‘Ordinary voices making extraordinary music’

A new choral group has started making beautiful music on the South Shore and they're looking for more people to join in the fun.

Judith Comeau, a long-time choral director, started Seaside A Cappella over the summer. The all-women group encompasses all ages who come together to sing songs without accompaniment. The group does a variety of music including plenty of contemporary works.

"What we're bringing to Bridgewater is very unique, the South Shore is full of music: country music. There's classical music. There is not an a cappella chorus or an a cappella show chorus, there is nothing like that here," said Comeau.

But it's not as difficult as it sounds, and no, it's not exactly like the film Pitch Perfect, in which an all-female a cappella group takes on their male counterparts.

"It's a show chorus, there are no music binders or anything. They learn how to perform. They learn stage presence. They learn body language, facial expression, energy right down to their fingertips."

Comeau says there's a certain appeal to the lack of accompaniment.

"The harmony is incredible," said Comeau.

Comeau has started and directed a cappella choirs across Canada and led many to become award winning groups. Every summer she comes to the South Shore to stay and this time decided she needed to start a group, partially because of her sister Yvonne Rafuse.

"I'm here all summer, I have a home here in Upper Lahave and I wanted to give it to my sister," said Comeau, regarding the choir.

Comeau does vocal workshops on the South Shore as well. However, she doesn't spend all of her time in the area and will be relying on a co-director to lead the group when she isn't present.

"He will be my protege," said Comeau regarding her co-director.

Learning is also a big part of the group, which is an aspect that drew Rafuse in.

"This is about learning and improving my vocals, not only my vocals but my performance because there's a lot of instruction that goes on," she said.

"It's an educational singing organization," added Comeau, saying you don't need to know musical theory to join.

"Every singer needs to learn how to produce the exact same sound and at the same time, they have to learn breathing techniques. They have to learn how to pronounce and produce vowel sounds. Everything has to do with the physical aspect."

So far there are 35 women in the group and Comeau is looking for more to join, particularly younger women. Comeau says the choir will compete in the future.

"I've never directed a chorus that wasn't a medalist chorus so I have reason to believe that we're going to head down that road too," she said.

However, it's all in good fun. Comeau says even at competitions, fellow competitors greet each other like family.

"We are ordinary voices making extraordinary music."

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