“They are clean drinking songs,” says Barbara Chamberlin, half laughing and half pleading. “There is such a thing.”

The conductor of the Whitehorse Community Choir was explaining the name of the spring concert, All Hands On Deck, and wanted to ensure audiences knew that this would be clean fun.

Chamberlin, who collects songs throughout the year and is prepared for any direction her muse takes her, has found that sea shanties and drinking songs were “an interesting take on different songs I wanted to do.”

These are songs of the sea and those who are most intimate with the sea like to sing sea shanties and drinking songs.

Some songs, like What Do You Do With A Drunken Sailor, have been cleaned up. But most were fine already.

There is even Under the Sea from Disney’s Little Mermaid.

There will also be Jamaican Market Place and a song Chamberlin always wanted to do,Jamaica Farewell.

Bringing a tear to the eyes of homesick “Bluenosers” will be Farewell to Nova Scotia.

There are river songs, too, like Were You Ever In Rio Grande.

“It was really fun to pick out the songs,” says Chamberlin. “There are a lot to choose from.”

She has been searching online at sheet music companies and the choir’s own library of past songs.

“I got a good variety and had a big stack; first I get the ones that are well-arranged and then the hard part: picking out the good ones.”

For the elite Persephone Singers, the women’s choir, there is a “wind song” called V’la L’bon Vent (Here Comes the Good Wind).

A new chamber choir – so new that it doesn’t even have a name yet – will be singing the more challenging Shenadoah and South Australia.

“These are the best of the best,” says Chamberlin of the five altos, five sopranos, four tenors and four bass. “They do the more difficult stuff.”

The spring concert, All Hands On Deck, will be Friday and Saturday, May 2 and 3, at 8 p.m. at the Yukon Arts Centre. Tickets are available at Arts Underground and the Yukon Arts Centre Box Office.


PHOTO: BRUCE BARRETT