Rock and pop choir coming to Cochrane, Airdrie

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If you dream of belting out Ed Sheeran, Coldplay or Michael Jackson songs in public, but you’re too shy to do so alone, Cool Choir may be just what you’re looking for.

The Calgary-based rock and pop choir for adults is expanding, with weekly rehearsals set to begin at locations in Cochrane and Airdrie starting the week of Sept. 10.

The Cochrane-based choir will sing Monday evenings at the All Faith Anglican Church, while the Airdrie choir will sing Tuesday evenings at the DayBreak Community Church. Sessions run from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Founder and director James Serafi said he started Cool Choir in 2016 as a non-conventional concept, combining traditional communal choir singing with well-known rock and pop songs. Rock or pop choirs are popular in the United Kingdom, according to Serafi, and are starting to gain traction in other parts of the world.

“The concept has exploded in the U.K., and I feel like it may be slowly trickling into other countries,” he said. “The idea is, you’re taking the traditional choir and flipping it on its head, welcoming anyone who can speak into the room to be part of the experience.”

Cool Choir has shown the concept can work in Calgary, too, with more than 350 members attending weekly rehearsals at the three existing locations in Calgary neighbourhoods. Serafi said his ultimate goal is to expand Canada-wide.

Cochrane-based vocal coach and musician Emma Harding will lead the new choirs in Cochrane and Airdrie.

“It’s a great experience for building community, friendships and everything else,” she said. “No experience necessary, no auditions, no massive time commitment – it’s a nice, casual way for anyone who wants to be able to sing to go and sing.”

One of Cool Choir’s 350-plus members is Marielena Nuñez, who said the choir provides those who wish to sing – or learn to sing – a platform to do so.

“Every one of us attending the weekly sessions ends up charged with the right energy and vibes from communal singing, laughing, loving and learning,” she said.

“At the end of the night, we feel like rock stars.”

A membership to Cool Choir costs $20 per week for 10 weeks. Serafi said the choir operates three 10-week trimesters per year. A free taster session is also available for those who want to give it a try before making a commitment.

According to Serafi, one perk is that those who pay for a membership are free to attend any of Cool Choir’s sessions.

“You’re not just joining one choir – you’re joining three choirs,” he said. “You could go to Airdrie on the Tuesday and Hawkwood [in Calgary]on the Wednesday. You basically get three chances to attend – it gives people flexible attendance.”

For more information on Cool Choir, visit coolchoir.com

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