VIDEO: Westcoast Harmony Chorus gives purpose to Langley family during pandemic, group celebrates virtual performance

Jen Papageorge, 52, with her teenage daughters Keira and Talia are members of the Westcoast Harmony Chorus. (Special to Langley Advance Times)Jen Papageorge, 52, with her teenage daughters Keira and Talia are members of the Westcoast Harmony Chorus. (Special to Langley Advance Times)
Westcoast Harmony has release its latest virtual chorus: Go the Distance. (Kelly Collins/Special to Langley Advance Times)

A Walnut Grove mother says her family, who are the roughly 60 members of the Westcoast Harmony Chorus, has helped her survive the pandemic as the group celebrates its latest virtual performance.

“Being a part of the chorus is a big part of my life as well as my teenage daughters,” said Jen Papageorge

She has been a member of the chorus for a total of eight years, while her two daughters, now 15, joined when they were 11 years old.

“It’s about the only normal thing that has continued throughout all of this insanity,” the 52-year-old said.

Westcoast Harmony Chorus is an a cappella chorus based in Surrey with members of varying ages, who primarily sing in the barbershop style.

The group is now celebrating its latest release Go the Distance from the Disney animated film, “Hercules.”

“The message right now is we all need to know we can get through this,” Papageorge said about the inspiration behind the latest performance.

When it was safe to do so the group would meet in-person weekly on Wednesday; now they meet over Zoom.

A quick transition Papageorge credits to the chorus director and a routine she was thankful to maintain this past year for her teenage daughters who attend Langley Fine Arts School.

“Singing and performing is a huge part of their lives and they have really felt the impact of the pandemic,” Papageorge said.

“Being able to maintain a routine of weekly Zoom rehearsals every Wednesday, along with the tireless efforts made by our director, Anne Downton, to continue raising the bar for each of us individually and collectively, gave them purpose and goals to strive for when everything else was put on pause.”

In addition to routine Papageorge says the chorus has boasted her teenage daughters’ confidence.

“It’s so beneficial for them.”

She estimates its took about three months for the chorus to bring their latest project to life.

“Each member, including seven new members who haven’t even sung with us in person, spent countless hours practicing and recording audio and video,” Papageorge praised.

The performance runs just over four minutes and is available on YouTube.

“It’s a way of connecting with our friends and family who would normally come to our performances but they can’t now,” Papageorge said.

Now, the group aims to continue its musical education throughout the year and hopes to return to regional and international competition at the end of the year should it be safe to travel again.


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