District men’s choir looking to start up

Retired teachers David Ogilvie and Wayne Barron have talked about starting up a men’s choir for the past couple of years—and finally are getting the idea off the ground.
“We’d like to start a men’s choir for the Rainy River District,” Ogilvie noted. “It came to me because various guys across the district had mentioned they liked singing and they felt there was no place for them to sing.”
Barron stressed the choir would be unique from other groups in the area.
“A men’s choir has a unique sound that you can’t get with a mixed choir and also the repertoire. If we’re doing sea shanties and barbershop songs, a mixed choir really isn’t appropriate for that,” he explained.
“There are just things you can do with male voice that you can’t do with a mixed choir.”
“We don’t want to take guys away from those choirs,” noted Ogilvie. “We’re not out to kill their choirs. But there are guys who would maybe feel more confident singing in a men’s choir.”
With both having experience in music, Barron will be the pianist while Ogilvie conducts the group.
“We thought we’d get together and see what guys would want to do,” noted Ogilvie, saying an informational meeting is planned for next Thursday (Sept. 21) at 7 p.m. at Bethel Baptist Church here (located behind the Adventure Inn).
“It will be secular and non-secular music,” Ogilvie added. “A variety of music from religious to Canadian folk to spirituals to pop and show tunes.”
There also was the idea they could break off into smaller groups where possibly four guys could do a barbershop quartet or madrigals.
“And there will be a wide range of abilities in the choir, from guys who just like singing to people who read and play, but I think there’s room for everybody,” Ogilvie remarked.
“All we want is the time commitment and an enjoyment of singing.”
The group is scheduled to meet each Thursday at Bethel Baptist Church for 60-90 minutes.
“I hope once word gets out that we’re starting something like this, guys who maybe sang back in their university days, or have never sung in a choir but have an interest in it, [will come out],” said Barron.
“I think there are people out there—we just have to find them.”
“We’re hoping to get a good crowd, a good group,” echoed Ogilvie, adding he thinks a group of about 20-25 would be great.
“I think there are guys who secretly like singing and are afraid to say so, but I think this will give them the vehicle to come out, be part of a large group, and just enjoy singing.”
Ogilvie noted the group likely will sing at church services, but isn’t sure what they will do.
“We’re open to suggestions from members as we form this group,” he indicated. “It’s not my group, or Wayne’s group, but it will be our group—everyone will be free to make suggestions on what we do and where we go with it.”
For instance, a name for the choir will need to be determined by the members.
There won’t be any cost to join the group but Ogilvie noted since there are no funds, the music will have to be purchased by the members. With about 10 pieces, he expects the cost will be about $25.
And he stressed men of any age are welcome—as long as their voice has changed.
“That way it will really be a men’s choir, but you don’t have to b over 18 years old to join,” he explained, noting they will attempt to sing in three parts or even four parts.
“So we need guys who can sing melody in a men’s range and people who can sing harmony and bass,” Ogilvie said.
The pair already have looked over 10 pieces and if the group chooses to purchase them, they hope the music is in stock. If it is, they likely will begin rehearsing regularly soon after next Thursday’s meeting.
“I’m hoping to see a cross-section of men from across the district who are interested in singing just for the fun of it,” enthused Barron. “They don’t have to be a professionally-trained singer. If they enjoy singing, we’d love to have them.
“We’re not a professional group—we’re doing it just for fun,” he stressed.

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