Stephen Vance, Staff
When the Goldenaires women’s choir first shared their golden voices with their Meaford friends and neighbours in 1969, The Archies were topping the charts with their hit song Sugar, Sugar, Pierre, not Justin, was the Trudeau in the Prime Minister’s office, and for the first time ever, men were walking on the moon.
Over the past 47 years the Goldenaires have seen plenty of change, and this year, with a new music director taking the helm, they have some changes of their own taking place.
“I had heard of the Goldenaires, but I didn’t know anything about them,” says Catherine Robertson, the new Director for the Goldenaires.
Robertson recently moved to Meaford after 25 years living in Wasaga Beach. She holds degrees in voice performance and education, and she’s an occasional teacher in the Bluewater school board.
“We just moved here in June, and we’re delighted,” Roberston told The Independent. “I found out about this job being available quite by accident. A friend of mine who sings in a group that I direct in Collingwood noticed it in the paper, but I wasn’t getting a newspaper yet because I’d just moved here.”
Robertson contacted the Goldenaires just in time.
“It was almost too late, they were ready to interview somebody else, and they slipped me in at the last moment,” said Robertson.
The Goldenaires semi-annual concerts (first Sunday in May and first Sunday in December) have delighted capacity audiences at the Meaford United Church for decades with their repertoire that includes Celtic, spiritual, and contemporary music sung in three part harmony accompanied by piano and the occasional guest instrumentalists. Funds raised from the annual concerts are returned to the community with donations in recent years to the Golden Town Outreach food bank as well as to local school music programs.
While there may be some differences in her style of leadership and direction, Robertson says that she isn’t planning to make any significant changes to the Goldenaires, and she stresses that the ultimate goal for the choir is to have fun.
As Robertson finds her feet with the Goldenaires, one eye is on the calendar as the next big performance for the choir is the annual holiday concert held in December, and she is hoping to find some new members when the Goldenaires return from their summer vacation and begin preparing for that performance.
Many of the current members of the Goldenaires have been participating for several years, including one member, Pauline Major, who has been with the organization since the very beginning in 1969 informed Ellie Smith, current president of the organization who herself has been with the Goldenaires for 35 years.
What are the qualifications needed to join the Goldenaires?
“Primarily, a woman who loves to sing,” advised Robertson. “If you read music, that’s lovely, but it’s not absolutely essential.”
Robertson said that rehearsals for the Goldenaires are held on Tuesday evenings in order to prepare for the holiday concert in December as well as the annual Spring concert.
For anyone interested in joining the Goldenaires, registration will be held on Tuesday September 6 at 6:00 pm at the Meaford United Church. Following the registration period will be the first rehearsal of the new season at 7:00 pm.