Ottawa Chapter Donates 'Barber'que

  • Posted on: 24 September 2017
  • By: Ontario District Webmaster

For 18 years running, the Capital City Chorus of Ottawa has supported the Ottawa Boys and Girls Club and their summer camp, Camp Smitty. The camp is located on the shores of Mink Lake near Eganville, Ontario, and is primarily a camp for under-privileged children from the Ottawa region.To help mark the 60th anniversary of the Capital City Chorus, members of the chorus carried out a special project this fall at Camp Smitty. 

During the second week of September each year, members of the chorus head up to the camp for a weekend of hard work, great food, camaraderie and, of course, barbershop ‎harmony. Over the years a multitude of construction and repair projects have been carried out. This has included building new cabins, renovating the interior of the dining hall, doing roofing, building fences, replacing steps, painting, landscaping and brushing. You can see a time-lapse video of the chorus constructing two cabins below. To date, it is estimated that the chorus has contributed over $650,000 in man-hours and building supplies.

The weekend is filled with song, including by those gathered round the camp fire. Members of the chorus and friends also stage a Saturday evening show. Members showcase their many (sometimes surprisingtalents,  such as an Octoberfest "oompah" band led by members Hari Gupta and Bill Hawken, member Andrew Burr on the blues piano, and solo performances. Every year, the chorus also features a guest quartet from around the district. Over the years, many of Ontario's best known and best loved quartets have participated including Nitro, Bob's Your Uncle, and Quantum. This year, both Yonge Guns and 'Shoptimus Prime joined in for the weekend. 

Tom Burns has been the driving force behind the chorus' Camp Smitty activities. For many years, Tom dreamed of doing something extra special for the boys and girls who attend Camp Smitty, and this year saw that dream come true. ‎Some 65 members of the chorus and a number of their friends contibuted over $8,000 to purchase a professional quality, restaurant-grade barbeque for the camp, as well as a truckload of building material. Fundraising was spearheaded by chorus member Bill Elliott. Members of the chorus, under the direction of master carpenter Bruce Sandor, built a beautiful deck and covered enclosure for the 'barber'que. Over and above covering costs, additional funds were raised to help pay camp fees for boys and girls who might not otherwise be able to live the camp experience. 

While the deck was being built, other members of the chorus carried out a wide range of other maintenance and improvement projects at the Camp. 

What a fitting way to mark the 60th anniversary of the Capital City Chorus, and what a great example of what can be accomplished by ‎working in harmony.

View an album of photos from the weekend here:

By Bill Elliott and Michael Black. Photos by Jim Austin, Neil Rask and Fraser Gordon