A West Shore youth choir is back up and running with plans for performances and rehearsals, in hopes of reaching pre-pandemic numbers.
SingYourJoy, a non-auditioned chorus of people ages 16 to 29, typically had around 60 singers. Founder Christine Chepyha said she’s hopeful the choir will be in full voice for the upcoming season but that reaching youth can be hard.
“We know that there’s a pent-up demand for people to get together as groups – we can see that at all the festivals that are happening over the summer and the concerts and outdoor events. I know from personal experience, I started another choir last October, during the pandemic, and there were people that were excited to be there, under all the appropriate conditions.”
Hannah Richards, 22, who is studying biomedical engineering at the University of Victoria, joined the choir in January 2020 – unfortunate timing, she admits. She stayed involved as rehearsals moved first online and then in-person but physically distanced, because she wanted to make sure the choir survived, and she enjoyed the camaraderie.
“I was really looking for a choir that was fun because I do so much work with school, I didn’t want it to feel like work,” Richards said. “I wanted it to be a fun place to go and get some of the amazing mental health benefits of singing in a group, without it feeling like something I had to do.”
The chorus will offer two in-person rehearsal locations, starting Sept. 5 at Oak Bay United Church on Mitchell Street in Victoria, and Sept. 8 at Redeemer Lutheran on Jacklin Road in Langford.
Chepyha is eyeing December for the group’s first performance date but is still trying to confirm a venue, with demand for performing spaces high, she noted.
More information on how to register can be found at singyourjoy.ca.