Divine Providence! ScotianAires make their mark at international competition


All the practising, planning and preparation paid off for the ScotianAires, who recently returned from Harmony Inc.’s International Convention and Contests (IC&C), which took place in Providence, Rhode Island from November 2-6.


(l to r) Chorus members Ann Boutlier, Joyce Pitcher, Carolyn Pettipas and Director Sue Kember display the Montreal City Voices Tait Trophy for the most improved chorus.

Competing against 23 other choruses from across North America, the ScotianAires placed 12th, winning the Montreal City Voices Tait Trophy for the chorus which had improved the most over the previous year.

The result was a testament to the dedication, commitment and hard work of all the chorus members, as well as Director Sue Kember, Assistant Directors Adele Merritt and Cathy Hunter and coaches Debra Lynn, Ray Johnson and Theresa Weatherbee.

Sue Kember and chorus member Jill Reid also gained important experience as practice judges in the singing and presentation categories respectively.

But the scores were not the only thing that made this year’s contest special. In preparation for the journey to Providence, the ScotianAires launched a GoFundMe campaign to help defray chorus members’ costs, made significantly higher because of the exchange rate between the U.S. and Canadian dollars. The campaign raised just over $6,000, which was divided among all the ScotianAires who attended IC&C.


(l t r) Tonic! quartet members Marion Fraser-Pritchard, Mary Gareau, Adele Merritt and Cathy Hunter show off the ScotianAire's new costume.

It also marked the debut of the chorus’ new black-and-teal performance costumes, which were a hit among chorus and audience members alike. A total of forty-six chorus members performed at IC&C this year, seven of them for the very first time. New chorus member Tanya Reid enthused “What a great week learning from the very best! The other quartets and choruses are such an inspiration.”

And for the first time, we had live video feeds on Facebook so ScotianAires who couldn’t attend – as well as friends and family – could feel that they were part of the action.

It was also a good year for the ScotianAires’ quartet, Tonic!, who placed 11th in a tough field of 36 quartets and earned the opportunity to perform as microphone testers in the quartet finals.


(l to r) Harmony Queens Marion Penton and Jane Fritz.

But IC&C is not just about competition – it’s also about camaraderie and the opportunity to reinforce existing friendships and make new ones.  Quartet winners from past years, known as Harmony Queens, performed at the Parade of Champions Show on the Friday evening where the ScotianAires own Jane Fritz was celebrated on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of her championship quartet, Metro Music Machine.

Now that IC&C 2016 is over, the ScotianAires can begin preparing for next year’s event; but travel won’t be part of the equation. IC&C 2017 will take place right here in Halifax, allowing barbershop singers