I Sing That They Shall Speak

In 1977 I was working as a Speech Language Pathologist for the School Board in Peterborough. I had played guitar in a band in my youth and could read music onto the guitar, but when I tried to sing it was a disaster.

I was speaking to a teacher whom I worked with at a school for students with very special needs. I was telling him how I was looking for support for one of my students who had speech and language difficulties. He told me that he was a member of the SPEBSQSA and that the Ontario District had just formed a Fund called Harmonize For Speech. He also suggested I come out and sing. I did join the chorus and soon learned how to sing and have been learning ever since. Fortunately, I also met a gentleman who was as passionate about helping children with communicative disorders as I was (probably more so) and he still is. I am speaking of George Shields, of course. And I did receive help for my student from the fund.

When I went back to university to get my qualifications in Education and subsequently moved to Alberta, I had to give up my Barbershop singing and became involved in musical theatre. I also eventually became a teacher and an administrator, but never lost my love for singing Barbershop and helping individuals with communicative disorders.

Once I was back in Ontario for many years and retired, I joined the Barbershop Harmony Society (as it was now called) once again, but this time in Oshawa. I was delighted to know that they supported Harmonize For Speech and that George was still encouraging and helping barbershoppers all over Ontario to continue to support the District’s charity, and such a worthy cause.

I am disappointed, however, to discover that many chapters no longer have active H4S contacts and do not support our charity at the level it demands and deserves. The support seems to have waned throughout the District and within our governing body as well. For all the reasons mentioned above, I have put my name forward to fill the vacancy on the Board of Trustees for H4S and the Board will be recommending that the HOD approve my appointment at the Fall Convention.

I look forward to working with the current trustees to restore and renew the support for our beloved H4S and look forward to support in these endeavors, from all members.

Jim Finlay