REACH! Performing Company rehearses every Thursday at the Saanich Commonwealth Place. (Submitted)

Diverse musical group REACH! to play Sidney Days celebrations

What better way to acknowledge Canada’s birthday than with a performance from a group that celebrates integration and age diversity, cultures and abilities?

This year’s Sidney Days will feature REACH! Performing Company. Half of the 25-member group have a disability including cerebral palsy, autism, Down Syndrome, blindness and a number of other developmental challenges.

REACH! is a part of the newly-registered nonprofit West Coast Reach Association. Sidney local Anne-Marie Brimacombe is the group’s musical and artistic director and her husband Peter Brimacombe is the musical arranger. The pair founded REACH! this year, inspired by the success of a similar program they created in the past in Tobago.

Valerie Berben, from Deep Cove, has always belonged to a choir so when Anne-Marie asked her to join REACH! she was interested.

“I had never worked with anyone with special needs before … but each week, I got a better feeling as it went on. I just think it was watching the joy – the look on their faces and seeing how much they enjoyed it,” Berben says.

Berben performs closely with a young adult who is wheelchair bound due to multiple sclerosis. Berben helps her with the choreography and pushes her wheelchair when needed.

“I can’t help but look over at her and see how happy she is and how inspiring she is. It’s almost like I’m fighting back the tears,” she says.

The group rehearses and performs original songs that Berben says are inspiring and uplifting.

“I find the songs so powerful. You relate the lyrics to the people who are singing them and it’s like, wow. The theme song called ‘Reach’ – if you listen to the lyrics it’s about reaching out to others. It’s also open for interpretation. I look at the song like it’s about reaching personal goals,” she says.

The Sidney Days performance starts at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, June 30 at the Beacon Avenue Bandshell in Sidney.

Just Posted

Emily Carr Quartet to perform in Sooke

Show begins at 7 p.m. at the Sooke Harbour House on Feb. 28

Celebrating the heroic dogs of Saanich past

Cedar Hill exhibit features great dogs of history

Rookie boxer gains new self-confidence

After ten weeks of training ‘Killer’ Gibson is ‘unstoppable’

City grants 10-year tax ‘holiday’ for luxury condo building

$5.4-million tax break will offset Custom House heritage redevelopment

Police still searching for missing Langford teen

Ashley Garland could be using the alias Michelle Adams

Therapy dogs make appearance at B.C. Games

The St. John’s Ambulance therapy dog program launches a pilot project at the 2018 Kamloops B.C. Winter Games

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Czechmate: Canada wins men’s Olympic hockey bronze

Vernon’s Andrew Ebbett scores twice as Canada beats Czech Republic 6-4

Canucks fold 5-3 in first ever trip to Vegas

Daniel Sedin had two points as Canucks fall to the Golden Knights Friday night

That’s a wrap: B.C. Games results after Day 1

Vancouver-Coastal Zone 5 is in the lead for medals Friday at the Kamloops 2018 B.C. Winter Games

Sticking the landing at the B.C. Games

Gymnasts talk competition, B.C. Winter Games, and teamwork in Kamloops

$153M in federal cash to fund child care, education training in B.C.

Bilateral agreement will create 1,370 new infant and toddler spaces

A B.C. woman talks her life in the sex trade

A view into the life from one Kelowna prostitute and the issues it can cause for women

Twitter feed prays for — instead of preying on — B.C. MLAs

Non-partisan Christian group wants to support politicians through personalized prayer

Most Read