Martin Exeter Hall was filled with music on Sunday, May 7.
The performance was to celebrate Canada 150 with admission by donation and all funds raised going to the 100 Mile Hospital Auxiliaries and Fisher Place/Mill Site Lodge.
The performances kicked off with a host of songs by The Front Porch.
“They’re our local bluegrass band and they’re getting quite well known and two of the members of that band, Len Aune and his wife Cathryn Aune, … they are members of the choir but they have this band and started us off with a half hour of preconcert music,” says Barbara Hooper, a longtime member of Eclectica and retired music teacher.
Their performance was followed by two first nations songs performed by members of the Canim Lake Band.
“This is Canada’s 150th birthday but we know very well that there were people here before that political institution of Canada was born. The First Nations People have been here for hundreds and thousands of years… I hope they acknowledge [that] in all of the Canada 150 celebrations,” says Hooper.
The grand performance was the Eclectica Community Choir who performed a range of Canadian songs from Northwest Passage by Stan Rogers (Arr. Ron Smail) to Tom Gough’s Cariboo Cowboy Night and Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah (Arr. Roger Emerson).
“All of our songs pretty much, except one… were written by Canadians or are considered to be Canadian songs,” says Hooper.
There was even a locally written song titled Arriba en Canadá by South Cariboo resident and Peter Skene Ogden Secondary School teacher Donna Forward-Houriet.
“She took all of the fun Spanish words… and created this incredible song about Canada in Spanish,” says Hooper. “We were so pleased with how the program turned out. Being a typical Canadian, I love music from all over the world, but we have such incredible music here in Canada and we could put together this amazing program of Canadian music and that was kind of inspiring to us all. We all sang it feeling a little extra special because we’re all Canadians and very, very proud of being Canadian.”
According to Hooper, they raised roughly $1,200.
Hooper says she’s very happy with how many people come and join the choir.
“Our choir, we have between 50 and 60 members at any given time. We’re all ages, men and women. We’ve had young people. We’ve had people as young as 11, people as old as in their eighties. We have a lot of German-speaking people and French-speaking people in our choir… It’s an amazing group. We always have fun.”