By Mary-Lou Montgrain

I met my husband in a community choir. I am a soprano. He is a tenor. We had both been singing in choirs since a young age. He plays several instruments, studied violin, taught himself the piano & has always had a good ear for music. I had majored in music at university, had an ARCT in piano & Grade 8 singing and had taught vocal & instrumental music. We both came from musical families. My daughter also played violin and Allen’s mother had sung in choirs for many years. His brothers & sisters had all attended an Arts School and had learned an instrument during their high school years. So we had a lot in common from the musical standpoint. Allen had been widowed for some time and I had been divorced for many years. Allen was quite shy, but I made up for that, since I am a high school teacher, now retired, and talking was part of my job.

We discovered that we both enjoyed live theatre, so I invited him to join me and a female colleague to attend a local theatre production. My colleague was an avid badminton player who coached the badminton team at my school. Allen was an avid tennis player. So after the play they got into an animated discussion about racquet sports, of which I know almost nothing. I assumed that we all enjoyed the play, but it wasn’t discussed. The next school day my friend was full of praise for my new ”boyfriend”, as she called him, although I wasn’t sure that’s what he was. From that day on Allen & I went to many plays, visited art galleries, went on hikes, often with friends, and discovered that we had many shared interests in addition to music.

Allen is part of a large family who have a family cottage near Burk’s Falls. My family is quite small, so when I first went to the cottage I was a bit overwhelmed with the number of relatives who wanted to “check out” Allen’s female friend. I assumed that I passed the test, judging by their smiles & comments. That weekend we enjoyed canoeing & swimming & I watched in awe as family & friends re-shingled the roof of the cottage & replaced the siding under the watchful eye of Allen’s dad. Apparently that sort of thing happened regularly, since there were five cottages on the one acre property & there was always work to be done. I discovered that Allen had acquired a lot of practical skills. Before we were married, Allen renovated my house where we now live. My adult kids, now living in their own homes, were suitably impressed. We had a small wedding in my back yard. My daughter was the Matron of Honour, my son was the DJ, & Allen’s daughter was a bridesmaid. We have just celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary and are continuing to sing in a choir we helped form when the original one folded.

There are many reasons for joining a choir. Like most of our fellow choristers, we wanted to experience the joy of singing with other musicians in the performance of beautiful choral music. Neither Allen nor I had planned to find a spouse by joining a choir. However, if we had not joined that first choir we might never have met. Music was the catalyst that brought us together and I shall always be grateful for that gift.

In conclusion, if you like to sing, consider joining a community choir. You will make friends, have fun, and take away wonderful memories that last a lifetime.