For the 22nd year in a row, the Grove City Barbershop Chorus headed to Edmonton’s Misericordia Hospital to lift the spirits of patients with their music this week.
The chorus has a few dozen members that range in age from 20 to 82.
“We’re just a bunch of guys from all over the place. We claim to be shower singers. None of us are professional singers,” said Jim Cochrane, the chorus’ public relations and marketing manager.
“We sing for the joy of it.”
The men sing a cappella, in a four-part harmony.
“We go right through the entire hospital and we sing around the beds if we can, or where we can’t, in the hallways,” said long-time member Cal Wrathall.
The group realizes not everyone will get to be home over the holidays, or feel very festive.
“It’s just time to connect to your community and people in it that maybe aren’t having quite as good a Christmas as you are,” Wrathall said.
They love the response they get.
“It’s just so wonderful for us, and we get such a heartwarming response from people,” Cochrane said.
“We get tears and handshakes and it’s just great.”
Some patients joined in, singing the carols with the chorus. One man even directed them, while others asked for favourite songs.
“I thought they were amazing! Wonderful voices. They blend together so nicely,” said patient Joan Hiron.
The Grove City Chorus also sings in nursing homes and annual competitions. They’re always recruiting new members.