Woodland Chorus continue entertaining for 30 years

The Woodland Chorus got its start over 30 years ago singing around a campfire. Through the years members have come and gone but the three key players continue to be: Jack Jaques, Willie Jakubowski and Ray Scarth,

In the beginning of the summer of 1989, David Jaques, John Fenske, George Luchinski and Jack Jaques were invited to come together and sing around a campfire at Camp Lore at Nelson Lake.

article continues below

“Afterwards the group got together a few times to practice and decided we should enter a talent night at Rockford,” stated Jack Jaques.

It is all about friendship and music, said Jaques. The group's sound blends mellow harmony with bluegrass and old-time traditional music.

The Chorus continued to expand when Willie Jakubowski and Ray Scarth joined the group. The group took on the name Woodland Chorus.

Dennis Theissen also sang with the group on occasion until he retired and moved to Manitoba. George Luchinski left the group in 1996 due to illness and John Fenske left when he moved to Lintlaw. Dave Jaques passed away in 2000.

In the winter of 2004, the Woodland Chorus was made up of the current members. Al Lowe sang with the band for a short time before he moved away, leaving the three original members to continue the tradition of sharing their music with others.

The Woodland Chorus performs at seniors care homes, church services, anniversaries, talent and variety nights, funerals, seasonal functions and other special events.

Jack Jaques of Endeavour is 81 years of age and has played guitar since he was 14. He is one of the original founding members of the Chorus.

"My family was very musical. My mother played piano and my father loved to sing," said Jaques. "It all started 30 years ago in Rockford and we continue to love playing music together and the long-term friendship we have created has been everlasting. As long as we are all able to we will continue to play music," said Jaques.

Willie Jakubowski of Preeceville, originally from Endeavour is 88 years of age and enjoys playing the harmonica and fiddle.

"I received my first harmonica from my mother’s uncle at 14 years old. I can remember it was Christmas day and after we had returned from my uncle’s house we still had to do chores and milk the cows. After chores were done and everyone went to sleep I stayed up all night to master the harmonica,” stated Jakubowski. “I picked up interest in the fiddle from my neighbour shortly after and have never turned back. I enjoy playing music everywhere we go. The friendship the three of us have built is strong.”

Ray Scarth, 84 years of age, currently lives in Preeceville but is also originally from Endeavour. He said he grew up in a musical family.

“My mother was a talented pianist,” said Scarth. “I have always enjoyed singing and singing in church played a key role in my singing career. I joined the Chorus and have enjoyed singing at various events, bringing smiles to everyone in attendance.