. Receipts for donations $10 or more will be available. Those wishing to attend are advised to arrive early.
IF YOU GO:
What: Choirs for Comfort
When: Feb. 9 and 10 at 3 p.m. each day
Where: First United Church
Performing Saturday: Cantabile Boys Choir, Harmony Heights Elementary School Choir, First United Church Adult Choir, Creative Voices, St. James Presbyterian Church Male Chorus, New Glasgow Junior High School Choir, Treble Makers and Cantabile Singers.
Performing Sunday: Truro Elementary School Choir, Truro Youth Singers, St. Andrew’s Church Choir, Tatamagouche Area Singers, First Baptist Girls’ Choir, Cobequid Educational Centre Choir, Tonic and Cantabile Singers.