We've been torn apart, tossed and turned by the pandemic — and the divisions that have followed — like strips of fabric in the Squamish wind.
But we can be stitched back together into a beautiful whole. At least that is the idea behind an upcoming concert collaboration by Sea to Sky Singers.
'Stitch us together: a cross-collaborative concert,' brings together the choir with members from Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation), the Multicultural Community, Sea to Sky Community Services, the Squamish Quilters Guild and features drag queen Sativa the Diva.
The show's musical director Veronica McPhee, says the theme was inspired by a poem she read about a quilt.
"This idea that we are in pieces, I kind of felt that with our community. Over the course of these last few months, and maybe even before that, we have been scattered, and there are communities within our community. So, I wanted to use that analogy of a quilt and think of — even if we are all patchwork pieces — the beauty is in the diversity and the bringing together of that diversity."
McPhee reached out to various groups within Squamish and asked them how they would like to contribute to the show.
Members from Newport House and Harmony House will be the representatives from Sea to Sky Community Services. The residences provide a stable home life for adults with developmental disabilities who require full-time care.
"Not many people know about the programs that they offer there and I think this could be really exciting for them to show people those programs and the residents who live there," she said.
Staying with the quilting theme, audience members will be invited when they first arrive and at the intermission to select a fabric square, and those will all be assembled into a flimsy (top) quilt by the end of the show.
Ultimately, all the pieces of the show stitch together and end up in a united finale.
Squamish Quilters Guild members will complete the quilt, which will be a legacy piece that will end up hanging somewhere in Squamish.
Expanding the quilt
"I thought this was my way of trying to expand my own boundaries of people I connect with and people that I listen to," McPhee said, noting that it is likely not a coincidence that movements like Black Lives Matter and the awareness and reflection brought by the Indian Residential School graveyard discoveries, were brought into such sharp focus for many folks during the pandemic.
"With COVID, we were given, maybe, time for reflection; to hear the stories of residential schools; to hear the stories of Black Lives Matter. To understand what it means to listen to these stories and be receptive to them. I think it is those two things hand and hand. We were all torn apart, and now we are allowed to get back together. But what does this mean with the new knowledge that we have? What does that look like? What does it sound like?" she said.
"We are all communities. The Pride community is very self-sufficient. So is Squamish Nation. So is the multicultural group.... But when we reach out between them [all], that is when we can really mean it — in every sense of the word — we are a 'greater' community."
The family-friendly shows are presented on Sat. Dec. 11 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 12 at 2 p.m. at the Eagle Eye Theatre.
Tickets are $20 and can be purchased from choir members or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Proof of vaccination and masks are required.
(Performers who are unmasked during the show, will be spaced from the audience.)