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Four New West singers named world champions at Sweet Adelines

Four vocalists from New Westminster came home with gold this month after winning an international choral contest with their 100-member ensemble.

Four singers from New Westminster came home with gold this month after winning an international choral contest.

The vocalists are part of the Vancouver-based Lions Gate Chorus, which was named world champion on Nov. 4 at the 75th annual Sweet Adelines International Convention and Competition in Kentucky after clinching top scores.

The local winners are (in alphabetical order):

  • Melissa Harding 
  • Lori Holtorf 
  • Elizabeth Minish
  • Kathryn Webster

The top award is a "huge achievement," a spokesperson for the the 100-member ensemble told Glacier Media, as it's not only the first time in the chorus' 69-year history to clinch the coveted prize, but it's also the first group in Sweet Adelines history to win a perfect score — in any category — from the panel of judges.

"As soon as they announced second place and it wasn’t us, I knew that after 32 years of directing this fabulous group of singers we had finally achieved the impossible dream of becoming world champions," said musical director Sandy Marron in a news release.

"This was a life goal for me and I couldn’t be any happier. These singers are not only my chorus members, they are my best friends."

Added Cammi MacKinlay, a Lions Gate member and past international president of Sweet Adelines International, "This truly is the Olympics of a capella singing where everyone is excellent. It has taken years and years of hard work, determination, dedication, perseverance, a willingness to learn and grow and, of course, lots of joy and laughter to finally be able to say, 'We did it!'"

As well, just before Lions Gate Chorus was presented with the championship title, it also garnered a nod from the audience as the Most Entertaining Chorus of the competition, an accolade the group also picked up in 2019, 2017 and 2009.

Since 2007, the Lions Gates Chorus has placed in the Top 5.

Founded in 1954, the Lions Gate Chorus rehearses on Tuesday nights at the Croatian Cultural Centre in Vancouver.