The Goward House Choir has been entertaining audiences for more than a decade.
“We go out into the community and we sing in assisted living, or hospitals, or seniors facilities of one kind or another, all over town,” said choir member Alison Campbell.
“We rehearse from January to the end of March, then do concerts weekly April, May, June. We take the summer off and we start the week after Labour Day. We rehearse till the end of October, and from November through December, we do concerts out in the community again.”
“For me, as a choir member, it’s a wonderful way to give back to the community that I live in,” Campbell added.
Jim Bigsby has led the choir and entertained the audiences with his charming stories about the songs for more than 10 years.
“I discovered the choir needed a director when my wife-to-be and I came here to book Goward House for our wedding. Every time I’m rehearsing with them in there, I have memories of my wedding feast,” says Bigsby.
Bette Geisreiter, who has sung with the choir for 18 years, says Bigsby is “a ray of sunshine”.
“He’s so open to what anybody has to suggest in the way of music. He wanted us to think [music] and bring music to him,” said Geisreiter.
“He’s a wonderful ‘chooser’ of music. He chooses the music, he arranges the music, and then he makes us work until we get it right. He has put every single concert together all the years that he’s been with the choir,” said Campbell.
And now, after 13 years leading the choir, Bigsby is retiring from this volunteer job.
“Basically, there’s only so much room left in one’s life at some point. I have my 75th birthday coming up in a couple of weeks,” said Bigsby.
“I’m going to miss him! Great guy, great stories, terrific work ethic,” said Geisreiter.
“I’ll miss his personality, I’ll miss his direction. He put in hours and hours of work,” said Campbell.
Bigsby admits it will be hard to leave the choir.
“They are a group, they are helping each other, they are helping me,” he said.
“When you see the smile when you get the applause, it’s very personal. Just a small group of people, affecting another small group of people.”