Eventually, the Smithers Glee Club solely focused on singing, developing into a Choral Group. The Choral Group included both girls from St. Joseph’s School and Smithers Secondary School. The girls suggested a new name for this collective and soon they were known as the Smithers Harmonettes. In 1963, Eric Ekman joined as guitarist and a singer. Jack and Ed Rea joined as singers in 1964.
In 1959, Sister Mary Andrew, of the Order of the Holy Cross, began a glee club for the female students at St. Joseph’s School, which included singing, folk dancing and acting. The original members of the St. Joseph’s School Glee Club (aka Smithers Glee Club) included Charlotte Adomeit, Mary Anne Adomeit, Trudy Adomeit, Corrie Bazil, Mary Brinkac, Jean Calderwood, Judy Calderwood, Lorraine Calderwood, Elizabeth Duff, Rosemarie Duff, Sandra Haubrick, Judy Hidber, Tina Konst, Rita Maillot, Carol Miller, Joan Miller, Sharon Morris, Diane O’Neill, Dora Sikkes, Jane Sikkes, Gerry Silver, Glenda Spicer, and Lorraine Spicer. Many of these girls originally sang in the Children’s Choir at the Catholic Church with direction from Carl Spicer.
In 1961, the Smithers Glee Club traveled to Kitimat, B.C., to enter a drama competition and won an award for their performance of “Flapper Girls”. The Smithers Glee Club performed in a number of locations outside of Smithers, including Burns Lake and Prince Rupert. Dick Heggie drove the Smithers Glee Club to their out of town performances, while Sister Gregory and Sister Francis Ann (also of the Order of the Holy Cross) chaperoned.
In 1966, Sister Mary Andrew was relocated to Iona Academy, a girls’ boarding school, in St. Raphael’s Ontario. The Smithers Harmonettes continued to sing under the direction of Ed Rea, Vern Barge, Dave Forsythe and Carol Barter.
The Harmonettes recorded their first album “Introducing the Harmonettes of Smithers, B.C.” in November of 1964, which was followed by their second album “Good News.”
The last performance of the Smithers Harmonettes was at St. Joseph’s Auditorium, which Sister Mary Andrew directed before returning to Ontario.
The Smithers Harmonettes most significant performance was at Expo ’67 in Montreal, Q.C. Thirty-three girls and 10 chaperones left Smithers on April 20, 1967. Chaperones included Marisa Rae, RN, Carol Barter, RN, Dora Sikkes, PN, Marge (Barge) Henderson, Mrs. Forsythe and Mrs. Biro. The Harmonettes met Sister Mary Andrew in Alexandria, Ontario on April 26, who in turn took over directing the girls. The group performed a concert at Alexandria Hall. On April 28, 1967, the Smithers Harmonettes arrived in Montreal. They performed two shows per day (one at 12:30 PM and another at 5:30 PM) for four days. They returned for Smithers on May 4, 1967, arriving on May 8, 1967. The girls were interviewed by Ron Eastman of CFBV upon their arrival in Smithers. This tour also resulted in the Harmonettes’ final album: “Smithers Harmonettes Live at Montreal in 1967.”
The Smithers Harmonettes performed at a number of events, including the inauguration of the Queen of Prince Rupert ferry (May 21, 1961) and the Seattle World’s Fair (July 12 to July 17, 1962). The group performed live on a night-time program in Terrace, B.C. (February 14, 1964), as well as on CFTK for Alcan’s 5th annual Christmas TV program in Kitimat, B.C., (1965).
Records were collected by Carol Morris, a former member of the Smithers Harmonettes.
Scope and Content
Fonds reflects items created and used by members of the Smithers Harmonettes. The fonds is arranged into two series: sheet music and records and historical accounts.