The Maple Leaf Singers are starting a journey to rebuild out of the pandemic with a concert of chart-topping hits this weekend.
The show chorus is offering up 55 Years of No. 1 Hits on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon at the Anvil Theatre.
The choir was first formed in 1968 and has been based in New Westminster and Burnaby for its lifespan. Originally founded by George and Marie Gillis of New Westminster, the choir is now helmed by their son, Rob Gillis.
"Rob and members of the Maple Leaf Singers have endured three years of struggle through COVID," notes a message from the choir.
Not only did the group have to initially stop singing together in the face of the pandemic, Rob Gillis found himself testing positive for COVID-19 — and then facing the aftermath of long COVID symptoms. He wasn't well enough to bring the choir back together in the fall of 2021; he tried again in the spring of 2022 but couldn't overcome the long COVID symptoms.
The choir was finally able to relaunch in September 2022, but with just 19 singers — as opposed to the 54 it had when it first shut down.
They were all ready to launch a public Christmas show in December 2022 when Mother Nature intervened: a snowstorm prevented the concert from happening.
But they regrouped again in January, with 27 singers — and now they're ready to take the stage this weekend with a show that features such favourites as I Believe in Music, Bridge Over Troubled Water, You're the One That I Want and many more.
"We have been performing our largest fundraiser of the year at Massey Theatre since the late 1970s," Gillis wrote in an email. "Coming back with a smaller chorus and being out of the public eye for three years forced us to downsize ... but stay in our hometown of New Westminster at the Anvil Theatre."
Gillis' goal is to get back to the 50-plus members the choir had pre-pandemic — and, of course, to entice music lovers of all ages to come and support the choir and enjoy a showstopping performance this weekend.
Catch Maple Leaf Singers at the Anvil Theatre
- Who: Maple Leaf Singers present 55 Years of No. 1 hits, featuring chart-topping numbers from the 1960s to today
- Where: Anvil Theatre, 777 Columbia St.
- When: Saturday, May 13 at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, May 14 at 2 p.m.
- Tickets: $21.50, plus fees. Book through www.ticketsnw.ca.