News Bytes – November 2016

The editor is back and cancer free

Ontario District Chair SCH and Chair Legacy Program Digger MacDougall has fully recovered from the cancers he experienced two years ago, and has reassumed several leadership positions from which he resigned over the last 2 years.  Digger reports that he is completely cancer free; and he has returned to the Ontario District DMT as District Chair Sing Canada Harmony.  Since resigning from the Chair and CEO position of Sing Canada Harmony, he has returned to the Sing Canada Harmony Board as Chair of the Legacy Program. Murray Phillips, Past President of Northeastern District, has been elected chair of Sing Canada Harmony.

Sing Canada Harmony Chapter Liaisons are the best communications conduit between Chapter Members and Sing Canada Harmony. For BHS chapters, they should be registered on the Society’s E’Biz, and liaisons for all men and women’s chapters should be registered at Sing Canada Harmony.


Do you know why Tuesday, November 29 is a special day ?

Most donors donate online or send their gifts to Sing Canada Harmony at a time that is convenient to them and their budgets.  However, toward the years end, we like to send a reminder to everyone about Tuesday, November 29, which is a special day across

North America. IT IS GIVING TUESDAY ! !  Giving Tuesday is recognized by charitable organizations everywhere.  Giving Tuesday always comes towards the end of the year so that individuals can make a charitable donation to a registered charity in time to receive an income tax receipt for their gift.

Giving Tuesday is an ideal time to set up or renew scheduled (or one time) giving online.  It is easy to do.  Simply go to and follow the instructions that lead you through single one-time donations or scheduled donations.  When donations are made online, receipts for income tax purposes can be printed out during the donation process.  One-time donations of any dollar amount of $20 or more will generate an income tax receipt.  Scheduled giving of $10 a month or more will also generate immediate income tax receipts or according to the donor’s choice, a single year-end receipt.

Sing Canada Harmony thanks and acknowledges all donors for their gifts.  In addition, scheduled giving up $10 per month or more, or one-time donations of $120 or more qualifying individuals for recognition as Ambassadors of Song.  Gifts of $85 per month or more, or one-time donations of $1000 or more qualifying individuals and their spouses/partners for recognition and benefits as members of President’s Council.


What you can do for local school and community choirs

Men and women barbershop singers’ organizations are reaching out to youth around the world.  Now is the time to approach school or community choirs and praise them for what they do for the development of youth and children across Canada.  Every barbershop chorus should be linked hand-in-hand with local choirs and every barbershop chorus should be helping them, with the financial assistance of Sing Canada Harmony, to achieve their singing goals in their community.  Tell your local music educators and choir conductors about sing Canada harmony and how Barbershoppers in Canada support vocal music.  To ensure someone will sing tomorrow.



“Share-the-Stage Scholarship” – How it works.

Most singing organizations in our country have needs for a variety of singing supplies, such as sheet music, or coaching, while they are experiencing a shortage and funds or support from communities and schools.  You can help them with a “share-the-stage” scholarship, which can be made available from Sing Canada Harmony.  Whenever a children’s or youth choir shares the stage with a men’s or woman’s barbershop chorus, that choir is eligible for a scholarship of at least $100.  Your chapter or chorus youth outreach officer simply has to complete the application for group scholarship available at ; get it recommended by your Sing Canada Harmony Chapter Liaison and follow instructions for submitting the application online.  Once processed and selected a cheque will be mailed to the chapter for presentation to the singing group with which the chapter has shared the stage.  To enhance public relations with the singing group, the cheque can be presented at a performance or rehearsal of one or both groups.  What could be simpler?  The community, the school, the chapter, the choir, and every individual benefits from this win-win situation.


The Graytones-Making History in Song-Toronto

Every year, Avery Saltzman, a truly amazing individual, takes on the roll of producer for the Harold Green Jewish Theatre, with an evening of song, a fund raiser, based on the music of Harold Arlen, Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, and this year Leonard Bernstein.

The event is held in the George Weston Recital Hall, Toronto Centre of the Performing Arts.  As chance would have it, Mr. Saltzman met an old friend, Gord McLaren, a retired professional actor and singer, and Lead of the Graytones quartet, and the subject of the Bernstein show came up.  Gord, never one to pass up an opportunity, mentioned that that he was actively singing in a group, and would love to be part of the show.  Avery accepted Gord’s offer, and sight unseen, advised that they would be singing ‘Maria’ and ‘Somewhere’ from “West Side Story”, as part of the show to be held a short four months away.

It was almost panic-time as the Graytones searched for the music-finally located the songs, and started the learning process.  The day of the event, they showed for mic testing at noon, and in as long as it took to sing the two numbers, a star-struck producer, amazed that we didn’t need accompaniment, consulted with a speechless sound and lighting crew that this was a first, with a Gershwin song, and they were excited.

It was different, and it was a GO!

The rest is history.  The actors, singers and dancers, were similarly awe-struck, since they had never heard barbershop done, least of all in a Gershwin production.

The show was a sell-out, a smash hit!  And although the Graytones were only a small part of the show it was a Thrill! for the Graytones” Gord McLaren, Bruce Pellowe, Earl Kettle and Rod Shepherd, for the accolades that came their way.  All are active members of the Oakville Chapter-the Entertainers


Ten names added to Nashville Keep a Melody Ringing Plaque

…including Bud Robar tribute by South Shore Saints

This month, 10 names will be added to the KAMR plaque:

  • Brian Mitchell, Belleville, Ontario
  • Ray Gilbert, Calgary, Alberta
  • Ken Burnside, Kingston, Ontario.
  • John Houseman, Ottawa, Ontario
  • Dyson Pinhey, Ottawa, Ontario
  • Randy Peters, Calgary, Alberta
  • Ron Crapper, Winnipeg, Manitoba.
  • Arnie Charles, Winnipeg, Manitoba.
  • Bud Robar, Saint Lambert, Québec
  • Lloyd Mater, Sarnia Ontario

Click here to see other names on the KAMR plaque.

The tribute received from the Sing Canada harmony chapter liaison, Albert Clark, of the South Shore Saints, Saint Lambert chapter, epitomizes the love and respect that is held out for every man and woman who is memorialized on the Keep a Melody Ringing plaque in Nashville.  Here is what Albert and the South Shore Saints had to say as they remembered Bud Robar:

Bud was our good friend, and a longtime member of the chapter. He passed away last year. Bud Robar was an enthusiastic mentor to new members. His singing skill and general good humour contributed to the betterment and enjoyment of our practices, sing-outs, and contests. Bud was always willing to lend a hand at our fund raisers. And he was often the first to arrive for practice, setting up tables and making coffee before the rest of us got there. We all miss Bud a great deal. And we’d like him to have his name on the plaque in order to help honour his memory.

This heartfelt message was repeated to Bud’s family in a letter describing the KAMR plaque, along with a photograph of the plate on which Bud’s name appears, a photograph of the plaque in situ in Harmony Hall, and a list of the accomplishments of Sing Canada Harmony that has been possible through Memorial and other gifts.

Sing Canada Harmony is grateful to these men and women Barbershoppers, their families, friends and fans for their support.  We express our condolences to all chapters for their losses and wish them health, peace and comfort as they mourn the loss of or riser mate and friend.


Special thanks to the Estate of Arnie Charles

arnie-charlesThe Sing Canada Harmony Legacy Program honours the late Arnie Charles of the Winnipeg Golden Chordsmen, and thanks the members of his family for his wonderful gift to ensure that someone will sing tomorrow in the schools and communities of Canada.  Arnie was a special Barbershopper who believed in Sing Canada Harmony and the power of song.  Arnie’s name has been immortalized on the Keep a Melody Ringing plaque in Nashville.


Scholarships for Leadership Academy and Harmony University.

Administrative and music leadership are the foundations of singing organizations, both within and outside the barbershop harmony community.  Sing Canada Harmony is proud to support men and women who seek to be trained in leadership at Harmony University and at leadership academies.  As you make your plans to submit applications for support please remember that music educators, music teachers and choir conductors in your community can also benefit from the training programs of BHS, HI and SAI.  Applications may be submitted by individuals and/or organizations.  However, it is important to remember that awards are not made in arrears and that applications must be submitted before deadlines (Mar 1; Jun 1; Sep 1; Dec 1)

Need financial support for purchasing sheet music or obtaining chorus or quartet coaching? Talk to your Chorus/Chapter liaison.

This is a great time of year to consider the benefit from income tax for the 2016 tax year and plan your charitable giving or 2017. Sing Canada Harmony is a great nationwide charity that speaks for you in so many ways. Sing Canada Harmony can help. Let us know how.


We celebrate the generosity of our donors with thanks and acknowledgments.

Paul Sheppard of Kingston Townsmen writes:

“This is a note to tell you that in recent messages from yourself to the District, I see you have recovered from your cancer of the last few years.  As a cancer survivor myself, with (please the Lord) a few more years left me yet, I congratulate you and wish you a similar continuation of the enjoyment of your life and its constructive activities.

Although not active at present, I am still a member of the BHS (the Townsmen) and a believer in Barbershop  –  and as a former teacher, in Sing Canada Harmony.  As urged in your e-mails, I will make my donation on line this morning.

Best wishes to you and yours, for Christmas and onward into 2017.”

Thank you Paul for your kind words, your generosity and your assistance to us in making Canada a better through singing.  You, and all the donors like you, across Canada who know the power of song, are special people who we celebrate with our gratitude and acknowledgment.  Thank you.

Make sure your chapter is connected to community and school programs and is supporting BHS. HI and SAI initiatives in youth outreach.


Creativity Is The Key – (Creativity is a value of the Barbershop Harmony Society)

From “Down Our Way”: Reprinted with permission of Editor Jack Martin Lake Lanier Georgia Chapter

I like to think of myself as a creative person. My wife tells me all the time that I am an eternal optimist, and I suppose I am. I truly believe that I can do anything that I want to do, as long as I am willing to work at reaching the goal. Creativity is critical to solving problems in all parts of our lives. That includes work, grand parenting, arranging our medicine cabinets, even learning new songs that the chorus decides to work on.

The greatest creators and thinkers throughout time are many and varied but I believe we all are creative, just in different ways. We have to always be learning. We need to see every day as an opportunity to learn something new, whether it be learning about a different culture, a new artistic technique or simply a new fact. To be creative, you must be eager to let your mind learn. People who are creative view failure for what it truly is, it’s an opportunity to learn and grow. When you’re doing creative work failure is part of the game, but it doesn’t need to break you.

You should always be ready to dust yourselves off and try again, seeing every failure you have as just one step closer to success.

Are you a daydreamer? Creative minds indulge in daydreams because they understand the power of the mind when it wanders. When the mind is not actively working on solving problems or completing a set task it is free to imagine, create and dream big. Curiosity encourages you to learn, investigate and seek out new ideas that spark the minds and help you do your very best work.

Steve Jobs once said creativity is all about connecting the dots, and he’s right. It’s about connecting seemingly disparate ideas and doing something new with them. Creative minds know this well and use it to their advantage by bringing together different inspirations to create something truly amazing.

“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how

they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it,

they just saw something.” – Steve Jobs

You shouldn’t be afraid to dream big and don’t limit yourself to the bounds of what you know or what’s been done before. Ask the big questions and get to the heart of the issue at play. Not every opportunity is the right one and there is never time to do absolutely everything.

Perhaps most importantly of all, people who are creative follow their true passions. They understand the power of doing something they believe in wholeheartedly and are not afraid to chase after their true dreams. Even when the going gets tough they stick to what they believe in and love, because it is what drives them.

It’s Never Too Late To Start Over. If You Weren’t Happy with Yesterday,

Try Something Different Today


Western Hospitality Singers Report on “Reaching out to Music Educators”

Sing Canada Harmony believes that sharing the stage with other singers, and reaching out to music educators, in the home communities and the regional or provincial contest venues is an important part of being the Barbershopper.  Ever since it became a registered charity, Sing Canada Harmony has benefited from the generosity of Calgary’s Western Hospitality Singers.  As reported by Doug Gardner, here is what they have done recently in their role as the Calgary Foothills Chapter of Evergreen District the Barbershop Harmony Society:

Western Hospitality Singers is a Sponsor at “Music Conference Alberta”

The annual ‘Music Conference Alberta’ was held in Banff, Alberta on October 20-23, 2016.  This is an annual conference hosted by a number of organizations that are focussed on music education and development for youth in Alberta and is coordinated by Choir Alberta.  This year was the largest conference held to date with over 340 registrants, mostly music educators in schools and colleges in Alberta.

Western Hospitality Singers, the Calgary Foothills Chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society, was a ‘Half-Note Sponsor’ at the event and a premier exhibitor in the Conference Marketplace.  Our sponsorship assisted with funding for the conference proceedings as well as a Jazz Concert and a Gala Concert.

Our objective at the conference was to promote understanding of barbershop singing as an excellent form of a cappella music, and to promote music educators to consider including a barbershop component to their annual music repertoire planning for this school year.  To promote this objective, we offered a ‘Barbershop Challenge’:  include one barbershop song in your school year repertoire for the 2016-17 school year, learn and perform it and send us a video and we will contribute $200 to your school choral program!  Our goal was to have 10 educators and choral leaders to accept this challenge!  Our expectations were more than met, with 27 educators completing an ‘expression of interest’ and agreeing to discuss music selection and logistics.  We are in the process of contacting these educators to open a dialogue about going to the next step with a full commitment from them.   While we know that not all of those who expressed interest will proceed further, but are confident that our goal of 10 committed choirs will be met or exceeded.

At our exhibit booth on Friday, we had a full quartet that performed songs for the conference attendees and also taught and sang tags with attendees that stopped at our booth.  We were a bit hit, and also sang in the Bistro next to the exhibit hall.  The attached photo shows our exhibit booth being manned by Emery Cherot (Lead) and Bob Robson (Bari/Tenor).

We are already planning for the Conference next year, and are pleased with the relationships that we have developed, as a sponsor and participant for our second year in a row.  Onward and upward in support of barbershop singing!


Canadian Community Festivals and “Choralpalooza” in Kingston Ontario

Organized and produced by local music educator and leader, Andy Rush, Choralpalooza was a success in its second great year.  While presentations and performances were made throughout the Isabel Bader Theatre, the Kingston Townsmen Barbershop Chorus, shared barbershop harmony with other choral groups and large audiences from the main stage of the venue.

Barbershop Harmony Choruses have been seeing increasing invitations to share the performance stage.  In communities across Canada.  Local producers and organizers of music festivals and showcases of the arts are now seeking out men’s and women’s barbershop choruses and quartets to ensure a variety of music genres and entertainment.

Most recently, Choral Canada, the advocacy group that represents 42,000 singers across Canada, has reached out Sing Canada Harmony as a means of inviting Canadian Barbershop chapters and choruses to participate in, and support, provincial choral associations and the events they sponsor.  Dave Pearce, Sing Canada Harmony Board Member, Harmony-2-Go youth chorus manager and member of Regina’s Living Skies Chorus, has been working with the Saskatchewan Choral Federation to ensure that barbershop harmony youth are not left out of the planning.

It is anticipated that there will be growth in the relationships between the provincial choral federations as more choruses learn about their respective provincial choral federation and as choral federations learn more about the community involvement and support of youth and children’s choirs through Sing Canada Harmony.