General News » News

Sugartones celebrate fifth anniversary

March 26, 2018   ·   0 Comments

By Wendy Gabrek


Members of Sugartones, an enthusiastic group of women who enjoy singing four-part harmony in the a cappella barbershop style, celebrated their 5-year anniversary as a chartered chorus Monday night.

“We welcome women of all ages to ‘find their voice’ with the guidance of our Musical Director, Jan-Ake Westin,” said Barbro Westin. “Jan-Ake offers innovative holistic approaches to voice training, which are based on principles of engagement of the whole body, mind and soul for vocal expression. We have become highly sought after in the local community of New Tecumseth for a variety of public performances – because we spread the joy of vocal music!”

On his vision for the future of Sugartones, Musical Director Jan-Ake Westin had this to say, “Continuous growth in numbers, performance skills and fun. Our vision is for Sugartones to be a significant player in the musical and arts community, and continue to be a place where women come to find their voice.

“Our chorus accepts all degrees of singing ability. We obviously believe that we can all find our voice.”

When Westin moved to Cookstown in 2010, he started to miss chorus directing.

“I had a number of ideas, and stayed in touch with my Area 5 contacts and got talking to people involved in new chorus development,” said Westin. “One thing lead to another, and with Harmony, Inc. Area 5 being very supportive, I decided to give a new chorus a go in early 2012. Area 5 offered a grant for hall rental, music, and support with chorus start-up processes.”

Today, Sugartones is 30 women strong, and singing and performing really well.

Westin explains how he chooses his musical scores, and how modern melodic music can be adapted to barbershop.

“Most modern music can be adapted to the barbershop style,” he said. “For contest, there are certain requirements to stay true to this unique style of music, so the choice is more limited than what you can do in a show. In terms of music selection, it is important to choose songs and arrangements suitable for the ensemble, which involves finding the right balance between complexity and challenge for the singers. Sugartones is starting to find its ‘brand’ and new music should fit whatever ‘trade mark’ or ‘flavour’ we want to portray in our musical performances.”

“Many of us joined Sugartones expecting to just sing, but we are learning the value of a great performance including having a great voice,” said Annette Derraugh, Sugartones member. “We are pushing our limits in a nice way!”

As for what’s next, Westin says, “In five years, we will have doubled in size and sung on the international Harmony, Inc. stage. We will have performed several shows that have attracted large audiences and generated a healthy revenue to support our activities. We will have a solid reputation and name for ourselves both in the local community and within Harmony, Inc. international.”

For more information about Sugartones, call Tracie at 705 796-3043 or  email or visit Regular rehearsals take place Monday evenings at Kingsmere Retirement Suites in Alliston from 7–10 p.m. They are welcoming new members.


Readers Comments (0)

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Page Reader Press Enter to Read Page Content Out Loud Press Enter to Pause or Restart Reading Page Content Out Loud Press Enter to Stop Reading Page Content Out Loud Screen Reader Support