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Women & Girls: Nickel City Sound a place for music and friendship

If you identify as a woman and have a song in your heart, Sudbury’s Nickel City Sound might be for you
Nickel City Sound, a four-part acapella chorus in Sudbury, seen here competing in Sandusky, Ohio in 2019.

If you identify as a woman and have a song in your heart, then you might be interested in Sudbury’s Nickel City Sound, a fixture in the community and a place to sing your heart out. 

And not even a pandemic can get in the way. 

Instead of staying cooped up, the group safely put together nine videos, held meetings by Zoom, and took their rehearsals to a parking lot. 

“We had parking lot rehearsals where everybody was in their cars and singing into microphones to keep their distance,” said Jennifer Huss, interim director, who’s been a member since 2013.  “It seems unreal now, but it's that we had to go to that extreme, but oh my gosh, the days that we did, everyone was dancing around on cloud nine.”

The members of Nickel City Sound perform as part of a four-part acapella chorus, and new members are always welcome. Image: Nickel City Sound

The chorus is about fun, expression and improving your craft, and while there are competitions, they are based on points, so singers aren’t competing against others, they are competing to better themselves.

Not only that, but the costumes are sensational, said Huss. 

And while music is their shared interest, it’s friendship that makes it fun, she said. 

“While we all have that common thing that binds us all together, that we love singing, we love music, but also, we love being together, we are such a diverse group of people that like any, anyone is welcome.”

In fact, welcoming and accessibility are part of their mandate, said Huss. Nickel City Sound is a part of Harmony Inc. Founded in 1959, Harmony, Inc. currently has more than 65 chapters and more than 2,000 members. 

“We are open and accepting to all sorts of different cultures, we show outstretched arms to every race and creed,” she said. 

That’s because Nickel City Sound is about the joy of song, and learning to work in a four-part acapella ‘barbershop’ chorus. And if you’d like to check it out, there are official guest nights, but Huss said new visitors are welcome any week. They rehearse every Tuesday at Lockerby Composite School, 

“If anybody wants to come out and see what it's all about, they can either just show up, or they can email us at [email protected]. And somebody will be in touch with the intro package,” said Huss.

Instead of staying cooped up during the pandemic, Nickel City Sound safely put together nine videos, held meetings by zoom, and took their rehearsals to a parking lot. Image: Nickel City Sound

There is a six-week onboarding program for new members, and if they are interested in becoming members, a small audition. “It’s very relaxed,” she said. “Just to see if the person who wants to join is able to sing against the four-part harmony.”

More than the perfect voice, Huss said they are looking for someone who can perform the song as much as sing it. 

“We pass the words over our heart before we let them out of our mouth,” she said. “We're telling a story and part of our practice is the emotion of the song.” 

And that’s what adds the entertainment value, said Huss, both for the chorus, and for the audience. 

Not only do they perform in competitions, but also, in smaller concerts like schools and retirement homes — which always come with a sing along. 

Nickel City Sound can also be book for private shows, like birthdays and Valentines Day, to help them fund their competitions. 

There is a fee for membership, which amounts to about $30 a month in addition to the occasional trip or costume, but Huss said part of their accessibility is being flexible to each member's situation. 

That’s because above all, Nickel City Sound is about celebrating music, friendship, and the diversity of the community they call home. 

You can find more information about Nickel City Sound on their website, found here

Jenny Lamothe is a reporter at Women & Girls is made possible by our Community Leaders Program.

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Jenny Lamothe

About the Author: Jenny Lamothe

Jenny Lamothe is a reporter with She covers the diverse communities of Sudbury, especially the vulnerable or marginalized.
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