St. John’s men’s choir wants to make music around the globe.
For over 10 years, a St. John’s men’s choir has hit high notes on stages across North America.
The award-winning Newman Sound Men’s Choir of St. John’s, Newfoundland, performed a concert at The Rooms on Nov. 9 called Remember. The event was part of Remembrance Day activities.
Choir member, Joey Callahan, says it’s a special day.
“This is one of my absolute favourite concerts that we get to do every year,” Callahan said.
His uncle fought in the Second World War.
“… it’s amazing to get to do this in memory of him.”
“A part of the choir’s mandate and vision is that we celebrate music from Newfoundland and Labrador”
Jennifer Hart is the artistic director of Newman Sound Men’s Choir. She says David Chafe, Kellie Walsh and Dr. Douglas Dunsmore created Newman Sound in 2005 and named it after a region of Terra Nova National Park. The choir sings many genres and commissions new works by Newfoundland and Labrador composers.
“A part of the choir’s mandate and vision is that we celebrate music from Newfoundland and Labrador,” Hart said. “We have a lot of folk arrangements for the choir. A lot of our arranging is done by members of the choir, which is really, really special because we can then work with them and fine-tune the piece.
“(Another) part of our mission and vision is that we want to be travelling,” Hart said.
Newman Sound won the championship for Male Chamber Choirs at the 7th World Choir Games in Cincinnati, USA.
“When we went to Cincinnati, we went to this big competition called the World Choir Games,” Hart said. “It’s like basically the Olympics for choirs, choirs from all over the world.”
Hart says the group had no expectations – so when they were declared winners, it was a huge shock.
“They just kept calling choirs and we thought ‘they forgot us, oh my God, they forgot us again,” said Hart. They forgot us, and then it was like they hadn’t said our name … and we won.”
Callahan recalls the day fondly.
“Just getting to jump over hockey boards and running up to the stage … It’s something I’ll never forget for the rest of my life,” said Callahan.
“I remember sitting next to someone and squeezing their arm,” Hart said. “But I, I just remember being really happy and really proud.”
Hart says she doesn’t do it for the awards, though.
“It’s the first thing I think about when I get up and it’s the last thing I think about before going to sleep,” said Hart. “And I can’t imagine doing anything else.”
“I really liked the feeling of what it was to sing in an ensemble and a choir specifically and the community that was created from it,” Hart said. “I wanted that to be my career and there is just something really special about making music with other people.”