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Songs for all

Stella's Circle Inclusion Choir brings holiday music to QEII Library

By Kristine Power

The Stella’s Circle Inclusion Choir is built around the joy of singing and the pleasure of joining voices together in song.

The choir recently captivated an audience of students, faculty and employees in the Queen Elizabeth II Library with some holiday classics during a Christmas tree trimming event.

Together for 10 years and with more than a hundred performances under their belt, the rotating roster of members come together and then, something magical happens.

“I find we become one voice,” said choir member George Walsh. “You can see that maybe some people are not as vocally strong, but when we all come together we are one voice.”

The non-audition choir embodies the ideals of Dr. Stella Burry, a pioneering social worker whose founding vision to transform lives through counselling, advocacy and other support services continues through to the present-day mandate of Stella’s Circle. The choir practices once a week. There is no cost for uniforms, a meal is provided during each practice and bus passes/Go Bus passes are provided.

“We sing songs for their meaning and relevance to the lives of people in the choir-and their audiences-involving social justice, community, affordable housing and so forth,” explained Rob McLennan, director, employment services, Stella’s Circle.

Most members of the inclusion choir have struggled in one way or another; the choir encourages a sense of belonging and empowerment.

“The choir is a place of acceptance.” — Rob McLennan

“Building community is an important part of our work, said Mr. McLennan. “The choir is a place of acceptance. It increases social connections and is a great step to engaging in other community activities.”

In 2016 the choir received a community grant from the Bruneau Centre for Excellence in Choral Singing (BCECM) from Memorial University, and also received the federal government’s Canada 150 Grant that will connect the choir with award-winning singer/songwriter Amelia Curran for a workshop.

Photo essay

In addition to the live performance by the choir in the library, a variety of assistive technology was on display. Assistive technology in The Commons includes software, hardware and support services that are all aimed at assisting Memorial students in achieving their full academic potential.

1/ Getting Festive

You know the holidays are around the corner when the QEII Library Christmas tree goes up.

Photo: Liza-Ann Tucker

2/ Assistive Technology

The QEII Library Commons staff display some of their assistive technologies. The designated AT stations are located in the Assistive Technology Room (L-2001), the Digital Media Centre, and The Commons Classroom. There are also one-on-one tutorials with peer assistive technology tutors.

Photo: Liza-Ann Tucker

3/ Cupcake study break

Each December the QEII Library invites students to decorate the Christmas tree and have a treat as they prepare for the exam and paper crunch.

Photo: Liza-Ann Tucker

4/ Decorating the QEII Library Christmas Tree

It takes many hands to decorate a 12-foot tree.

Photo: Liza-Ann Tucker

“Assistive technology can really break down some of the serious roadblocks to student success and includes various kinds of tools that can make an academic journey a little smoother,” explained Meaghan Malone, student support assistant with The Commons.

More information about The Commons assistive technologies can be found here.

More information about Stella’s Circle can be found here.

More information about Memorial University Libraries Check It Out! series can found here.

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