We asked our singers to tell us why they keep coming back to the My Pop Choir community year after year.
And from the choirs in Vancouver and Downtown Toronto, in Thornhill/Richmond Hill and Burlington, and in Oakville, Etobicoke and Lawrence Park, they answered with heartfelt accounts of what My Pop Choir means to them. Oh yes, and we also have members in New Jersey, Chicago, the Ottawa Valley and Montreal and points beyond, who are thrilled to be able to participate in our Virtual Choir.
So many choir members had so much to say, in fact, that we are offering their thoughts in three separate blogs over the next couple of months in You Said It!, More to Say and Virtual Reality.
I’ve never really been a joiner, unless I was coaxed by a friend or family member or had a partner in crime with whom I could join. And nine years ago was no different. I was always a little shy of new situations, but a friend and I decided to find a choir we could join and let 2014 be our year of music and singing. My friend asked good old Google for choirs in the area and we found My Pop Choir. It was January and the perfect time to find something to get us through the winter.
Walking into that room full of people who seemed to know what they were doing was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do (and I raised my kids alone!).
But I was hooked! It was one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. It didn’t take me long to make myself at home – so much so that I became the manager of the Oakville choir and then Burlington choir. Anyone who remembers me from back then would tell you that the Bettina of today does not resemble at all the Bettina who joined choir back in 2014. I have more confidence, more peace, more calm, and I am more comfortable stepping into new situations than I ever was before.
My Pop Choir is a community of amazing people who are kind, generous, compassionate and inclusive. My experience with My Pop Choir has helped to open me up to so many parts of myself that I never knew were hiding inside. And I will be forever grateful for the experience and the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people.
Bettina Goodwin, Oakville/Burlington
I am new to My Pop Choir this year and, so far, I’m loving the experience. I can’t wait for Wednesday evening each week. Our choir director is awesome and she makes learning new material so much fun. Everyone has been so helpful and kind.
Faye Zsadany, Burlington
To me, My Pop Choir means community. I joined in 2017 simply looking for something to do. I didn't know what to expect beyond singing. From my very first night, what I have found are kind and welcoming people. I've found wonderful friends, incredible opportunities, and a lot of laughter. No matter the day, or what is going on in my life, time spent with My Pop Choir puts a smile on my face and fills my soul.
Kristine Fitzpatrick, Burlington
Joyous, gifted leader
"Strong but wrong," good for the soul
Voices, spirits soar!
Judy Cole, Toronto Downtown
Ever since I was a young child, I have loved to sing. I used to make up songs while riding in the car. Unfortunately, my parents could not afford to send me to voice or piano lessons, so I joined my elementary school choir, an ethnic (Japanese) choir, and the concert band in high school where I learned to read music and play the clarinet. I took piano and voice lessons for a few years in my 30s. During my working years I had the pleasure of being part of my office’s pop/rock band as a vocalist.
Soon after I retired last year, I noticed My Pop Choir’s ad on Facebook, and immediately knew that that was my opportunity to continue singing with others who loved to sing. And since joining My Pop Choir, I have loved every minute of it – the songs, making new friends, and performing with the Show Choir. Coming to choir is definitely the highlight of my week, so I will continue to come back, as it makes me happy and allows me to fulfill my passion.
Julie Yoshida, Lawrence Park
I joined My Pop Choir with one of my childhood best friends because I love singing and we have always loved singing together. We also joined to push ourselves to do something outside of our comfort zone and force us to take time to do something enjoyable together away from the stresses of our daily lives.
It was an amazing experience! I loved singing in a group even though I flip flopped between groups 2 and 3! I loved the process of working through a song and hearing the end product improve over each night.
Thanks for providing this opportunity for a little sunshine in my week!
I will be coming back for more!
Melanie Kraft, Toronto Downtown
I joined with one of my best friends since childhood so we could break away from our respective offices and have fun – singing out loud - even though I have a terrible voice. And thanks to Alex – we totally did – have a lot of fun!
Good tunes, easy teaching, the right length of time (90 minutes or so a week), lots of laughs and great fun…. left me singing in my car for days after!
And we (my friend and I) are scheduled to do our own “recital” with all our friends this summer! What more could you ask for?!?
Thank you, Alex, and My Pop Choir!
Dara Willow, Toronto Downtown
I was chatting to a friend on our drive home from seeing a Mirvish musical in downtown Toronto and unbeknownst to me, my phone was listening ...
"I'd love to sing in a chorus or be on stage," I said. "I haven't done that since high school!" (Back in the ’90s!!!)
Hours later, when my kids were in bed, and the kitchen was tidy, pets were settled, my work schedule for my full-time corporate role reviewed for the next day, and husband was reading contentedly, I began my nightly scroll on Facebook ... And there, between the content of pictures and posts from people I care about, and countless ads for products and services that I don't care about was MY POP CHOIR!
"What is this?" I thought. I dove in. I read the posts on Facebook, I Googled the main website, and I had what Oprah always refers to as an AHA moment.
I could DO this! No audition, a location I can get to easily, a weekly evening time I could commit to (and still be able to get dinner on the table at 6 p.m. / see my kids off to sleep by 9:30 p.m.) My new hobby was within sight.
Like many, my first time attending felt like dipping my toe in a cold lake. I didn't fully know what to expect. I didn't know who would be there. I didn't know what song(s) we would sing. I wasn't even truly confident that I could sing for that matter LOL! And sheet music??? Could I go back in time (waaay back) to my eight-year-old self at piano lessons and try to remember which note is which???
But ... also like the majority of those who pop in to a My Pop Choir session - I really enjoyed myself. I truly had fun. My spirit was lifted! I couldn't wait to return. And so I did.
That was October of 2022. By December, that same friend I see Mirvish musicals with was hearing my stories of not only weekly My Pop Choir nights, but also seeing pictures of the fantastic opportunities we are given to be a part of Show Choir - singing holiday songs at a local brewery, singing "Oh Canada" for a sporting event, etc.
While it may not always be appreciated that our phones are hearing us ... I'm forever grateful that mine did, at least that once.
Shannon Cavanagh, Etobicoke