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Abegweit Chimes Perform in Charlottetown and Summerside

by Jaclyn Killins

Abegweit Chimes '08

Before I sat in at an Abegweit Chimes practice I thought a barbershop chorus was made up of robust men in suits and saddle shoes. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Thriving on Prince Edward Island is an award-winning a capella chorus made up of 36 vibrant and talented women of all ages.

The Abegweit Chimes sing four-part harmonies a capella in the barbershop style. Their sound is full and complex and has been sending shivers down spines for 26 years.

The Chimes will perform a show entitled “Decades of Song” on November 8 at 7:30 pm at the Confederation Centre of the Arts Mainstage Theatre in Charlottetown, and November 9 at 2:00 pm at the Harbourfront Theatre in Summerside. Tickets are $17 for general admission and are available from the box office or from Chime members.

Money raised from performances and fundraisers goes toward travel and education. In the past coaches from Texas, Chicago and Halifax have been brought in to help the group hone their skills.

Songs ranging from the 1920s to the 1990s will be performed in a variety show format. Expect to be mesmerized by the layers of sound, captivated by the chorography and dazzled by the costumes. “It’s an energetic chorus, visually pleasing as well as musically pleasing. Something happens at all times. This is really a performing art,” said Myrt McCardle director of the Abegweit Chimes. Along with the chorus, two quartettes from the Chimes will perform as well as soloist Mary Capper.

Wayne Collins, former CBC personality, and honorary member of the chimes will be master of ceremonies and Island favorites, The MacRae Brothers, will perform two sets of their Celtic Yarns.

The Chimes are members of Harmony, Inc., an international women’s singing organization dedicated to education and camaraderie through democratic principles. As members of the organization the Chimes compete annually in regional competitions and in 2006 and 2007 they won. This year they placed second.

Mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, nieces and grandmothers come together in the group over the common love for singing. For many of the women involved the group is a labour of love, a challenging activity they approach with enthusiasm. It is a sisterhood of sorts, with the members sharing laughter and adventures on their annual trips to competitions. During times of sorrow, the group rallies around in support, singing at funerals and providing a collective shoulder to cry on.

For information check out their website at www.abegweitchimes.ca or contact Mary at 902-436-8603.

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