One of Vernon’s iconic choirs, which has been together for more than 40 years, has acquired new leadership.
Devon L. Muhlert was asked to take over musical direction of the Halina Centre Choir.
“This group takes their singing seriously, as a contribution to the cultural life of Vernon,” said Muhlert. “Besides mounting two concerts every year, they share the joy they find in music with seniors’ homes throughout Vernon every Christmas season and every spring.”
An enthusiastic bunch of men and women, the singers always welcome new members, and auditions are not required.
“We are all singers deep down, and some just need a little more encouragement. A group setting is a great way to learn to sing,” said Muhlert. “Some members are also happy that rehearsals are during daytime hours.”
The group has switched to being mostly a capella singers.
Muhlert is no stranger to choirs, having founded some innovative groups when she worked as a church music director in Nelson. Some of those groups included the Ecu-Minstrels (an ecumenical children’s chorus), Bashful Balladeers (singing-challenged people who previously believed the shower to be their only venue) and Hot Flashes (middle-aged women poking fun at rap, as well as using more serious music).
“They’ve all been fun,” said Muhlert, adding “Something one of my Bashful Balladeers said to me when I left Nelson has always stuck with me. She said, ‘Not only did you teach us how to sing, but you helped us do it for ourselves.’”
Muhlert has been music director for several musicals, two of which she also wrote. She was also a church music director in Armstrong and Enderby, and became a composer to match and enrich the skill levels of her singers.
She looks forward to sharing some of her original songs with the Halina choir.
“Each group has something special, and I really enjoy working with them to bring that something special out,” she said.
Muhlert’s first official function with the choir was the Christmas concert, and audience members commented that they were glad to see all ages represented when she added some of her young private students in guitar, flute and sax to the mix.
Choir rehearsals are Wednesdays from 1 to 3:30 p.m., and sectionals alternate from men to women Fridays at Muhlert’s studio at the Caetani Cultural Centre. More info is available by calling 250-542-3228.