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Seniors choir in Maple Ridge needs conductor and pianist

If new conductor not found the Silvertones will be forced to disband
The Silvertones are in need of a conductor and pianist. (Special to The News)

A choir made up of Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows seniors might have to disband if they are unable to find a conductor and pianist.

Betty-June Gundersen is the current conductor of the Silvertones Choir, based out of the Maple Ridge Seniors Activity Centre, but only because she had to take over from the last conductor who left suddenly due to personal reasons.

“Right now I am conducting because I lost both a conductor and their pianist,” explained Gundersen.

“I have never been a conductor. This is my first year doing this just to keep the choir running,” said the 90-year-old.

The choir will be going into their 36th year in September, if they keep going.

Gundersen is planning to take the coir through until May, after which the group will break until September. But if no conductor is found for September, the group will be forced to disband.

Currently there are 28 members in the group – down from about 48 before the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020. About 24 of those members make it out to the practises and about 18 for performances.

They perform five times a month at local care homes and practise every Thursday. Every month they perform a new program.

The choir was formed by Marjrie Bates with 12 members.

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Gundersen hopes to be able to return to singing in the fall – but, she said, she would try to keep the group together.

“I will try, but as I say, I’m 91, I can’t promise that I’ll start it up again in September,” she said, adding that she is also a caregiver to her husband.

She noted that the group is like a big family and it will be upsetting to everyone if they are forced to break up.

“Everybody is so loving and they give everything into this choir,” elaborated Gundersen. And, she said, to join the coir itself, no experience is necessary.

All the choir members want to do is carry on what they have been doing for the seniors in the care homes and at the hospital – making them smile.

“You wouldn’t believe how much joy these people get from us coming in and singing,” said Gundersen.

“They really enjoy it.”

Anyone interested in the role of pianist or conductor for the choir can call 604-466-8224.

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Colleen Flanagan

About the Author: Colleen Flanagan

I got my start with Black Press Media in 2003 as a photojournalist.
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