Is this the busiest Singing Valentine quartet ever?
The Squares may have set a speed record, knocking out more than 20 deliveries in just over two hours -- while raising hundreds of dollars for charity along the way. How’d they do it?
Their secret: they never left the building. Yup -- the quartet spent the entire two hours criss-crossing the various wards and wings of Lion’s Gate Hospital in North Vancouver, British Columbia. “We were first approached by an outreach employee of the Lion's Gate Hospital Foundation via our Gigsalad listing, said lead Erik Beauchesne. “They did a great job promoting us -- this poster appeared on just about every corkboard and viewscreen in the place. Staff were encouraged to purchase singing telegrams as a way of saying thank you to each other. Many managers and team leaders purchased telegrams out of genuine gratitude for their employees, but a few treated it as a prank to interrupt a meeting!
“All of the deliveries went over very smoothly thanks to our handler, who remained with us all day. Thanks to her tight itinerary and guidance, we were able to navigate the hospital and find our marks efficiently, but also maintain the element of surprise as necessary. In the end, we sang for nearly 2.5 hours and fulfilled more than 20 total telegrams in exchange for CA$200."
Highlights of the day included singing in the oncology ward, and singing for Bill Stuart, a former North Vancouver Chapter member, on the spot at the request of his spouse. Mrs. Stuart heard us singing in the hall, and immediately called out “The Barbershoppers are here!” Bill sang along to “My Wild Irish Rose,” and like a trouper, he was in his wheelchair and followed us around the hospital to a few of our deliveries. It was a moment that tied us to the generations of men that have come before us.
The other big story was singing for Gerry MacPherson, who recently celebrated his 100th birthday and is a recipient of the Freedom of the City Award from the City of North Vancouver.
It’s hip to be Square
The Squares are a chameleon quartet. The four who delivered Singing Valentines — Sean Huston, Erik Beauchesne, Samuel Dabrusin, Allen Upward — are part of an ever-changing cast of characters who sing for fun, for the public, and occasionally, for contest as The Squares Chorus, from the Southwest British Columbia Chapter., which represented Evergreen District at the 2018 International Contest with 18 singers.
Brian Lynch is Public Relations Manager for the Barbershop Harmony Society.