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Southern Accord Chorus loves to sing

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The Southern Accord Chorus considers themselves Lethbridge’s best kept secret.the Southern Accord Chorus performes at the College Drive Community Church. Photo by Richard Amery
“Not that we try to keep it a secret,” said Carol Quan, president of the  Southern Accord Chorus.
The  30 member female chorus including members from all over Southern Alberta including Milk River, Picture Butte, Warner and Hill Spring, practice every Wednesday night just outside  of Lethbridge. It includes women of all ages and backgrounds who enjoy singing four part harmonized a cappella music
 Right now, they are looking forward to a show at the College Drive Community Church, March 13 with the Hearts of Harmony from Red Deer. While the Southern Accord Chorus are usually found performing private and special functions, they have a big show like this one every two years, though this is the first one  they are performing with another chorus. They will be performing with the Red Deer group, March 20 in Red Deer.
“We’re always looking for new members. We’re always interested in people who are interested in learning how to sing and are looking for this type of challenge,” added co-director Janice Atkins, adding  learning to sing in a large group is a challenge, but also a lot of fun. The members are required to record their parts and listen  and learn from them.
“This show is going to be a lot of fun. There will be 50 voices combined with the Red Deer chorus,” she enthused.
“ I think it‘s going to be fantastic to be singing with all of these voices,” she said.
“If we didn’t like the songs, we wouldn’t be singing them so we’re performing all of our favourites,” Atkins added.
“It’s very challenging. You have to hold  your parts and keep the notes without a piano accompaniment,” Quan continued adding some  members have absolutely no musical training, while others hold degrees in music composition.
 the set for the big show changes  every time. The hour and a half to two hour show includes everything from country music including Shania Twain’s ‘Honey I’m Home’ to show tunes like ‘Mama Mia,’ and classics like ‘It’s A Wonderful  World,’ plus there is a lot of humourous between song banter.
“We strive for professionalism and we work hard to achieve that professionalism,” Atkins said.
The Southern Accord Chorus has been performing since 1998, They are part of an international organization of women’s singers committed to advancing the musical form of barbershop harmony through education and performances. So members take part in classes about singing and performance. It includes  25,000 members involved in 1,200 registered  quartets and  600 choruses. The chorus performs at Christmas parties, during special events on Remembrance Day, music festivals and other special events several times a year. May 6-8 they will be in Calgary to compete in an adjudicated  annual competitions for Sweet Adeline chorus members in Calgary. It will include 23 quartets and between 18-20 choruses from all over Alberta, the Northwest Territories, British Columbia and Saskatchewan.
“It’s a great motivator for us,’ Quan said.
“The judges are active internationally so they are very helpful to get feedback from so it helps  us improve,” she said.
 The show begins at 7 p.m. at the College Drive Community Church, March 13. Tickets cost $12 in advance from Note-able Music.
A version of this story appeared in the February edition of Bridge Magazine
— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat editor
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