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Battlefords Blend achieves ‘most improved’ goal

Place fourth in small group category of Mission Possible category at Edmonton.
Members of Battlefords Blend Chorus who competed at Region 26 “Mission Possible” in Edmonton May 11 included (in no particular order) tenors Karen Cubbon, and Jean Brehon; leads Linda Hebert, Dana Bjornsson, Gail Rokosh, Connie Sapriken, JoAnne Stirton, Baritones Annette Duhaime, Lynda Erlandson, Linda MacDonald, Kendra Glass; Basses Myrl Barron, Marie Ferguson, Val Laing, Andrea Stewart and director Jo Carter. Gail Meiers was unable to compete because of family commitments.

THE BATTLEFORDS — Mission achieved. Last weekend Battlefords Blend Chorus, a chapter of Sweet Adelines International (SAI), attended the Region 26 annual convention and the competition, “Mission Possible,” held in Edmonton May 9-12.

“The chorus’s goal this year was to earn the Most Improved Chorus award,” said chorus president Andrea Stewart, “and we did it with an increased score of 49 points. This score took us from a C chorus to a solid B minus chorus, which is a huge step.”

The COVID pandemic reduced the chorus to as low as 13 members. In the last two years, the program has rebuilt to the point where there are now 17 members.

In the past few years, members have been working even harder than usual, under the direction of Jo Carter, to hone skills and improve our sound. The hard work has paid off in a big way.

The 15 choruses that competed this year fell into one of three categories, based on the number of members, with small choruses having 12 to 30 members; midsize choruses having 30 to 60 members; and large choruses having more than 60 members. All 15 choruses are considered for the most improved award.

This year nine small choruses competed from Region 26, which is the only all-Canadian region of SAI. Only two of these choruses had fewer members competing than Battlefords Blend, which had 15 of 17 members on the risers along with the chorus director.

The top score for a small chorus was 533, earned by the 22 members of Southern Accord Chorus from Lethbridge, Alta. Finishing second, with 524 points, was Peace Arch Chorus (23 members) from Surrey, B.C. and third place went to Desert Sounds a cappella + Chorus (19 members) from Kamloops, B.C. with 503 points.

Battlefords Blend Chorus was fourth out of the nine small choruses, with a score of 487 points.

In addition to Carter’s teaching, Battlefords Blend also had two other directors from Region 26 come to the Battlefords for workshops. The region sponsors one workshop each year and this year Battlefords Blend Chorus footed the expense of bringing in an extra coach to help achieve their goal.

The director also attended another workshop, this one with Magic City Chorus in Saskatoon, and brought back more ideas to share. This workshop was led by Erin Howden, the choreographer and Master 700 director of the North Metro Chorus, five-time Sweet Adelines International Chorus Champions from Toronto, Ont. She is also a repeated Regional Quartet Champion and top 10 Quartet Medalist as the baritone of Daybreak.

It has been a busy season for this small chorus from the Battlefords area and it isn’t over yet. Members plan to spend the rest of the season learning new repertoire and perfecting other pieces worked on in the past.

“We’re also inviting new potential members to our rehearsals so they can learn about a capella singing in the barbershop style,” commented Stewart.

Anyone interested can contact members, check out the group’s Facebook page or YouTube channel, or come to rehearsals at Battleford United Church on Tuesday, May 28 and June 4, starting at 6:45 p.m.

During the Region 26 Sweet Adelines International Contest and Convention, Myrl Barron of Battlefords Blend Chorus was given the Carol Poole Spirit of 26 Award in recognition of her contributions to the chorus.

Myrl joined our chorus in 2009 and never looked back. “Finally, a place where I can sing,” she quipped. Bass is her happy place and she is, not surprisingly, the section leader

Myrl contributes much more to the chorus than just treasurer, which she became in 2013. Besides treasurer duties, she books rehearsal space, orders music and has kept up with technology.

Myrl always has a positive attitude, is willing to try new music and is a leader in her section during rehearsals. We are lucky to have her in our chorus.