Fernie Community Choir
I LOVE singing but until a few years ago my singing mostly involved belting out “Bohemian Rhapsody” in the shower or crooning along to show tunes in my car. Early in 2014, I heard about the formation of a new community choir in Fernie and decided to investigate. Auditioning for a choir would have been much too intimidating for me but the concept of this choir was inclusion, sharing the joy of singing music of many types in many languages with all sorts of people, no audition or experience necessary, everyone was welcome. Almost a decade later, I am still thoroughly enjoying our weekly get together and have learned a tremendous amount.
The choir came together when Anne Majic, a long-term Fernie resident who enjoys singing, approached David Pasivirta, a local music and band teacher, to see if he would be interested in leading a community choral group. Luckily for us, David was keen and the Fernie Community Choir was born.
Over the last nine years, the choir membership has evolved as personal circumstances have changed. Our current members range in age from fifteen to late seventies, with varying levels of musical experience, differing backgrounds and cultural heritages. What is common to our members is a love of singing with a group and socializing with people we might not otherwise know.
Singing is a universal activity that connects people from different cultures all around the world. There is something magical about music, the memories it evokes, the way it brings people together. We remember the lyrics of songs in a way that we don’t recall spoken words or written prose. Everyone can sing (really!) and it can be a perfect icebreaker.
The physiological benefits of singing, and music making more generally, have long been explored. We see improved breathing, posture and memory, the release of neurochemicals can help the immune system and play a role in pain relief and stress reduction. The social connections of singing in a group can bring psychological benefits such as reducing loneliness and isolation, and increasing our feelings of belonging.
The Fernie choir sings a wide range of musical genres and David is an inspiring choir director. He is energetic, knowledgeable, encouraging and fun, and has continued to commit to Fernie even after moving to Cranbrook. He is not afraid to show his own vulnerability which in turn encourages others to participate fully without fear of making mistakes. Over the years we have held local workshops with visiting experts and participated in festivals in and beyond the Elk Valley. We often join together with the Cranbrook community choir and recently took part in a Symphony of the Kootenays concert. We even made a virtual choir YouTube video during Covid.
The group meets every Tuesday evening at the Arts Station, 7-9pm, September to May, and we hold concerts in the community in December and June. There is a small charge to participate (we are
a non-profit group) but if money is a barrier, we can help with that. We want all community members who are interested, to be able to join us and we are always welcoming new participants.
Come and spend time with us on a Tuesday evening or contact the group via our Facebook page.