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Ottawafocus.com Spotlight
Spotlight on... Atlantic Voices
By Ren Tomovcik

Atlantic Voices

Have you been craving some uplifting, folk-inspired, true Canadian music that can soothe your soul and restore your tired bones?  Well, you need look no further than the harmonious sounds of the Atlantic Voices, the Ottawa-based East Coast choir whose positive energy is as warm as their hearts.  Whether they’re performing across the capital city to help raise money for charitable causes or entertaining the residents at a retirement home, a whole lot of heart goes into everything the Atlantic Voices do!

Atlantic Voices  Atlantic Voices
Originally founded in 2002, the choir was first conceived by one displaced Newfoundlander searching for a way to reconnect with her musical heritage.  After reaching out for interested parties through the  Ottawa Newfoundland Society, she found some kindred spirits with similar ideas, and the Atlantic Voices were born.

The music offers members a way to reconnect with their roots and immerse themselves in a familiar culture, as the Atlantic Voices are one of the only organized East Coast groups in the capital. About two thirds of the choir hails directly from the East Coast, with members from Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Labrador , Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick.

However, singers of all backgrounds are welcomed with open arms into this tight-knit little community.  Many new members have arrived among the Atlantic Voices simply because they love the music, and these honourary East Coasters enjoy the experience every bit as much. Several of the original singers are still performing in the group, and many more have since joined the ranks, with nearly 60 members now involved.

Atlantic Voices

The Atlantic Voices are strong advocates of community involvement and outreach, performing dozens of free shows each year at seniors’ homes, hospitals, benefit events and fundraisers.   Their initiative to represent and showcase Newfoundland, Maritime and Celtic music and culture in the Ottawa area fits hand in hand with their community outreach mandate - the upbeat, expressive music they create is infused with enthusiasm and energy, lifting the weight off the listener’s shoulders.

Atlantic Voices It's always a challenge to arrange music for such a large choral group, especially when many of the pieces the Atlantic Voices perform were originally written for a much smaller ensemble. However, music director Scott Richardson (left) is up to the task, often creating original musical arrangements for the choir. 

The Atlantic Voices perform many traditional and folk songs, but they also incorporate modern Eastern Canadian music into their repertoire.  They’ve even re-arranged the occasional Great Big Sea cover for a great big group of voices!  

Although they often sing a capella, the musical talent among the Atlantic Voices certainly isn’t limited to singing.  In 2004, when the group was having trouble finding an available accordionist to accompany a concert, intrepid choir member Hannie Fitzgerald took matters in hand.  After just two months of accordion lessons, she founded what would become the Atlantic Voices’ own band, the Fumblin’ Fingers.

Featuring fiddles, accordion, guitar, mandolin, and even some spoons, the Fumblin’ Fingers not only provide accompaniment for the Atlantic Voices, but they’ve now performed over 50 live shows of their own, from fundraises, lobsters suppers and church benefits to anniversary parties and weddings.  Their first CD, Atlantic Treasures, was released in 2007 and they are at work on a second album.       

Someday, the Atlantic Voices and Fumblin’ Fingers hope to go on a Canadian tour.  But for now, we are lucky to have them here in the capital, a vibrant piece of Ottawa’s cross-cultural mosaic.

UPCOMING CONCERT
Now in their seventh season, their upcoming performance will be their thirteenth such major show, and will raise money for the continued success of their musical endeavours. 
Atlantic Voices Winter Concert
more info:  www.atlanticvoices.ca

Atlantic Voices LISTEN RIGHT HERE!

Want to hear them? We've got MP3s! 
Click on the mini-player to listen.

 
Atlantic Voices - The Blackbird

 
Atlantic Voices - Woman of Labrador


ATLANTIC VOICES + FUMBLIN' FINGERS

See them live this month at the Winter Concert or on January 31st at Orleans United Church, where they will be performing at a benefit show for World Development. 

Visit the Atlantic Voices website to learn more about upcoming events, or to inquire about booking the choir to perform at your function or event.

Buy the albums at any of the band's shows, or contact Atlantic Voices for more information.
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