Recent History – 1999
March 24, 1999
After singing for 50 consecutive years in the United Church choir in Dawson Creek, Lois Smith will be honoured with a tea this Saturday. The United Church choir will be hosting the tea from 2 to 4:30 p.m. at Sudeten Hall.
Chris and Lois Smith moved to Dawson Creek in the spring of 1949 and Lois immediately joined the church choir. The United Church was located on 11th Street and 104th Avenue in those days. Through the church organist, Lois was introduced to Walter Fisher’s Orchestra. Until 1951, Lois played violin in this musical group. As she became more widely introduced to the community, Lois also became part of a trio that sometimes expanded to a quartet of string players
Lois has always preferred to play harmony rather than playing the melody. When given a choice, she would choose second violin or second soprano. This is a reflection of her gentle personality rather than her musical abilities. Lois has always preferred that others be in the spotlight.
Lois has also played second violin in the Dawson Creek Symphonette under Mrs. Rotraud Lopp’s direction. Lois played in the orchestra in such productions as Hansel and Gretel, Carmen, Fiddler on the Roof, and The Merry Widow. For 25 years, from 1971 to 1996, she dedicated her Sunday afternoons and Wednesday evenings to orchestral rehearsals. When Dr. Woronuk was concert master, the string section also rehearsed on Tuesday evening. This left only Thursday evening and Lois managed to fill that evening with music as well, for Thursday night was Chamber Choir practice. The Church choir practices Sunday morning.
In 1979, Lois began to sing with Northern Lights Chamber Choir under the direction of Merrill Flewelling. From 1979 to 1996, she participated in many performances, including Ben Heppner’s homecoming celebration, the 1992 tour with Walter Prossnitz, Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Requiem and many more.
Until she was 40, Lois taught highland dance in Dawson Creek. Each year, up to 20 girls learned under her tutelage. Lois took the girls to many competitions throughout the Peace. The last competition they attended was in Fort St. John, where they swept the medals, bringing home all the gold to Dawson Creek.
Music has been Lois’s joy throughout her life. Whether singing in a choir, playing violin, teaching dance or teaching violin, making a joyful noise has been at the centre of her life. Even when she marched down the street to board the train to go to wireless training school in Montreal, Lois had her violin tucked under her arm.
“Even when life has been stressful, all I had to do was to begin play and every worry would drop away,” she said in a recent interview.
Come and join us to celebrate a life in music at the Sudeten Hall on March 27, from 2 to 4:30 p.m. We will celebrate with live performance by the Northern Lights Jazz Singers, the United Church choir and many others.
All Lois’s friends and acquaintances are invited to come out.