Halifax choir helps newcomers learn English, find community
'I can sing beautiful songs and make new friends and improve my English,' participant says
A new choir group based in Halifax is helping newcomers learn English and build community through song.
The group, called the Halifax Newcomer Choir, is open to everyone and meets every Tuesday evening at St. Andrew's Church on Coburg Road.
It was started by Rachel Manko Lutz — who works with the Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia — last fall, when she discovered some newcomers were socially isolated and didn't have any opportunities to practice English.
"This [choir group] seemed like a natural fit with my choral background to offer another opportunity for community building and language learning and friendship," Manko Lutz told CBC Radio's Mainstreet on Tuesday.
Rebecca McCauley, the choir's conductor, said the group is a "really lovely way to connect with members that I might not otherwise interact with on a weekly basis."
"I think music can be such a universal language in a way so it's been a nice connector for us all," McCauley said.
Andrew Sun, who is from China, has been in Halifax for more than a year. He said the choir has been "fantastic."
"I can sing beautiful songs and make new friends and improve my English," he told Mainstreet.
To hear more about this new choir group from the directors and participants involved — including some of their singing — listen to CBC Mainstreet's full conversation below.
With files from CBC Radio's Mainstreet, Alex Guye