Thank you to Exeter Lakeshore Times-Advance, Dan Rolph for interviewing Dr. Richard Heinzle and writing this wonderful article. Your support to the South Huron Community Choirs over the years is greatly appreciated.
Exeter Lakeshore Times-Advance
South Huron Community Choirs prepare for holidays
Author of the article:Dan Rolph
Publishing date:Oct 27, 2022 • 2 minute read
Artistic director Dr. Richard Heinzle
EXETER – The South Huron Community Choirs will be back on the stage this holiday season.
The choir and handbell groups held their first rehearsals earlier this month as they began preparing for their upcoming Dec. 7 Community Christmas Concert at Exeter United Church. The Christmas concert will mark the first time the groups hold a public concert since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We had a fairly good turnout,” said artistic director Richard Heinzle of the first rehearsals. “We’re still not where we were before COVID, but we’re getting there.”
“We had a good number of people, and everybody is excited.”
Heinzle said this year’s concert will include a performance which will be split into two parts, the first of which is being called “Holde-Tyme Christmas” which will include classic holiday favourites, some of which the crowd will be invited to join in on as well. The second half will bring Handel’s Messiah back to the stage.
“Three years ago, we did the whole concert as Handel’s Messiah, and that was our most successful concert so far,” said Heinzle. “People just enjoy singing Handel’s Messiah, so we thought we would come back with that. That will be our big finale … and of course we’ll end with the Hallelujah chorus.”
The path to finally stepping back onto the stage has been filled with challenges for the choirs. Heinzle said there were hopes of a 2021 get-together, though the spread of the omicron variant made that impossible. He said the groups eventually were able to meet starting in April 2022 to practice for a possible June concert, but COVID concerns and a lack of turnout put an end to those plans as well.
“It didn’t quite come together at that point, but now we’re getting a good number of people coming back,” said Heinzle. “People are just getting excited. There’s a real buzz when we come together … For your average choir member, it’s a highlight every week to go to choir practice and sing with a group with people, meet and chat. That was something we missed a lot.”
In addition to the Christmas concert, the choirs will also be holding two spring concerts. The first concert will be April 28 at Exeter United Church, while the second show will be April 29 at Huron Shores United Church in Grand Bend.
Heinzle said both the choir and handbell groups always welcome new people who are interested in joining. Those interested can stop by rehearsals on Tuesday nights, which run from 6-7 p.m. for handbells and 7-9 p.m. for the choir at Exeter United Church.
The 5th traditional Christmas Poinsettia Fundraiser is also being organized alongside Huron Ridge Greenhouses in support of the choirs. Those interested in buying poinsettias can do so through choir members or by calling Ruth Petersen at 519-235-1778. For more information about the South Huron Community Choirs, visit www.southhuronchoirs.com.