Valley Voices celebrate 40 years! 1979-2019
In the Harmony Incorporated world, you will often hear or read these words “Ordinary women doing extraordinary things” …I’m not sure how long it took for someone to realize that that is what this organization and in particular, the chapters are rooted in.. Ordinary women doing extraordinary things!
History tells us that The Dukes of Kent, were well establish in the area as a chapter of the men’s society of barbershop singers, but to date there was no opportunity for women to sing this amazing 4-part harmony. In the early 70’s Dianne Jackson learned that there were other ladies in the valley having the same conversation and they were looking into starting a chapter with an organization called Sweet Adelines but of course..the age old problem, they didn’t have a director!
Because Dianne was so keely interested in this style of singing and despite having no experience in directing, she stepped forward and as many of us do, she said, “There are no guarentees, but I’ll give it a try.” This was the big step the area needed -thank you Dianne for stepping out of your comfort zone and as you said, “giving it a try”!
Before long, these few women created a board of directors and had a membeship of just over 25 women. The Valley Tones starting rehearsing around 1972 and chartered with Sweet Adelines in 1973/74. Soon they were performing publically, and the roots of a cappella singing for women was established in the Annapolis Valley.
Over the next few years, membership would be an issue and the chorus soon found themselves with not enough members to keep their active status with Sweet Adelines. Dianne had learned that there was another organization that was very similar, one that also focused on women barbershoppers. She learned more about Harmony Incorporated and when the president of the Valley Tones came and asked for her advice she shared the information she knew about Harmony, Inc. One of the obvious benefits was the lower number of members required to charter. A few phone calls and coversations, and the ladies soon learned that there was already a chapter of Harmony, Inc. in Yarmouth and one in New Brunswick. Having other chapters in the Maritimes would definitely be to everyone’s benefit.
Thanks to ordinary women who knew what they wanted, did what needed to be done, always looking forward and tackling challenges with their eyes on the goal of the music, extraordinary things happened.! It was 40 years on November 17, 1979 that The Queens of Kings chartered with Harmony Incorporated.
Over the next 25 years there were many ups and downs with membership and the musical leadership but there was always a core of committed forward thinkers that would see the chorus through these challenges. Dick Keirstead was the original director when the chorus chartered and over the years, Jane Murphy, Trinda Ernst, Perry Jackson,Theresa Weatherbee, Judy Robichaud and Paul Grimm have all stepped forward to lead this chapter with the same conviction that was there in the beginning.
In 2001, the membership of Queens of Kings had dropped significantly to only 13 members…but, over the next year we would see our membership grow to 31 members!!! We quickly realized that our culture was changing.. we were not representing Kings county any more.. we were now representing the entire Annapolis Valley as our members came from Mount Unicack to Bridgetown! It was time for a name change to reflect our new identity. In April of 2002, Queens of King recharted with Harmony, Inc. as Valley Voices- a true reflection of the many amazing voices that have share the risers with us over the past number of years.
Today we stand here commited to bringing our music to our communities, to edcuating ourselves and supporting each other along the way. We come here with an open door, welcoming every woman that loves to sing to be part of something magical. It has been said by many others that “music brings us together but it is our love for each other that keeps us coming back”.