With Christmas in the rear-view mirror, and spring still off in the distant horizon, the Watsonairs Ladies Choral Group plans to spend the winter months refining their vocal chords and attracting new members.
The group plans to hold its first practice session on Monday in preparation for their spring concert. Choir director May Janzen said anyone who loves singing is welcome to join their ranks.
“We’re not in competition with anyone,” Janzen said during a phone interview on Friday. “We would love to see any ladies come out who enjoy singing. We don’t audition or require any level of music education or proficiency. We just get together and enjoy each other’s company and friendships along with the music.”
Choir numbers have fluctuated during Janzen’s time with the group. They’ve performed concerts with as many as 36 members, and as few as 18. Janzen said they’ll work with whoever they can.
“We’re stimulating our brains and we’re also spreading the joy of music, because music is kind of a universal language,” she explained. “We feel like we’re reaching out to not only our own public (in Prince Albert), but the public of other countries. With a number of new Canadians coming to this community, we’re reaching out to them as well.”
Janzen said there are a number of benefits to joining musical groups like the Watsonairs, but the biggest is the camaraderie. That’s something she personally experienced years ago when her first husband was killed in an accident.
At the time, Janzen was living in Porcupine Plain, and would drive into Prince Albert with two friends once a week for practice. When it came time for the funeral, five members of the Watsonairs made the trip out to Porcupine Plain to sing and comfort her at the funeral.
“I was floored, of course, because I didn’t know they were coming,” Janzen remembered. “I think that just goes to show the level of commitment that we have in showing support for each other, because those same ladies remained my friends, and the same thing is happening now. Ladies are making very lasting friendships from within the group.”
The Watsonairs have former members scattered throughout Canada after moving away due to work or family commitments. Despite the distance, Janzen said many of them still find a way to stay up to date on their old choir.
“We still get phone calls from other provinces where ex-Watsonairs have moved to, and they’ve phoned and wished us well for not only our Christmas Carol Festival, but for the spring concert as well,” she explained.
Any Prince Albert women who wish to join the Watsonairs can call Janzen at 306-960-4140. The first practice will be held at the Prince Albert Arts Centre at 7 p.m. on Jan. 9. The Watsonairs Spring Concert is scheduled for May 7.