Choirs for Comfort celebrating a decade of helping local, international causes

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‘Everyone involved was so excited and it gives the choirs a chance to give back to the community'

TRURO - Next month is a special one for Choirs for Comfort as it celebrates its 10th anniversary.

Lynn Macpherson, seated, is once again co-ordinating Choirs for Comfort, now in its 10th year. This year, the beneficiary is the Colchester-East Hants Hospice Society and executive director Janet Whelan is "absolutely thrilled." The event begins at 3 p.m. on Feb. 8 at First United Church in Truro.

It started in 2004 after a deadly tsunami passed through Indonesia, and Lynn Macpherson, who sings in two choirs, was at a New Year's Eve party.

"Ross Thompson and I were in opposite rooms and almost at the exact same time, Ross and I were both talking and saying, ‘there must be something choirs in the Truro area could do to help,'" said the co-ordinator. "I went into the other room and said to Ross, ‘isn't there something we can do?' That was really the seed which grew into a plant and now blooms every winter."

During the past nine years, the event, which sees numerous choirs come together for a performance or two, has raised more than $52,000 for local and international charities.

This year's event is of the Feb. 8 at the First United Church.

"We wanted to continue on after that first year for several reasons," said Macpherson. "Everyone involved was so excited and it gives the choirs a chance to give back to the community.

"And it also gives the choirs a chance to come together, and hear each other perform, and then perform together."

The choirs, from Truro and New Glasgow areas, range in age in participants from seven to about 87.

"The words can't describe it," said Macpherson, about having all the choirs perform a mass piece at the end of the show. "That's part of my gift. As the co-ordinator I get to listen to the choirs perform during rehearsal, so I get to hear that all."

As in past years, employees with Scotiabank will be on hand to collect donations and money raised will be matched, up to $5,000, by Scotiabank. Admission is free-will donation.

Having donated to an international cause last year (the Canadian Food Grains Bank), the proceeds from this year's event will benefit the Colchester-East Hants Hospice Society.

Janet Whelan, executive director of the hospice society, hasn't been to a Choirs for Comfort event, but is "absolutely thrilled" the organization has been chosen as the beneficiary this year.

"It was the perfect gift," said Whelan, adding that Macpherson had visited the office on Queen Street just prior to Christmas with the news. "It was the perfect Christmas gift, and it was an amazing way to end the year."

The hospice offices used to be located on the Esplanade, however, the society moved into a home on Queen Street last September.

"We had only been in the house for about three-and-a-half months at that time, and to me it felt like the defining moment - that we had come home."

Whelan said the money the society receives from the event will be earmarked specifically for programming, such as bereavement programs, supplies for volunteers baking at the Colchester East Hants Health Centre, and the Food From The Heart program, which provides those in palliative care with gift cards to a local grocery store.

Macpherson said that when it came to choosing a local organization to support, those put forth had all been supported in the past, except for the hospice society.

"They are all good causes, but this one hadn't been chosen in the past and we thought it would be one we could help under our umbrella of Choirs for Comfort," said Macpherson.

During the event, staff and possibly board members of the society will be on hand to write tax receipts for donations of $10 or more. They'll, of course, get to enjoy the performance as well.

"I can't wait to hear all the choirs come together in the community," said Whelan. "I've been new to Truro since September and haven't had a chance to hear many, so this will be a great way to immerse myself in them."

rtetanish@trurodaily.com

Twitter: @TDNRaissa

IF YOU GO

WHAT: 10th annual Choirs for Comfort

WHEN: Feb. 8, 3 p.m.

WHERE: First United Church, Truro

WHO: Cantabile Singers, Cantabile Boys Choir, First Baptist Girls Choir, St. Andrew's United Church Choir, First United Church Choir, St. James' Men's Choir, CEC, Tatamagouche Area Singers, New Glasgow Junior High School Choir, Seinneadair

RECIPIENTS OF CHOIRS FOR COMFORT

2005: Red Cross tsunami relief efforts

2006: Colchester Food Bank

2007: Third Place Transition House

2008: Colchester Regional Hospital

2009: Colchester Food Bank

2010: Maggie's Place Family Resource Centre

2011: Doctors Without Borders

2012: Colchester Food Bank

2013: Canadian Food Grains Bank

2014: Colchester-East Hants Hospice Society

 

Organizations: First United Church, Scotiabank, Canadian Food Grains Bank Colchester-East Hants Hospice Society Colchester Food Bank Choirs for Comfort Colchester East Hants Health Centre Red Cross Colchester Regional Hospital Doctors Without Borders

Geographic location: Truro, Indonesia, Queen Street New Glasgow Family Resource Colchester-East Hants

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