The chorus has delighted audiences both young and old for the past decade and will host its 10th anniversary show at Moncton Wesleyan Celebration Centre tomorrow night.
And while the anniversary itself is a cause for celebration, the repertoire for the evening is made up almost entirely of audience requests.
“We performed a show last year and offered a survey to all those in attendance to select the songs that they enjoyed the most,” chorus director Peter Butler says. “Included in the survey were all of the songs we had done since we first started singing. Of the 976 tickets sold to our previous show, we received more than 600 responses to the survey. We have added a couple of new songs to our show this year, but the remainder of the show’s material is the Top 20 song requests as selected by audience members.”
Included in the chorus’ Top 20 are classic songs such as “Hello Dolly”, “Standing On The Corner” and “You Raise Me Up,” a song that approximately 76 per cent of survey respondents had selected, Peter says.
Reflecting on the group’s first decade, Peter adds that the support shown to the group by the citizens of Moncton has been remarkable. As the result of that success, and with little in the way of monetary overhead holding the chorus back, the MetroTones have been able to raise more than $45,000 for 31 local charities over the past decade.
“Raising a total of $50,000 in charitable donations was our 10-year goal, so we are hoping to be able to meet that goal with our show at Moncton Wesleyan,” he says. “I think we will be able to do that but, of course, we need a good turnout for the show to guarantee it.”
The MetroTones show tomorrow will continue the group’s benevolent legacy with donations being made for the benefit of Moncton Headstart as well as the New Brunswick Coalition for Seniors and Nursing Home Residents’ Rights. The show will also award two Moncton-area high school graduates scholarships to help defray the costs associated with continuing education in music.
In addition to the monetary rewards the group has been able to donate to Metro charities, Peter says that the chorus has raised the equivalent of seven tons of food for Moncton-area food banks over the past decade. He says they are hoping to bring that tally up to eight tons with tomorrow night’s show, where attendees are asked to bring non-perishable food for donation.
Butler says that the MetroTones Chorus is comprised of 78 registered members, ranging in ages from 30 all the way up to 80. Though he admits that the chorus is mostly made up of “older folks,” he encourages anybody interested in singing, no matter what their age to give them a try. The chorus rehearses once a week on Monday evenings from September to May at Riverview High School.
“We usually perform songs from the 1920s through the 1960s,” he says. “A lot of the people singing with us enjoy the days of big band music so that makes up a lot of our repertoire but we do incorporate some non-big band material as well.
“We feel as though no one else is doing the same type of thing that we do. To the best of my knowledge, the closest city that has a group doing something similar to what we do is located in Ottawa. Ultimately, everyone involved with the MetroTones does it for the love of singing.”
If you’re interested in becoming a part of the Metrotones chorus, Peter recommends visiting their website located at www.metrotones.org where interested people can see videos of past performances and get an idea of what exactly the group does.
Article published in June 3, 2011 edition of the Times & Transcript