Martha Lou Henley shares early Chor Leoni memories

One of the magical things about Chor Leoni being 25 years old is the number of amazing friends we have made over the years. One of our dearest friends is philanthropist Martha Lou Henley.  We know her as Louie, and she has been a generous supporter and faithful concert attender since Diane first told her about the choir –  but to leave it at that would be a huge understatement.

Baker of the best cookies and giver of amazing hugs, Louie holds a special place in the collective hearts of the lions. Thank you for sharing these memories with us, Louie!

To see our photo album from the trip Louie mentions, click here.

Early Chor Leoni Memories
by Martha Lou Henley

Martha Lou Henley. Photo by Alex Waterhouse-Hayward

Martha Lou Henley. Photo by Alex Waterhouse-Hayward

Thank heavens for long-term memory; it cements magical and happy times from long ago.  I have so many of these when I recall my early association with Chor Leoni Men’s Choir, which, I believe, was in the early spring of 1995. These were hands-on, grassroots and fun-filled days when there was almost no job or task we wouldn’t take on with alacrity. Of course, living less than a five-minute drive from Dick and Diane Loomer helped enormously, opening the door to lots of work parties.

For the spring concert one year, I spent hours fastidiously filling tiny zip-lock bags with a mix of summer wildflower seeds and taping each bag, complete with growing instructions, into the concert programme. For a short while we were in the coffee business, weighing, bagging and selling a special whole-bean Chor Leoni blend. Then there were the inevitable season brochures and concert posters to be distributed throughout the Vancouver area.

Believe it or not, in those early days I actually owned and operated a small-scale catering company… small I only had one client – Chor Leoni Men’s Choir! I made and delivered dinner to the Loomer’s house for their monthly board meetings but ONLY until the board membership grew so much I no longer had dishes large enough!

But the pinnacle of these memorable days is the tour to the Maritimes for Festival 500 in 1997. It was then when I truly bonded with the choir and formed what remain today many lasting friendships. I think I returned to Vancouver putting the right name to the right face of each choir member; how I wish I could do the same today!

To this day, the first Canadian Safari CD remains my all-time favourite of the many Chor Leoni recordings.  Diane’s arrangement of Ave Maris Stella still gives me goosebumps when I hear it.  It simply doesn’t get better than that.

It has been a joy to support Chor Leoni in its growth over the past 25 years and see it become the powerhouse it is today. Here’s to many more years of glorious singing and friendship.

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