Highs and Lows mental-health choir seeks to build community with annual fundraiser July 21

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      A small but mighty choir group is hoping Vancouver will help it out with a funding shortfall.

      On July 21, the Highs and Lows mental-health choir is inviting people to the Saint Columba Presbyterian Church for an evening of music, raffle prizes, and a simple community get together.

      "We're people with a mental illness, people with experience with a mental illness, and friends and allies as well," Penny Goldsmith, choir chair and a singing member of the group, told the Straight.

      She noted the choir once received funding from Vancouver Coastal Health, but the regional health authority ended its support for the group, and so it now depends on annual fundraisers and donations from the public.

      Goldsmith said the choir is all about community.

      "A lot of people have barriers going out into the world when they have mental-health issues, and this choir allows them to come and just have a good time," she explained. "You can be sitting at home all week and then when it comes to a choir day, you know that you've got friends. That you're going somewhere where it's safe, where you've got friends, and where you can sing."

      The Highs and Lows Choir's annual fundraiser for 2018 is scheduled for July 21 at 6:30 p.m. at the Saint Columba Presbyterian Church at 2196 East 44th Avenue. Tickets will be available at the door for a suggested donation of $20 or "whatever you can afford".