Rough Voice Singers would love to help you start a singing group in your own community


If you love to sing, but you’re not sure about auditioning for and committing to a choir, you might want to start a Rough Voice singing group in your community!

Co-founder Barb Sawatsky says the group “started as Rough Voice Choir, but a ‘choir’ is an organized event, and we are very loose!”

And that’s the key to the Rough Voice philosophy. There are no auditions, and everyone is welcome. It’s just $2 to cover refreshments, with proceeds donated back to the Community House.

All that’s required is a desire to sing, and socialize.

“I have met so many people through this, and at the break, the noise level just goes crazy as everybody’s chatting with neighbours, and it’s just a huge connection,” Sharie Epp, who founded the organization along with Sawatsky, said.

Rough Voice began in the Metchosin Community House four years ago, when Sawatsky pitched her idea to her friend Laura Farquharson.

Farquarson laughed when her name came up, and refused to take any credit.  “This lady got it all going!” says Farquarson, pointing to Sawatsky. “All I did was encourage her, and I’ve often wondered what else I can encourage her to do because she’s very obedient!”

Rough Voice meets twice a month. The various musicians that lead the sing-a-long provide their set list. and the words are projected onto a large computer screen.

Lois Wiens is the pianist for the sing-a-long evening.  “It’s just the best. It is so amazing! When I hear everybody singing, there’s just nothing like it!  Everybody’s just smiling, and loving it, clapping like crazy, and wanting more!”

Rough Voice is a community concept that’s spreading.

“Most of it seems to be word of mouth” says Sawatsky.  “We started out with 20 people, and last week we had 63 people, so word is getting out!”

Epp adds that the group has had inquiries “from Chetwynd, Prince George, Hornby Island, and one that’s actually come to fruition is the East Sooke Rough Voice Singers.”

Click here if you’d like to start a Rough Voice singing group in your community.

Veronica CooperVeronica Cooper

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