March 12, 2018 - North America’s only coal miners’ choir ‘Men of the Deeps’ has added brand new voices.
They need little introduction for their hauntingly beautiful harmonies that immediately paint a picture of the Maritimes' mining history.
The Canadian group has added five recruits to the legendary choir based in Glace Bay, N.S.
Each new member comes with his own special reason for wanting to be part of the group.
Kevin Burke says he joined the group as a tribute to his father.
“My father spent 35 years in the mine and we are a product of that,” says Burke. “You’re a miner, you’re a company house, you’re ten kids in a small home… so that’s more or less where we came from.”
The new members have only rehearsed with the rest of the group a few times, but say they already feel a deep connection from having worked underground.
"The camaraderie of the coal miners…you can't find it anywhere,” says new member Karl Gouthro. “I've worked other places and nothing holds a candle to it and it's the same way with these guys here."
The choir has been thrilling audiences for 50 years, but with older members stepping aside they needed to recruit new blood.
The choir’s conductor Stephen Muise says 29 men applied for auditions and each member fit the criteria of having worked at least two years in mining.
"They're already making an impact… the atmosphere in the room…there was an interest, an excitement in that room that I hadn't seen for a while from our regular members,” says Muise. “They were just fired up to see these new guys coming on board and I think they recognized that this was a play for the future, too."
The new recruits will have a few more months to rehearse before their first public performance as part of the group.
"The biggest thrill will be when you actually don the helmet and the garb and you start parading up from the back and you get a big round of approval,” Burke says.
"It’s a little intimidating at first, but once you start talking to the boys it's like you're back in the pit again,” Gouthro says.
The group will perform the weekend of Davis Day commemorations across Nova Scotia.
CoalZoom.com - Your Foremost Source for Coal News