St. Marys Journal Argus
When Brian Emery passed away in early July of this year, it certainly came as a shock to many in the faith and music communities in St. Marys, Stratford, Elora, and other surrounding communities. Emery was music director at St. Marys Presbyterian Church, and was involved in numerous other ways around the region.
One of the biggest holes left behind by Emery’s passing was with the Stonetown Entertainers, a choir made up of members of the St. Marys Friendship Centre — a town-operated facility that provides social and wellness programs for the 50-and-over crowd. The Entertainers practice every Friday morning at the Centre, from 9:30-11 a.m.
“It certainly did come as a shock,” recalled choir secretary Edna Hill, in an interview last week. But she said the legacy Emery left behind wasn’t just musical; it will come as no surprise to those who knew him that he also left behind a spirit of self-worth that Hill says she is thankful for on a regular basis.
“One thing that he did say to us that really sticks in my mind, and I bring it out every chance I get, is that we should put a value on ourselves,” she said. “Because we’re not just a social group. We’re quite serious about what we do.”
The Entertainers advertised for a new director, and soon hired Shakespeare-area musician, choir director and music teacher Susan McGonigle. “She comes from a very musical family,” Hill reported, and added she plays the organ and conducts the choir Zion United Church in New Hamburg, and formerly conducted a choir at a nursing home in Stratford.
Since Susan came on board in September, Hill notes, about eight new members have joined the choir. Among the recent additions are a couple more men, which further diversifies the range of voices coming from the choir.
“We struggled for several years with just two (men), and now we have six,” she noted.
The choir’s oldest member is 91, so if you enjoy singing, there’s no reason to think there’s not a place for you in the Stonetown Entertainers. If you’d like to join, stop by the Friendship Centre or call Edna Hill at 519-284-2178.