September 18, 2014 - 2:30 PM
ARMSTRONG - A group of fearless ladies are baring it all as calendar girls to raise money for a desperately needed piece of hospital equipment.
The women are all members of Armstrong’s Tapestry Ladies Choir, made up of around 40 singers in their 30s to their 70s and the fundraiser is aptly called Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.
Choir conductor Deborah Mehes says it all started with a visit to Vernon Jubilee Hospital’s mammography clinic, where the technician explained how badly they needed a new digital machine for locating and diagnosing breast tumors. The conversation stuck with Mehes, but it wasn’t until she came up with this season’s theme—calendar girls—and learned of a choir member’s new photography business that an idea formed.
“It just went ‘click’ we could actually make this happen,” Mehes says.
Amy Bell of Cherry Kiss Pin Up Photography was more than willing to get behind the camera, the hard part was finding women to pose in front of it. The style would be fun, flirty and a bit risqué, similar to those in the 2003 film Calendar Girls.
“I was a bit shy about suggesting it,” Mehes says. “Some of my girls are a bit conservative.”
Mehes called a meeting after choir practice and about half the ladies stayed and were brave enough to participate. They decided each willing singer would be featured on their birthday month with a fitting song lyric added to the image. Bell handled the hair, make-up, wardrobe and props. If the women were nervous before the shoot, all anxiety turned to fun once they got going.
“In some ways, I think it felt much safer than performing, because we trusted Amy, we knew she would make us look as good as it was possible to make us look,” Mehes says. “Let me tell you, photoshop is very much a girl’s best friend, especially a girl 50 plus.”
Some women opted to wear clothes while others chose to have nothing but a prop between themselves and the camera. The cover features several singers in a mock choir practice; their bosoms obscured only by sheet music. They were all supposed to bring their choir folders, but no one remembered.
“Another gal came straight from church, it was a Sunday. She ran out and got her church choir music,” Mehes says. “Those hymns have never had so much fun.”
Tapestry is more than just a choir; it’s a group of caring women who will always be there for one another. The fundraiser has taken on a deeper meaning because one of the singers is going through treatment for breast cancer.
“If anyone in the choir is going through a hard time or loss, or crisis of any kind, members are always there to give love and support in any way they can,” Mehes says.
The $18 calendars are on sale at a variety of locations in Armstrong, including the Brown Derby Cafe, Chocoliro, Country Comfort Esthetics, For Your Eyes Only Gift Gallery, Armstrong Collision, Shepherd’s Outdoor Living and Your Dollar Store With More. In Enderby you can pick one up at Hungry Jack’s, Key Team Realty, Sticks and Stones Pottery, Enderby Autobody and the health unit. In Vernon, they can be found at the Vernon Jubilee Hospital gift shop and Bra Heaven.
All proceeds after printing and photography costs are covered will go towards the new digital mammography machine.
You can catch Tapestry’s next performance this winter at the Centennial Theatre.
Deborah Mehes and the Tapestry Ladies Choir released a fun calendar to raise money for a new mammography machine at Vernon Jubilee Hospital.
(CHARLOTTE HELSTON /InfoTel Multimedia)
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