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Newest Battlefords Blend member stays for music and friendship

Ukrainian immigrant finds her home with Sweet Adelines group.
Oksana Parkhomenko is one of the newest members of Battlefords Blend.

THE BATTLEFORDS — Last spring Battlefords Blend, a Sweet Adelines International chorus, started a campaign to grow the chorus because the pandemic had dwindled numbers drastically. Since then, six members, two who had been members in previous years and four who are brand new, have joined the chorus.

One of the newest members is Oksana Parkhomenko, although you wouldn’t know it by the way she has fit into the group.

Parkhomenko was born and raised in Ukraine and immigrated with her family to Saskatchewan in 2008. They spent four months in Estevan, then moved to North Battleford.

She received a personal invitation from director Jo Carter to check out the chorus.

The invitation came when Parkhomenko was playing around with her guitar on their deck. Carter heard her and asked if she’d be interested in singing with a chorus. Her love of music made that an easy “Yes.” She came to a few rehearsals and hasn’t left since.

Parkhomenko started singing in school and her first experience on stage was when she was six years old. She was hooked. The more the adults around her asked her, the more she sang.

She grew to love the stage so much that she decided to become a teacher. Now she teaches for Northwest College and still enjoys being in the spotlight. At one time Parkhomenko taught drama and performed plays on a large stage in a theatre that seated about 1,000 people.

When Carter first asked Parkhomenko to join a Battlefords Blend rehearsal, she came because of her love of music. She still loves music but, as she put it, “I have stayed because of the people that are involved with Battlefords Blend. So, I guess the sisterhood.”

Parkhomenko has enjoyed being a part of the chorus and performing in the community. “I think performances are important in a community like ours. This is a diverse community with people coming from many different backgrounds. It is important to find something in common to bring the community together. Yes, sport would be one thing, but music is another.”

Parkhomenko considers herself a life-long learner so the opportunities to learn new things and try new experiences are captivating for her. Last fall Battlefords Blend hosted a regional workshop with people coming from Regina, Saskatoon, Alberta and British Columbia. This allowed her to learn about the other choruses in the area and the options that are available for these singers. She also enjoyed learning about one’s abilities and techniques to sing.

“Also, it was fun to spend time with the ladies from Battlefords Blend. Their yummy treats were really good,” said Parkhomenko.

Another new experience was competing against choruses across Western Canada. This year’s competition took place in Saskatoon which allowed the chorus to display their skills and compare themselves to other choruses of different sizes. In addition to the competition, there were workshops put on by some of the best in barbershop singing. Learning how to blend voices and improve one’s voice is always a good way to improve the overall performance of the group.

As one who “crossed the stage” for the first time at this year’s competition, Parkhomenko commented, “It was a great experience to perform and see the other choruses.”

Even though she’s still fairly new to Battlefords Blend, she is already encouraging friends and co-workers to come and try it out. She’s invited some to come to one of two guest nights May 16 and 30 at Battleford United Church at 6:45 p.m.

The United Church in Battleford has wonderful acoustics and one can sometimes hear overtone notes that nobody is singing. It can bring shivers to some and it’s always wonderful to hear.

Everyone is welcome to come to guest night to learn more about this wonderful group of friendly, talented singers.


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