FAMILY TIES - From left

Red Deer Chamber Singers to celebrate 40 years

Popular group has been a mainstay in the City’s cultural landscape

  • Wed May 18th, 2016 3:26pm
  • News

A City singing group is about to celebrate a tremendously significant milestone.

The Red Deer Chamber Singers will be presenting ‘40 Years Singing with Sadie’ on May 28th at the Gaetz Memorial United Church. Performance time is 7 p.m.

Tickets are $10 and more information can be found at www.chambersingersreddeer.com or by calling 403-347-6567.

Sadie Braun launched the group just over 40 years ago after directing the all-women’s musical troupe The Waska-Sues.

Eventually, she wanted to start up a singing group for men and women, and The Madrigal Singers began.

They later became The Chamber Singers under Braun’s direction.

“We are people from all walks of life who love to sing,” reads the web site. “As we look back, we can truly say that our musical selections have spanned the centuries.

“They have included ancient music of western Europe (around 500 AD), Renaissance madrigals, classical, sacred, secular and folk music, compositions by modern composers and show tunes. We have sponsored a sing-along Messiah twice in Red Deer, performed in nursing homes and responded to invitations for special occasions.”

Currently, the group has about 20 members and is under the direction of Braun’s daughter, Sharon Braun – a wonderfully accomplished and respected musician and opera singer in her own right. “I’ve have passed the baton,” added Sadie with a chuckle. That was back in about 2007. But Sadie has remained an integral part of the group of course. There is no question it’s her passion and provides a deep and lasting sense of joy to both women.

Sadie originally hails from southern Manitoba. And it was during her early years that a passion for music was born.

Along with the flourishing gift for music was a love for nursing, too. So over the years, Sadie certainly had her hands full with a nursing career while also raising a family (three children) and of course growing her remarkable musical abilities as well.

“I was always into music. And I was lucky – mom and dad had a piano so I got a chance to get piano lessons. I had an older brother who had a girlfriend who came to teach music,” she recalls.

“Before I finished high school I had my Grade 8 piano exam. And then I did the rest of my music (studies) after I finished training and got married. As a little girl, Sharon would be banging on the pots and pans while I was practicing,” she laughs.

Sadie’s mom taught her a few melodies as well. “Music has always been part of my life.”

When the family came to Red Deer in 1971, Sadie started working at the local hospital.

“I was going to take some time off, but then thought I would phone the hospital and see if they need someone – I think was working the next day or something like that. I worked on the obstetrics ward for 10 years or so,” she said.

The Red Deer Chamber Singers practice weekly at Sunnybrook United Church. The group also hosts a Renaissance Feast annually as well, along with other performances throughout the community.

“I’ve always loved choral music – even through I’m a classical piano player,” said Sadie. “There is so much music – I love all kinds. I love the classics of course.”

Seeing the transformative powers of music amongst choir members over the years has also been rewarding, said Sadie. Sometimes, folks would come to rehearsal saying they were feeling tired, and nearly stayed home. “But when they finished the rehearsal, they’d go home singing. It puts them in a different world.

“It would revive them, and that’s the beauty of music.”

For Sharon, directing the choir provides another rich means of tapping into the wonders of music. She teaches voice at RDC as well, but finds balancing the two areas a continually fulfilling venture.

“I love the sharing part of it. And gradually, it has sort of evolved.”

Sharon of course was raised in music, too. Sadie recalls entering her daughter in singing and playing categories of local festivals. “And she usually won her class,” she said.

Back when she joined it, it wasn’t long before Sharon also saw the fun that members had when they came together.

“The community feeling and that feeling of accomplishing something at the end of a rehearsal. That’s really important. It’s a fun thing, and a different way to express oneself.”

As for the coming show, Sharon describes it as being a pretty eclectic program. She and Sadie are hoping lots of alumni attend as well, as there will be a massed choir at the end of the performance.

“We’ll do our program first, and there will then be the massed choir.” A social will wrap up the evening.

“We’ve also got some madrigals, we’ve got some folk songs, some contemporary songs – a real mix. I’ve arranged the program so that no one knows just what’s coming next,” she said. It will also be something of a delightful trek down memory lane, as scrapbooks packed with photos from over the years will be on display as well.

Again, for more information about the Red Deer Chamber Singers or tickets to the performance, visit www.chambersingersreddeer.com or call 403-347-6567.

editor@reddeerexpress.com