High notes and hard hats: The Men of the Deeps look to add new voices – by Erin Pottie (CBC News Nova Scotia – February 26, 2021)


Interest shown from mine workers who spent time in western Canada and at idled Donkin mine

The Men of the Deeps want to add new voices to their singing ensemble. But unlike many choirs around the continent, this group has a prerequisite — coal mining experience.

Ernie Kliza, who sings baritone in the group, said members serve as ambassadors to the island’s mining history and folklore. “It’s a similar camaraderie to when we actually worked in the mines, like each person watching over the other person,” said Kliza, who worked in the mining industry for 23 years.

“The singing and the storytelling is to perpetuate the various events that took place over the last hundreds of years.”

‘Chill up a person’s backbone’

A cornerstone of their performances centre on educating young children and the public about the struggles faced, as mine owners controlled almost every aspect of a coal miner’s life in the early 1900s.

The work itself was grueling and dangerous, and resulted in the loss of many lives. Two of the most recognizable songs sung are Working Man, written by late Big Pond singer Rita MacNeil, and Rise Again, written by Sydney composer Leon Dubinsky.

For the rest of this article: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/men-of-the-deeps-seek-members-1.5929125