Alberta Avenue Community Centre is home to many activities and groups, and one of the newest is a local choir group called The Larks, led by Ruth Alexander.
Alexander is a British actor and musician with over 25 years of experience who lives in the Alberta Avenue area. Alexander has lived in Canada since 2017. She’s been a part of numerous Edmonton productions, notably Once, A Musical and A Christmas Carol. This summer, she’ll be the music director of Little Shop of Horrors at The Citadel Theatre. Though Alexander loves performing, she also loves being involved in and leading choirs.
When Alexander left the UK for Canada, she wasn’t only leaving her home but also a singing community, a collective, and a choir. “I worked with a choir…called the Handbag of Harmonies, an all-woman choir. It was such a community, and when I moved to Canada, I missed having that kind of community around. Singing can bring people together in a unique way.”
She assembled a casual, no-obligation group of people who loved to sing off Whyte Avenue some years back, which became the foundation of The Larks. Alexander’s original intention was to gather people who enjoyed singing, regardless of skill, because it made them feel good. Choir members feel connected to others, and Alexander’s mission is to connect and empower other women who want to branch out and share their voices. “I wanted to build a community in Canada,” says Alexander.
Any woman can join the group. No audition is necessary, and singing skills can be refined. She hopes The Larks is an inclusive, welcoming group of people who love to sing. Their repertoire is also quite diverse. “We know about seven or eight songs now,” says Alexander, “and they sound very good!” Some of the music they’re learning includes the 70s and 80s hits, such as Elton John and The Police, alongside Cher and a healthy number of show tunes. “We have pieces from Into the Woods and Mamma Mia.”
Alexander kindly invited me to attend a rehearsal. Do, re, me, fa, show me to the room! I could hear the group belting their exercises as soon as I entered the building. Everyone, with perfect posture, looked comfortable and happy. As Alexander led the group through exercises, I watched as they smiled through each note.
Despite this choir’s casual nature, they’re excited about a few upcoming performances—their first as a group. “Our first performance—we’ve never performed for anyone—we’re going to perform for family and friends. It is going to be a social evening rather than a performance.” They don’t meet during the summer, but in September, The Larks will be performing at the annual Run for Life and at Kaleido Festival and seeking out street performance opportunities at Edmonton festivals, possibly such as the Deep Freeze Festival.
Alexander hopes that the choir will grow and they’ll be presented with more opportunities to perform; however, she honestly would like to see people enjoying singing.
The Larks meet every Monday at 7 pm at the Alberta Avenue Community Centre. You may pay a drop-in fee or commit to a season. For more questions, email email@example.com.
Molly is a journalist and communications specialist in Edmonton, Alberta. More than writing, she loves her pug, Garry.