The Yellowpoint Singers are looking to turn up the bass with a few more male choir members.
Their fall choral session starts Wednesday (Sept. 12), and all new male and female members, particularly those in the bass and tenor vocal range, are invited to sing along.
“Just about every choir seems to have that request constantly,” said choir co-manager Dave Carter. “Men often think that they don’t have a very good voice, but when they get out and sing with other men, they often find they do a lot better than they thought they could.”
The Yellowpoint Singers (YPS) started about 13 years ago as a small community choir for residents in the Yellowpoint area and has grown continually. The choir currently has about 40-45 members from Nanaimo to Ladysmith and everywhere in between. With the eldest members in their 70s and youngest in their 20s, there’s a place for all music lovers.
“We don’t turn anyone away,” Carter said.
Singing everything from traditional classical pieces to gospel and modern show tunes, there is always something for everyone, whether you are in the choir or in the audience.
“Yellowpoint has unique style in that it’s relatively eclectic and welcoming,” Carter said.
Frank Letain, a tenor who has been with the choir three years, describes it as therapy.
“We rehearse once a week, and you leave there feeling uplifted,” he said.
There are no auditions required to join, but the choir does two major performances per year, a Christmas Concert and a Spring Concert. They also perform at local seniors’ homes such as the Lodge on 4th and La Rosa Gardens. This year’s Christmas Concert will be held Dec. 9 at Oceanview Community Church. Choir directors are hoping to feature a Nanaimo children’s choir at the performance.
“We like to share our performance time, and that’s always good for the audience — they get a bigger bang for their buck,” Carter said.
Twice a year, YPS hosts full-day workshops, which are a great learning opportunity for choral members to strengthen the quality of their repertoire and receive in-depth training. A potluck is also held during the workshops.
“It is said of our choir that we are almost as good at cooking as we are at singing,” Carter laughed. “We’re pretty good at looking after each other. There’s a lot of social interaction and social support in our choir.”
The choir is directed by Doug Roszmann, and their accompanist is Sharyn Andruski-Collins.
“He really makes everyone feel welcomed and wanted, and he’s able to get the best from us,” Carter said of Roszmann, adding that Andruski-Collins performs her duties as choral accompanist with incredible precision.
Letain joined Yellowpoint Singers after moving to Ladysmith from the mainland.
“I’ve always loved to sing; I’ve been singing in choirs since high school,” he said. “As soon as I got here, I was looking around for a choir to join.”
Responding to an ad in the Chronicle, Letain showed up for a YPS rehearsal, and the rest is music history.
“They made me feel very welcome, and that’s continued,” Letain said. “I’ve sung with a lot of choirs over the years and you get a feel for different ones; I very much like the warm atmosphere with the other members of the [Yellowpoint] choir. We all love singing, and we all enjoy making music together.”
Letain said his most memorable moments have been performing at seniors’ homes.
“Those were very special moments for me because we go into the nursing homes, and you see these elderly people and lots of times, you can just see the joy in their faces … their eyes light up and you’ll see a toe or finger start tapping in time to the music and you just know that you’ve touched them,” he said.
YPS rehearsals take place Wednesday nights from 7-9 p.m. at Cedar Secondary School in two sessions — fall (September to December) and spring (January to May). There is a $50 charge per session to help cover expenses such as sheet music and facility rental.
For more information about the Yellowpoint Singers, contact Joan at 250-753-9483 or Dave at 250-245-3727.