Get on the Ball and Get Ready for Fall! Aylmer Area Community Choir Starts its 11Th Season!

              While birds and butterflies are departing for the south Choir members are returning. Aylmer Area Community Choir sings again for its 11th Season beginning on September 16, 2013. Practices are held in the music room at East Elgin Secondary School. Monday evening from 6:30 to 7:30 pm.

               This year’s choir executive is:

Linda Baldwin–Treasurer

Carol Copeland–Secretary

Adèle Miles-Music Librarian

Dave Dykeman–Conductor

Volunteers: Evelyn Luscher, Mary Ann Crossett and Miriam Helsdon

               Whether rehearsing with Dave Dykeman and Erin Thompson or performing for the community we sing for the love of it. So please come out again. The cost for joining is $40 for individual, $60.00 for a couple and $10.00 for students. New Members are always welcome! 

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A Vision for Musical Excellence in Elgin County

A Short History of the Aylmer Area Community Choir

by John E. Montgomery

            The Aylmer Area Community Choir (AACC) began as an upscale performing group. To be a successful venture the founders knew that it needed noteworthy talent. Dave Dykeman East Elgin Secondary School music director, agreed to lead the choir on condition that a sufficient and committed number of singers came together and a competent accompanist was found. Initially the choir was a dream of Jacquie Baldwin, a community volunteer and member of the Aylmer Area Community Band (AACB). Ms. Baldwin heard that Neil Whyte, Principal of Conservatory Canada from 1998 to 2001, was coming to Aylmer Baptist Church in the fall of 2002 as an organist and pianist. She sought his participation and he agreed. A blitz of advertising then went out in local media for singers and the first rehearsal, on April 6, 2003, was attended by 12 people.  It’s first concert was 6 weeks later when it was the guest of the Aylmer Area Community Band at their ‘Four Years After’ concert. Within a short time the AACC also performed at Aylmer Baptist Church, adjudication sessions at St. Thomas Rotary, the London Kiwanis Festivals and the opening of the East Elgin Community Complex.
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Neil Whyte and Evan Thompson the original and present accompanists

A music group without Sheet Music is like a car without an engine: you might ask the passengers of a car to push, but without an engine the experience is another tune.  And push the choir did. In 2007 the choir asked for funds from the Aylmer Foundation so it could have its own music library. The AACC needed top notch music to keep up with the eminent talent with whom it performs. Past President Joanne Orton has said that what AACC members have enjoyed the most about the choir besides the camaraderie “is the different types of music”. You can see this in the various partners with whom it has performed. Since 2003 the AACC has sung with some major South West Ontario talent, such as vocalist Murray Adlam, the Aylmer Area Community Band, the Elginaires Barbershoppe Chorus, Sarah Hardy, Roy LeBlanc, Orchestra London, Port Stanley Community Choir and St. Thomas Youth Choir, among others.

Band leader Dave Dykeman and band at Palmer Park

Band leader Dave Dykeman and AACB at Palmer Park

The AACC sponsors the local community’s connection with music. Providing young and rising local talent in Elgin County with financial and venue support makes sense because some of them, it is assumed, will be its future members. In 2009 the AACC performed with McGregor Public School’s Tara McCready and her grade 3 and 4 class at a Christmas Concert at Old Town Hall, in 2010, the choir sang with Assumption Catholic School’s choir director Theresa Mathers and her student singers; In 2011 at “Sounds of the Season” the AACC and the AACB had as their guest, Immanuel Christian School Choir and Band.

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AACC at Fifth Anniversary

   While the AACC was initially supported by the Aylmer Area Community Band, some of whom participate in both groups, the choir has for many years been a self-sufficient venture in its own right. Many of the original members of the choir are still part of it while new members give the choir flair and colour. While it continues to push for better music and musical talent in Elgin County such an endeavour requires energy and ongoing creativity to remain an upscale musical group. If the AACC were to have a theme song or signature piece what would it be? Would it be “Until We Sing Again” by Greg Gilpin, “Think of Me” from the Phantom of the Opera by Andrew Lloyd-Webber , “On the Street Where You Live” from My Fair Lady by Frederick Loewe and Alan Jay Lerner or Allister MacGillivray’s Away from the Roll of the Sea or another. After ten years in the singing business it certainly deserves one.

Orchestra London and Aylmer Area Community Choir

Orchestra London and Aylmer Area Community Choir

Saying Good bye to another Singing Season

IMG_4587a The Aylmer Area Community Choir’s concert season for 2012-2013 is coming to a close. So we say farewell to you while we go on our summer break. I find that singing for a choir helps me to recharge my batteries so I will have to find another power source for awhile. The last concerts are Monday, May 6th, 2013 at Chateau Gardens, performing at 6:30pm in the garden, (weather permitting) and Monday, May 13th at Caressent Care on Bonnie Place, St. Thomas for both band and choir (time to be confirmed).  The choir executive will have a chance to change gears for the fall (if they wish) and it’s likely we’ll have a new president by then.  More about that later. By the way, if you didn’t hear, at the Rotary Festival in St. Thomas Aylmer Area Community Choir received a mark of 86%. Judy Mennill represented the choir there as I think we were practising. So if you want to hear some award winning singers think about seeing us some time now or in the fall.  

Aylmer Area Community Choir Gets Ready for an Encore

When Joanne wrote, in preparation for the concert, that choir members were to bring all their music because “we may have to do an encore” I was not sure what to think.  But at the 10th Anniversary Concert of the Aylmer Area Community Choir it was the choir’s turn to impress.  The concert was given at the Old Town Hall Theatre in Aylmer on Friday, April 12, 2013 to a near capacity audience. And what a great hometown audience they were! At the end of the concert, they treated us to a standing ovation…the best kind of thanks an audience can give.

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To achieve audience satisfaction we had to practice singing many Monday evenings, purchase music and outfits, organize events, sell tickets and bake squares, and at performances set up tables, chairs and greet the audience, and also pay attention to Dave our fearless choir leader. That’s a lot of work for a volunteer group. Even though we did not sing an encore there is always that chance in the future. Well, now, we are back to ‘work, work work’ in-between our anniversary and our next performance. Our thoughts turn to whether or not we can top the 10th Anniversary. The Aylmer choir has many talented and experienced members, so I’m sure we’ll think of something. Stay tuned. 

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