A cappella group seeking members

If the Studio 2880 windows are open tonight between 7 and 9:30 p.m., passersby will get wafted in the sweet sound of women's singing voices.

Those windows are located right next to the door, and the door will be open for anyone who wants to come inside and try it out themselves. Tonight is the first rehearsal of the year for the White Spruce City Chorus, a chapter of the international Sweet Adeline's a cappella group. There are about 18 core members right now, and they want the group to expand this year. September is the start of their annual program, so now is when people interested in learning to sing or bringing their vocal passions to their all-female choir.

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The group sings in the barbershop harmony style, and there is both a large group and options to take part in quartets as well, with the White Spruce City Chorus. Second-year director Deb Hemeryck and veteran voice Pam Kranz emphasized that they were as interested in beginners as in experienced singers.

"In our mission statement it says in black and white that education is a key thing for us, always," said Kranz.

The cost to sign up as a member is $260 per year (there is a discount for those aged younger than 25) and Hemeryck said "there is no way you can get a year of voice lessons anywhere for less than that. And take it from me, I thought I knew how to sing until I joined Sweet Adeline's. That's when my singing education really happened."

"Oh yeah, I didn't even know how to breathe properly for the singing voice until I started with Sweet Adeline's, and you're surrounded by all these great people who are singing with you, learning with you," Kranz added.

"And we start at the beginning. You can join the chorus anytime, but September is best because we really do start from the beginning and build up throughout the year, so this is when we are at the basics," Hemeryck said.

The White Spruce City Chorus has been in operation for about 30 years in Prince George. They lend their talents to volunteer purposes like singing at seniors homes and the Youth Around Prince party last Christmas, the Farmers' Market and so forth.

They are hired in large group form or in quartets to sing for anniversary parties, birthdays, their annual Valentine-o-grams and Mothers' Day festivities, and almost anywhere the sung song is imagined. (Their cost is $50 for in-home events, $100 for corporate events.)

They also compete in the Prince George & District Music Festival and sometimes at the Western Canadian convention of Sweet Adelines choirs held each April. This year, that event is in Surrey and the local group plans to attend. The group also performs an annual concert in the performance hall of the Elder Citizens' Recreation Association.

"Last year we had Deb start as our director, we had a number of new members, so there was a lot of freshness to the chorus," said Kranz.

Hemeryck said that now, with a year of experience as the director (she had been in the choir's ranks for about 20 years before picking up the baton), she wants to make even more changes. Society has provided a lot of momentum for a cappella singing again, through hit films like Pitch Perfect and star groups like The Tenors and Pentatonix selling out all over the world.

"We are going to push into some new territory: new repertoire and new style ideas," said Hemeryck, pointing out they already have one quartet using beat-boxing as an adornment to their stage presentation. The human voice is one of the most versatile musical instruments, she said, and the human imagination almost limitless so the White Spruce City Chorus of Sweet Adelines is looking to newcomers for their next generation of sounds and ideas.

Anyone interested in joining is invited to attend any of their Tuesday rehearsals starting tonight at 2880 15th Avenue, make contact through their Facebook page, or phone Hemeryck at 250-613-5655.

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