It’s never too late…
This musical journey of recording in a famous studio, with a creative producer and amazing musicians, is a dream-come-true. It is actually a dream I never really thought about for myself, but as it has unfolded, it has been an education, and oh, so much fun!!
I really never considered myself a singer until well into my 50s. I remember being in a church choir when I was very young, at the encouragement of my mother. She loved to sing and would sing out loud as part of the church congregation. She also enjoyed harmonizing, which embarrassed me and my brother at the time. In my teen years, I enjoyed singing hymns, and to me, that was the best part of going to church. I took piano lessons around 12 years of age, but lacked the discipline and motivation to do the necessary practicing. Of course, now I regret not knowing more about music theory or being able to play an instrument.
I have always loved music and dancing, but I was never driven to excel at either. Listening to my favourite songs has always been my happy place – since my teen years, and even now. I have always enjoyed singing along to the radio or records, but I felt too shy to ever think about performing in front of people.
When I met Reid in 1976, I was smitten with his singing and self-accompaniment on guitar. My brother, Phil, also enjoyed playing guitar and singing while we were still living with our parents, so I guess I gradually developed an affinity to guitar and acoustic music over the years. I was thrilled when Reid and Phil performed, informally, at our wedding on August 6, 1977. Reid and I are very fortunate to have an island cottage on Georgian Bay where we have enjoyed annual “hootenannys” with our island friends, since the 70s. These music nights are always the highlight of my summer. Whenever Reid performed in these informal settings, I would sing along, but I lacked the confidence to sing “out loud” and actually be heard.
Reid and I moved from Pickering to Uxbridge, Ontario, in March 1992, a time that was pivotal in broadening our music appreciation and involvement. Reid got involved in the local talent production called “uxperience” and subsequently branched out in various local singing groups. I absolutely loved all the music and camaraderie of these groups – but always from the sidelines, as a supporter and sometimes roadie.
I was aware of the Sweet Adeline chorus in Uxbridge since the early 90s but was not thinking about participating in any group at that time. I was more involved in the life of our son, Jason, who was still in school. I also continued with my long-time involvement with the Pickering Naturalists, in various capacities, actively encouraging nature appreciation in others. I worked on and produced the newsletter, the Pickering Naturalist, for 19 years. I also taught a Birding Course at Durham College in Uxbridge for five years, and continue to enjoy birding whenever and wherever I can.
By the summer of 1998, I was finally at a place in my life where I wanted to sing and be a part of a community group. Reid was a member of the Uxbridge Rotary, and at a social event, I chatted with someone who told me about Pineridge Chorus (the local chapter of Sweet Adelines International). She encouraged me to check it out when the group resumed in September. At the same time, I was considering a local community choir. The meeting night was the deciding factor since the community choir was meeting on the same night that I was teaching my birding course.
So, on a Monday night in September 1998, I went to an introductory night of Pineridge Chorus at the Uxbridge Music Hall, loved the a cappella singing and the camaraderie of the 30 or so women… and was hooked on singing and harmony. This is where I met Marilynn. We were both part of the “lead section” of the chorus. After a couple of years with Pineridge Chorus, I decided to join a larger, and more challenging chorus in Newmarket, called York Highlands Chorus. I am very thankful to have gained vocal experience and vocal production education from Sweet Adelines, and ultimately, the confidence required to sing and actually be heard.
When Reid and I first started travelling to Florida for the winter in 2005, I finally felt confident enough to sing duets with Reid. When I decided to leave Sweet Adelines in 2008, I joined Reid and Marilynn in their rehearsals, adding another dimension of vocal harmonies to their repertoire of cover songs. I was truly amazed at how easily some harmonies would just come to me. Reid does all the arranging for AfterGlow, now a trio, who specialize in 3-part harmony, highlighting our individual voices, yet coming together in a beautiful blend.
I just wish my mother, Iris, (died in 2006) could hear her daughter singing on AfterGlow: Reflections. She would love it and be so proud. Thanks to Reid and Marilynn for embracing and encouraging me to be part of this wonderful collaboration. Woo hoo!!! We did it!!