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Filling the need for a ‘few more places to sing’

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A new community choir in St. James marks its debut concert this weekend.


On Sun., March 10, Vocal Ascent will hold its inaugural concert, dubbed A Place in the Choir, at Young United Church in the West End at 7:30 p.m.


"Everybody’s just really excited because a lot of them haven’t sung since high school," said choir director Debbie McLeod last week. "They miss it."


McLeod assembled the 56-voice choir shortly after the carolling season this past December.
McLeod, who taught choir in the St. James-Assiniboia School Division for 24 years before retiring two years ago, said she joined Facebook in November to see if any of her former students were interested in carolling. More than 80 people responded and crammed into the small choir room at St. Andrew’s Anglican Church in Woodhaven.


"I was expecting 20. The room was small," McLeod said.


"There’s a need in the community for a few more places to sing."


McLeod has taught hundreds of students over her career as a choir, musical theatre and drama teacher, and while many students continue their musical ambitions in university, most don’t, McLeod said.


As a community choir, Vocal Ascent is a non-auditioned, non-profit outlet for those students, and those interested in the community, McLeod said. Members range from 17 to 66 years old, and the group’s goal is singing, learning and sharing, she said.


"A lot of people come into their own after they graduate and know who they are and what their priorities are, so some people come into music and, in particular, singing," said McLeod.
"Singing is something that enriches your life through and through. It’s not an instrument you have to carry and pay for it."


McLeod anticipates the choir to continue growing alongside its musical library, and hopes to build the choir into a fundraising group available to community organizations.


A Place in the Choir takes place Sun., March 10 at 7:30 p.m. at Young United Church. The church is located at 222 Furby St.


Soloist Paula Potosky, who will star as Mary Poppins this summer at the Rainbow Stage, will also perform.


Tickets are $15 and available by emailing vocalascent@gmail.com, or contract choir treasurer Aaron McLeod at 204-250-6499 or awmcleod@hotmail.com.

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