THE BATTLEFORDS — Summer was winding down and the school year was about to begin.
That got me thinking about joining “something” in 2009.
My years of being a dance mom and getting my girls to piano lessons were coming to an end. I had one more year before we were an empty nest. I was also about to retire from nearly 30 years of teaching near the Battlefords. What could I do?
I turned to the Advertiser Post. The dates to remember had a guest night and the opening line caught my eye. “Women, Harmony and Fun.” Everything about those three words enticed me to check it out.
I arrived at guest night and was cheerfully greeted by smiling, welcoming women! I wasn’t sure that I was in the right place. One asked what part did I sing? My quick response was “alto.”
“Oh a bass singer!” (I was lucky to join when we were a group of six bass singers. With four-part harmony the bass section is important to creating a foundation for the other three parts.) This group had no accompaniment and they used a pitch pipe to start their songs. That night I “YouTubed” to check out a capella singing and Sweet Adelines. I returned, and this hobby became my passion. The best part is singing bass and hearing the harmonies created all around me.
The following week was a workshop with a facilitator from Sweden. Harvest was in full swing but I managed to get to this important event. The magnitude of educational opportunities available through this group became apparent. Bonus! I didn’t realize how much there was to learning to sing and this group has given me many opportunities to strengthen my knowledge and abilities.
Another exciting event that year was the international competition in Seattle, Wash. My involvement in this group was cemented. We attended performances and watched incredible groups from across Canada and the United States. As tourists, we were quickly recognized as singers in town for the competition. They would ask us to sing a song – an easy request to fill. We sang on the bus, in a shoe store, in a restaurant – our love for singing was easily accessed.
A Christmas show was planned for that fall. Being new, I had the option to sing only the songs I felt comfortable singing. Three of us who joined that fall sang every song in the program so we were on the risers for the whole show. We are given lots of supports – sheet music, recordings, extra practise with our section – so learning the songs is simply a matter of finding the way you learn the best.
I enjoy being part of the show and happy to provide entertainment to fundraising events like “Love is in the Air” at Meota or raising funds for health care for one of our members in need. Shows of great importance to us were our 35th anniversary show in 2017, “Frost” in 2015 and the opening of the Dekker Center in 2012. I enjoy seeing smiles on faces when we attend care homes during the Christmas season.
Battlefords Blend, a chapter of Sweet Adelines International, is required to attend a competition at least once in three years. Attending competition has taken us to Surrey, B.C., Calgary, Alta. and Saskatoon. In addition to competing, there is the opportunity to watch other groups and quartets, obtain information from educational sessions, socialize and be a tourist.
Summer is winding down and the school year is about to begin. Battlefords Blend rehearsals start September 6. Women, Harmony and Fun! There’s always room for more.