Anne Downton (foreground) with members of Surrey-based Westcoast Harmony Chorus in 2015. (File photo)

COLUMN ON THE ARTS

MINTY: It’s 2020 – time to sing, dance and play in Surrey

Westcoast Harmony Chorus among groups hoping to be heard in new year

By Melanie Minty, arts columnist

Happy New Year. Here we are, once again, making an imaginary line in time. This year begins now, and it will end on Dec. 31, 2020. Marking time. Did you ever say to yourself, I wish I had done that (whatever “that” is) when I was younger? Travel in time, change things? Concepts in time give way to science fiction. Time and mind. Powerful entities.

We can go back in time – just remembering things that occurred yesterday, or even 10 years ago. We can remember our lives, our universe, things that we did or didn’t do – our feelings, our experiences. Of course, those memories may not have occurred as we remember them. It is our inner universe that we are exploring, our own time. However, the human mind can be a fragile thing, and how would we deal with memory loss – whole periods of time we cannot recall.

You Will Remember Me, written by Francois Archambault, is an inter-generational story about the impact of memory loss. This touching and sometimes humorous play is the next presentation for Surrey-based Naked Stage Productions Society at Newton Cultural Centre, from Feb. 28 to March 1.

This story is timely. You Will Remember Me shows the importance of reviewing the past and collective memory as an essential part of the human condition. Edouard, a university professor and prominent public figure, must confront his dementia in conjunction with his fractured family. Visit Naked Stage’s website (nakedstage.net) for info about purchasing tickets. Yes, this production runs for a limited time, so this is your advance notice.

Elsewhere, The Late Christopher Bean is the next production for Surrey Little Theatre, from Jan. 23 to Feb. 22, Thursdays through Saturday, with some Sunday matinees. Directed by Terry Thomas, this delightfully funny play, written by Sidney Howard, revolves around a struggling artist, whose fame and fortune did not become apparent until his time on earth has come to an end. Ah yes, timing is everything. Did Bean leave behind a painting worth millions? Time will tell. I think this show will be a sell-out, so the time to get tickets is now.

All SLT show tickets are now exclusively available through brownpapertickets.com (search Surrey Little Theatre), or call 1-800-838-3006. You can always call or email the theatre for info about late cancellations and possible tickets available last-minute, at reservations@surreylittletheatre.com or 604-576-8451. Tickets are available at the door, but all advance reservations must be paid for in advance.

Did you make a New Year’s Resolution to be involved with community theatre? Thought about it? Put it on your timeline? Maybe you have been a longtime member of SLT and want to get back into the operations. Norma Reed, front-of-house manager for the theatre, is making a request for people to volunteer to help out in concession, box office (taking tickets for shows) and 50/50. Usually these positions are filled up before the show starts, but this time, the volunteers are either otherwise deployed and not available. Here is your moment in time. Email Norma at info@surreylittletheatre.com. What else are you doing with your time – or can’t you remember? Ouch.

(story continues below video, from 2018)

It is rumored that some simple cognitive exercises, like learning dance choreography or singing, is very helpful in improving your memory. Health benefits aside, singing is just a powerful universe. Just ask the more than 60 members of Westcoast Harmony Chorus, an all-female a cappella chorus singing primarily in the barbershop style.

Members of Sweet Adelines International, they were named the best mid-sized chorus in the world in 2013, and recently won first place at the Region 26 Chorus Competition and continue to compete against top choruses from around the world.

Weekly rehearsals are led by director Anne Downton. Every rehearsal is guaranteed to be fun, challenging and a high-level group vocal lesson. They are really serious, and you do have to commit to rehearsals and travel. New members of all ages, backgrounds and experience levels are welcome to audition (contact Nancy Stewart at membership@westcoastsings.com). Or, be a guest at a rehearsal to see if this type of singing is for you. Guests are invited to rehearsals each Wednesday from 7:15 to 10 p.m., at 9574 160th St., Surrey (Parkland Church). Contact membership@westcoastsings.com to let them know you’d like to be a guest.

• RELATED STORY, from 2018: Surrey chorus tunes up for Sweet Adelines International gathering in St. Louis.

Peace Arch Chorus is another member of Sweet Adelines International and has been singing for more than 40 years. Also medal-winners in competitions, this sisterhood of singers also welcomes new members. Drop in to a rehearsal (Wednesdays from 7 to 10 p.m. at Newton Cultural Centre, 13530 72nd Ave., Surrey). Contact membership co-ordinator Jude Goodwin (jude@goodwinstudios.com), and spend a little time in visiting the website as well.

Time in the universe, according the brilliant Stephen Hawking, is completely unbound, without beginning or end. We are not immortal, like time. We are bound and limited, with only a brief history allowed. Use your time well.

Melanie Minty writes twice monthly for the Now-Leader. Email: melminty@telus.net.

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