THE BATTLEFORDS — Region 26 of Sweet Adelines International held its conference and competition at TCU Place in Saskatoon this year. It was the first in-person competition since the beginning of the COVID 19 pandemic and the members were ready to celebrate.
Battlefords Blend Chorus had a lot to celebrate. In addition to the competition itself, two members were recognized with special awards.
Linda MacDonald was recognized with the Spirit of Region 26 Award. MacDonald has been a member of Sweet Adelines for almost 20 years. She got involved with board responsibilities soon after she joined. She began as a director of Ways and Means and then served as president for many years. She has been an overseer on all events hosted by Battlefords Blend Chorus and continues to serve on the board of directors.
She has often said that she would have joined sooner had she realized one did not need an invitation to join. MacDonald is most comfortable in the lower singing register and has made her home singing baritone.
One of MacDonald’s fondest memories is of her first workshop at the Bessborough Ballroom in Saskatoon when during the mass sing, 700 women sang "How We Sang Today." She was overcome with happiness and cried. This organization has been a place for her to develop some strong friendships and close bonds.
Last year Sandra Helseath won the Spirit of Region 26 Award and this year she was recognized for her 50 years “on the risers” as a member of Sweet Adelines International (SAI). She started with SAI in Saskatoon, but when she and her husband retired to Livelong, she joined Battlefords Blend Chorus and travelled an hour and a half to rehearsals every week.
The other members who received recognition were Gail Rokosh, Jean Brehon and Oksana Parkhomenko who “crossed the stage” for the first time. It was their first performance at competition as they are three of the newest members of Battlefords Blend.
Although Battlefords Blend didn’t receive any awards, this was the first time in more than a decade that they competed in the International Division. The chorus, under the direction of Jo Carter, managed to increase their score by more than 25 points. This was a major accomplishment considering that most choruses scored lower than usual this year.
Like many of the choruses in Region 26, and around the world, Battlefords Blend lost members during the course of the pandemic. Thanks to the efforts of the membership committee and the entire chorus, the chorus is growing again and hopes to get back to having 25 members or more before the year’s end.
One of the things that may help is the coming guest night at 6:45 on May 30th at Battleford United Church in Battleford. At the guest night on May 16, three potential members attended plus another couple who wanted to learn more about a chorus they already love.
Everyone is welcome to come and learn more about barbershop harmonies and how SAI works and the hope is that some will be interested in joining the group to help us “ring those chords”.
“One of the nicest things about Battlefords United Church,” commented current president Andrea Stewart, “is that the acoustics allow us to sometimes hear the overtone notes that nobody is actually singing. It can bring shivers to some and it’s always wonderful to hear.”
Of course, new potential members are always welcome to come out or contact us to learn what we’re all about. But coming to the guest night on May 30 would be a great start.