Sing Your Joy Young Adult Chorus — a community for young people


One of the more distressing findings in the Victoria Foundation’s Vital Signs Report is that less than 40 per cent of youth on Southern Vancouver Island feel connected to their community.

That’s why Sing Your Joy, a choir just for those age 16 to 29, is so important.

Christine Chepyha and Gordon Miller co-founded the choir.

“Seven and a half years ago we had an idea where we wanted to create a safe space for this age group to come together and do something they enjoy doing, and by doing it, to create a community.” said Chepyha.

“Christine and I were both employed by the United Church as church musicians, and there was a real dearth of activity for young adults,” said Miller.

“We didn’t want to put together a ‘church choir.’ That wasn’t our focus.” Miller added. “Our focus was ‘what do the young adults need? What are they looking for?’ And they’re looking for community. They’re looking for an opportunity to participate with each other and grow their relationships, and get outside of their ‘just being alone’.”

There were 20 singers in the choir in that first year. Now there is between 50 and 60.

“We really are kinda like a support group, you know?” said Sing Your Joy member Liam Cline says.  “There’s a lot of people going through a lot of stuff, like mental health things and whatnot, and it’s a safe place to come forward, and we do community events. It’s almost like the singing is superfluous to the community body.”

Singer Richard Rick felt that “it’s been an immensely positive experience for me. Kinda got me out of the partying scene, and just been a really great experience in my life.”

“We come out of our comfort zone” said singer Frankie Pryor. “And meet other people, not just our friends. We’ll sit and chat with other choir members ? have dinner, and play some icebreaker games.”

Miller explained how much this choir means to these young people.

“There are people in this choir who have never had anybody say to them ‘good job!’.” he said.

“To have them stand up on stage in front of 400 people, and have the 400 people, in one accord, give them a standing ovation, they’re feeling that ovation personally. It’s the first time in their lives anybody has said to them ‘good job.’ And that’s got to have some impact.”

Sing Your Joy performs Friday March 23 at 7 p.m. at the Dave Dunnet Theatre in Oak Bay.

Veronica CooperVeronica Cooper

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