Between schedules and pandemic restrictions, the foursome found no window of opportunity to connect and mesh their sound. Fast-forward to winter of 2023, a new bass stepped in when the original opted out, and they finally found time to rehearse as a full quartet. Continuing the original goal of singing toward growth and with a focus on tunes made popular “on air” (aka, radio), On Air is looking forward to making music together and sharing their songs at performances and gatherings.
In addition to singing lead in her first ever quartet, Jill is the ScotianAires Performance Chair and is a Performance Judge. Heather has been an HI member since 2019 and also sings baritone in Lady Lyrix quartet. Leanne is a retired music teacher, the ScotianAires Assistant Director and Music Chair, and has been an HI member since 2016. Sue is the Director of ScotianAires, a Singing Judge, piano and voice teacher, member of many past quartets, and current baritone with enJOY! quartet.
Director Rosemary Donkin and President Margie McClelland present Diane Miller with a certificate recognizing her 25 years of membership in Harmony, Inc.
Timble MacDonald, Jane Brookins, and Helen Reade highlight the chorus at the Town of Oxford "Meet Your Neighbour" night, a community event aimed at helping new residents form connections.
|Chorus member Elaine Blanchard has had an article about her journey with the ScotianAires published in an e-magazine for the insurance company Intact. The story was published just before Christmas and goes out to over 15 000 Intact employees across Canada! In the article, Elaine talks about she came to join the ScotianAires and how being part of this chorus community has helped her cope during the socially isolated days of the pandemic. We have attached the article for your enjoyment!|
|The ScotianAires are returning to in-person singing on October 20th...but in a new format. A task force of six members representing the directing team, the board executive, and the membership worked to create a plan to return to in-person singing in a safe manner that follows all Nova Scotia Public Health requirements and guidance from relevant organizations such as Harmony Inc. and the Nova Scotia Choral Federation.|
Since the number of in-person participants is limited, the chorus will continue to concurrently host virtual rehearsals for members for as long as required, until such time as members can return to in-person singing as a full chorus. Participation in any in-person singing rehearsals/events will be completely voluntary for members and the health and safety of members is the first priority.
Singers participating in person will, among other things, be screened for symptoms at the door of the rehearsal hall, will have to wear a mask at all times, and will be appropriately distanced from other members present.
Like many other chorus and choir members across the globe, the membership is hopeful that making music together without restriction will be in the not too distant future. The official planning document states "A phased return to in-person singing, in line with evolving public health guidance, will support the continued learning, nourishment, and sisterhood of the chorus."
Attached is the complete text of the ScotianAires in-person singing plan as well as frequently asked answers and questions,
|As 2019 rounded the corner into 2020, you might have found Fatima Whelan singing in the front row of the ScotianAires chorus in Halifax, NS where, as a lead and then a tenor, she had been a member for about 13 years. A little farther back in time, you may even have enjoyed her performing with one of her quartets, initially as a tenor and most recently, as the lead in Arpeggio. |
Fatima had always loved singing and performing, but as a member of Harmony, Inc. (HI), she experienced the positive impact of feedback from the best in the craft during the frequent coaching opportunities provided by many of HI’s judges. During an impactful session with the late Larry Clemons, she realized how rewarding it would be to be able to give to others the same sense of possibility and accomplishment. With a little encouragement from one of her mentors, Fatima signed up to test drive her judging skills through the “Best Seat in the House” program at the 2015 Area 1 (Atlantic) Contest and her journey to qualifying as a Harmony, Inc. Performance Judge began!
The path to Performance Judge meant Fatima was able to work with and learn from some of the best judges, coaches and educators from HI and the Barbershop Harmony Society. Every year Fatima attended HI’s Category School working and learning with her fellow judge candidates and judge mentors including the current Performance Category Mentor, Joe Hunter. And fortunately, leading the way as Performance Category Director for the majority of Fatima’s training was the engaging and energetic Theresa Weatherbee. Theresa had no doubts right from the beginning that Fatima was in the right place. Theresa explains: "I remember serving on the Area 1 panel back in 2015 in St John's Newfoundland, when we offered the "Best Seat in the House" program. Fatima filled the chair that weekend and it was exciting to see how well she did. She was a natural when it came to scoring, and her comments were spot on. You can imagine how thrilled we were to hear after that experience she had decided to enter the judging program. I was fortunate to have been the Category Director through her training and proud to have certified her this past January. Fatima, we are so happy to have you in the program, Congratulations!”
Not surprisingly, Fatima also made some lifetime friends. Stacy Hugman was also a Performance Judge Candidate working alongside Fatima. “Fatima and I have been rooming together for the past three years at Category School”, recalls Stacy. “We were fatefully put together in a room the first year, and haven’t looked back since. We instantly became friends and confidants. She is kind, thoughtful, considerate, insightful and most of all supportive! She will be a wonderful judge and the ScotianAires must be so proud to have another judge in their ranks! It truly has been a pleasure navigating the performance program with Fatima. Harmony, Inc. is lucky to have her and I am blessed that I met her. I can say with confidence, she is one of my best friends.”
Three years of preparation produced many great memories and a particular highlight for Fatima was attending Harmony University in 2018 where she took part in the coaching apprentice track. Fatima had the opportunity to learn from acknowledged leaders in the field and the classes left a powerful impression (not to mention the social time over ice cream!). But the most memorable moment for Fatima came at the beginning of 2020 when she received her certification. “All the love and support you receive from your peers and fellow harmony friends, it’s pretty special” explains Fatima. “I love how the category has been evolving and that we are always learning from each other as judges.”
It’s a difficult time at this moment in history for music makers. Fatima reflects on what music and Harmony, Inc. have meant to her and what it means now: “Music has been an incredible gift in my life. I think discovering Harmony, Inc. was like a full circle moment. I never imagined I would come to love and respect such an incredible organization where I have met some wonderful friends who love and support one another and where we are encouraged to grow, flourish, and embrace and honour who we are. ‘Harmony Strong’ is really apparent right now. Though there are no contests that I can judge, with our love of singing we are finding creative ways to keep connected and to continue to learn.”
Despite the need to physically distance, Fatima is realizing her dream of serving the barbershop community through education and sharing the love of the craft. She has been working with ensembles in online rehearsals and recently offered a class about overcoming performance anxiety as part of the HI’s virtual education initiative (HIVE). Fatima is remaining positive: “I look forward to the day when we can see each other and ring chords together. Certifying as a Performance Judge was a chapter, the journey continues and I am so excited for that!” We are excited too, Fatima. Congratulations!
|Once you are part of the ScotianAires family you are family forever! Joanne Stewart was a beloved member of the ScotianAires for many years, lending her singing talents to the Hummm Bugs Quartet as well as the chorus, and contributing her creative mindset to many projects including the sourcing and creation of our current contest outfits.|
In November of 2017, Joanne was diagnosed with ALS. It has been a difficult and challenging journey for Joanne who has spoken of the distress of trying to figure out how she would break the news to her sisters in Harmony, but also of the love and support she has received in turn. As Joanne explains, “The chorus members were not just singing partners, they are family. Since November 2017, life has changed dramatically. I got married, sold my house, travelled across Canada and so much more. I have lost my voice and I’m unable to swallow. My ScotianAires family keeps in touch and reaches out often. When I’m introduced to people by my new husband, he often pops up pictures of me on stage as a member of the ScotianAires or me dressed as Ursula the Octopus on fun night. He is proud of my being part of the ScotianAires family, and how they help boost my spirits.”
Each year the ALS society of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia holds a walk, ALS Walk Strong, to raise funds for their equipment lending library. In 2019 the ScotianAires performed at the kickoff event at the Bedford waterfront and were happy to have Joanne join them on their outdoor stage. This year’s walk was planned for June 21st but like many other events, the walk had to go virtual. But celebrating Joanne and raising funds for the ALS cause called for more than just a “virtual” response. And so the idea of a “drive by” celebration and fundraiser was born…the brainchild of Joanne’s close ScotianAire friends Debbie Bradley and Linda McMaster. The call went out to the ScotianAires and to other family and friends of Joanne, and on June 14th , over 30 cars met in the early afternoon and paraded past Joanne’s home, led by an RCMP escort! Vehicles were decked out in purple, the official colour of the ALS society, and some were festooned with dragonflies which the society has chosen as its symbol as a reminder to reconnect with our strength, courage and happiness.
Joanne sat out on her front lawn and enjoyed the show surrounded by many members of her family including husband Wayne, son Matthew, Mom Flos, sister Penny, grandson Ben and step-grandson AJ. Friends and relations dropped off flowers and offered words and signs of love and encouragement. Altogether with the donations from the drive by, the ScotianAires and Joanne’s online donation page, over $4500.00 was raised for ALS NB/NS!
Joanne could feel the love – nothing virtual about it! “Witnessing my ScotianAire sisters do the drive showed my family what I’m always telling them” she explained. “Because I’m part of the ScotianAire family, despite my illness, I never feel alone.” Joanne is certainly a special alumna of the ScotianAires chorus….one of the homemade signs summed it up this way: “Joanne, you are the best daughter, mother, grandmother, sister, wife, ScotianAire.” The ScotianAires are so honoured and inspired to have Joanne in our lives!