The idea for WomEnchant grew out of a conversation between two women waiting for a concert to start at the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival. One of those women was Laura Thomas who, upon returning home, convinced a number of friends and acquaintances in the Hamilton area to join her in starting a choir with a feminist and social justice perspective. WomEnchant Chorus was formed in 1993 with the dual mission of (a) promoting peace, social justice, respect for the Earth and positive changes in the world through the power of sisterhood and song; and (b) supporting women writers, composers, arrangers and performers.
Under the leadership of Laura Thomas, WomEnchant Chorus developed into a community ensemble made up of women with a wide variety of backgrounds and musical experience. Distinctive purple vests with rainbow colours on the reverse, signifying respect for all people, were created for performances. The choir rehearsed and performed in the Hamilton area for 10 years before moving to Grimsby to accommodate members from the Burlington, Hamilton and Niagara areas.
Several choristers expressed interest in learning to play the hand drums that Ms. Thomas played to accompany some of the choir's repertoire. As a result, in 2007, the WomEnchant drumming group was formed to give women the opportunity to learn about and perform on hand drums. The drumming group has become an integral part of the ensemble, performing with the choir and independently.
Since 1993, WomEnchant Chorus & Drummers has participated in many events centered around women's equality, anti-violence, peace, social justice and care of the Earth. We have performed at:
- International Women’s Day celebrations;
- Take Back The Night rallies;
- Benefits for women’s shelters;
- V-Day anti-violence events;
- Fundraisers for various social justice organizations;
- Earth Day celebrations and events supporting environmental concerns;
- Niagara Leadership Summit for Women;
- World AIDS Day benefit concerts in support of the Stephen Lewis Foundation.
We have featured women performers at our concerts including: Woman to Woman Chorus (Cambridge), Queenston Ladies Chorus (Niagara), Lucie Blue Tremblay, Faith Nolan, sisterLune, Teresa Holierhoek, Leanne Vida and Carly Manley.
WomEnchant Chorus has had the honour of singing at notable historical celebrations including the 160th Anniversary of the First Women's Rights Convention (Seneca Falls, NY, in 2008) and the 100th Anniversary of Harriet Tubman's Memorial (Salem Chapel, B.M.E. Church, St. Catharines, in 2013).
WomEnchant Chorus & Drummers continues to grow, helping our community and enjoying singing and drumming together. We remain committed to performing music that gives voice to women's experience and that demonstrates the power of sisterhood and song to make positive changes in our community and beyond.