Bringing people together in song

My Pop Choir looks to put fun singing groups all over the city

Activities that improve your physical health such as pilates, aerobics and sports are a dime a dozen in Toronto. But when sisters-in-law Anne Wootten and Jacqueline Curtis looked into activities to improve one’s spiritual wellbeing they couldn’t find what they were looking for at any price.

“There’s so much out there for the body,” Curtis said. “There’s not a whole lot out there for the spirit without having any specific religious connotations or getting into anything that was mystic.”

But after starting up My Pop Choir, a group of community choirs open to anyone, Curtis and Wootten are now signing a different tune.

“We realized, after the first two or three sessions, that this was much more than voice and song,” said Curtis. “This was about how it was impacting people’s hearts and how they felt about themselves and their sense of accomplishment and achievement and pride.”

After a successful first run in Oakville, My Pop Choir is set to expand by opening six new choir locations — including one at Humbercrest United Church at 16 Baby Point Rd. with sessions on Tuesday nights at 7 p.m. starting Jan. 31.

Registration costs $20 per week or $200 for the entire 10-week term. Fees are used to pay for administration costs, location rental and choir master salaries.

Curtis and Wootten have set a limit of about 50 singers per session but anyone is welcome to sign up.

Curtis stresses that no musical experience is necessary.

“There are no auditions and there are no solos,” she said. “Nobody ever sings alone.”

Curtis said the main goal is to have a good time but adds participants will also become better singers as well. Choir masters will conduct three-part harmonies composed from a variety of musical genres including Motown hits from the ’60s to modern chart toppers like Katy Perry’s “Firework”.

“We have to find songs with great harmonies, straight forward harmonies and ones that kind of convey positivity and fun and funky,” Curtis said. “So we go with pop, rock and R&B.”

Couples and singles, young and old have all flexed their vocal chords at the first My Pop Choir. According to Curtis, all but two of the original Oakville members have signed back up for the upcoming term and the two who haven’t are snowbirds.

“To find out the impact it has on people is still pretty extraordinary,” she said. “I think it’s a social phenomenon that’s going on right now.

“I think there’s a social shift to people seeking things to make them feel good about who they are.”


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By: Tristan Carter
Posted: Feb 1 2012 2:05 pm
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto
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