No need to ask the Pender Harbour Choir if they were having a good time. The joy in their faces was apparent Sunday, May 16, when the 24-member choir was invited on stage to sing two numbers with the professional gospel group Circle of Voices. The resultant chorus of song animated the full house audience at the Pender Harbour School of Music in Madeira Park and set them clapping and swaying. "It was exciting," said long time choir member Ann Barker. "The choir gained a lot from it. It helped our confidence." Circle of Voices (soon to be called the Gospel Experience) is a popular act that returned to Pender Harbour by audience request. A core group of Marcus Mosely, Will Sanders, Candus Churchill, Lovie Eli and their pianist, vocalist and music director Gail Suderman delivered a vigorous, feel-good first set with some old favourites such as "Operator, Get Me Jesus on the Line" and other traditional gospel songs. Mosely and Eli are perhaps the most well known of the group after singing together for years in the Vancouver scene and having performed in the Fats Waller musical Ain't Misbehavin'. Eli, who also sings jazz, soul and R&B, was nominated for a Jessie award for her role in that musical, while Mosely has recently appeared in Showboat. On stage, the five singers seemed to enjoy each other's company, laughed at their own jokes and were quick to praise the audience as well as the Lord. After corresponding by email, the Pender Harbour Choir and the Circle of Voices had met just that morning to rehearse the old classic, "Wade in the Water." "They were such a quick study," said Mosely, who sounded delighted to be singing with the larger group.The choir has been in existence since 1973, first under the direction of Pender musician Les Fowler. It began as a women's choir and opened up to men in 1997 to sing an extensive repertoire from classics, jazz, folk and now gospel. The enthusiastic response to concerts drew the attention of highly qualified music director Dawn Drews, who led the choir until the current leader, Joe Hatherill, took over just last year. A professional musician and teacher from London, Hatherill is also a jazz musician who plays sax and clarinet. "The choir is truly just for fun," says Barker, although some of the group has had more formal training in voice. Several of the members are so keen they travel up from Gibsons for rehearsal weekly. The choir rarely performs anywhere other than their home base, although they have made one appearance at the Arts Centre. They are planning another concert, Pender Harbour Choir and Friends, on Saturday, June 19, at 7:30 p.m. at the Music School in Madeira Park. Tickets are $5 and are available from Talewind Books in Sechelt, Harbour Insurance and at the door.