Chilliwack Harmony Chorus will be sharing the love in Agassiz this Valentine’s Day.
The barbershop-style musical ensemble has been singing in Chilliwack and Agassiz since the mid-1980s, first as an all-male barbershop ensemble, and now as a mixed-voice group that sings in both quartets and a chorus.
Although currently none of the members of the chorus are from Agassiz, the group is not a stranger to the community.
“We sing in Agassiz quite a few times over the year,” Dennis Rackliff said. Rackliff is president of the chorus and bass-singer in quartet Noteworthy, which will be performing at Cheam Village on Feb. 14.
Quartets from the chorus often perform at residential homes — they have been to Cheam Village and Logan Manor many times before — and have also performed during Agassiz’s Fall Fair and other events.
“Our focus is singing in the community,” Rackliff said. “We sing at all kinds of different functions, but I would say the majority of our sing-outs are in retirement homes or seniors’ homes.
“They enjoy it because the type of music we sing tends to be a little bit older,” he added. “Songs that they’re familiar with. There’s always a real positive reaction.”
On Valentine’s Day, seniors at Cheam Village will get a chance to hear love songs sung by Rackliff, his wife Nora and fellow quartet members Josie Savoie and Barry Birtch. These will include classic barbershop tunes “Let me call you sweetheart,” “Heart of my heart” and “I don’t know why I love you like I do,” as well as some unconventional favourites.
“Probably one of our favourite songs is ‘Can you feel the love tonight’” from The Lion King, Rackliff said. “It’s a pretty song to sing; it’s got really nice harmonies.”
Of course, the chorus is hoping more than just the seniors at Cheam Village will get a chance to enjoy some love songs this Valentine’s Day.
For more than 15 years, the Chilliwack Harmony Chorus has organized a Valentine’s Day serenade fundraiser to raise money for the chorus and blushes among the romantic. For $49, men and women can send a quartet from the chorus to serenade their loved one with a rose and a few tunes.
“Usually, for men it’s a little bit of embarrassment when you go into the man’s workplace and start singing love songs,” Rackliff said. “But overall it usually winds up being quite positive.”
“The girls are usually quite taken by the whole idea and pretty stoked their husband thought of something romantic to do,” he added, laughing a little. “It’s fun.”
Bookings can be made for the Chilliwack Harmony Chorus until Feb. 13 by calling chorus secretary Lloyd Johnston at 604-795-5682 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.