Marathon Music Makers

The old saying that “time passes quickly when you’re having fun” applies most aptly to some of our long serving choir members. 


Last summer the choir held a social gathering to honour the many contributions made by Helen Bowes in her over 40 years in the Senior Choir.  Helen joined the choir at about the same time she learned to drive, which allowed her to get in to town from the farm for Thursday evening practices.  Helen sang in the alto section, made sure that there were refreshments for break time half way through choir practice, and always made sure a card was sent to choir members, whether it was for condolence, get better soon, birthday wishes or congratulations.  We were sad when Helen let us know last fall that she felt it was time to hang up her choir gown for good, but it’s great to see her out in the congregation with her family giving us a supportive smile.


Scott Somerville was in the Junior Choir as a boy, and then joined the tenor section of the Senior Choir in the fall of 1979 when Brad became organist at St. Paul’s.  His lyrical tenor voice and knowledge of the many anthems the choir has learned over the years has helped to lead and support the other members of the section.  His three children, Rowan, Claire and Mari all sang in Junior and Youth choirs.  He’s always been an active supporter and recruiter for the choir, introducing many new members to our musical and church family.


Bob Sneyd joined the choir in 1976, shortly after he and his young family arrived in Perth from Toronto.  Bob had sung in the Junior and Senior choirs at Calvary Baptist Church where his father was the minister for 43 years (longevity at a church runs in Bob’s family!).  His three children Julie, Allison and Matthew all sang in the youth choirs. Bob has been not only a strong musical leader in the bass section, but an involved and dedicated member of many church committees and teams over the years.  His easy smile and humorous quips directed at the Tenor section have added a fun flavor to our music-making.


Barb Guthrie joined the choir in ­­­­­1973 when she and her family first moved to Perth. Her sons Dan and  Derek both sang in Junior Choir. She has been a mainstay of the alto section ever since, has served on Music Team and other church committees, directed our sanctuary musicals, and more recently has been managing the St. Paul’s website – the world’s window on our church.  Barb’s kind and gentle manner have always made the choir an inviting place to be.


Congratulations to Simon Linforth who recently celebrated twenty-five years in the choir.  Brad remembers meeting Simon, Ruby and their young family at coffee hour on one of their first Sundays at St. Paul’s and commenting to Simon that he had a wonderfully resonant speaking voice, and surely he must be a good singer!  Simon did indeed discover that he had a good voice and has been one of the mainstays of the tenor section ever since. All three of their children sang in the Junior and Youth choirs, and their daughter Erin went on to study music at university and now leads a Junior Choir at her church in Ottawa.


Joel LeBlanc - joined the choir in the early 1980’s after he was “discovered” by Brad at the old Tinkers restaurant.  He and Brad started up a conversation over a beverage, which inevitably moved to the topic of music, Joel’s singing and church background and an invitation to come out to choir. His three daughters all sang in Junior Choir when they were growing up.  In addition to his wonderful bass baritone voice, Joel has shared his guitar skills and knowledge and skills in microphones, recording and sound with the congregation. 


Kathy Cooke – first joined the St. Paul’s Folk choir around the time we presented “African Sanctus” in 1994, and then “graduated” to the Senior Choir shortly thereafter.  Both her children, Aaron and Kayla sang in the Junior Choir.   She has been a leader in our second soprano section and describes her fellow choristers as “wonderful” people who are a lot of “fun”.


Terri Henderson – joined the choir in the first soprano section in 1983 when she was in the Perth Community Choir production of Li’l Abner.  Brad was Music Director for the show and invited Terri to continue on with her singing in the choir.  Her daughter Devri, who was born at about the same time, went on to sing with the Junior Choir, along with Devri’s younger sister Hanna.


Vera Campbell – came to us from Dominion Chalmers United Church in Ottawa in 1995 where she was a soprano soloist.  Vera brings an extensive musical background to the choir, providing strong leadership to her section. She has taken part in not only our Sunday morning services but has sung solos in the summer services and contributed her musical theatre experience to the biblical musicals that we have presented in the sanctuary.


Sue Upham – was introduced to the choir in 1982 when she started going out with Brad and became a full time member in 1984 when they got married (at St. Paul’s by Rev. George Richardson)).  She came to the choir with a solid musical background nourished in the English Methodist Church (her dad is a minister) and she had joined  a very fine choir in Kingston when she emigrated to Canada in 1980.  Sue and Brad’s children Emily and Greg both sang in Junior and Youth choir and Greg still returns from time to time to play percussion in special St. Paul’s musical events.


Thanks and congratulations to all of our “Marathon” Music-Makers in the choir.


We hope that our newer members and other longer serving members will take up the challenge, and be with us for many years to come!