Amabile is an Italian word that simply means “friendly”… and it’s really how Amabile began. At the end of the 1985 London Kiwanis Music Festival, local music teachers Brenda Zadorsky and John Barron took their respective choral groups – who had competed against each other – for ice cream at what is now known as Cherryhill Village Mall, to celebrate. The 27 girls with cones in hand, wandered onto a set of risers and just for fun, this impromptu group sang. The voices blended beautifully, and that fall, Amabile Youth Singers were born.
The story as confirmed by the mom of two of our choristers (who was one of the 27 singers) goes that the song they sang was the competition piece – in Polish. A family of new Canadians who had emigrated from Poland happened to be wandering through the mall, with Grandma who had come for a visit. In a faraway land with signs that she couldn’t read, she happened across 27 girls singing a folk song that she grew up singing…. And she stood, captivated, with tears streaming down her face.
That spur-of-the-moment performance 30 years ago after an ice cream celebration, laid the foundation for what is now, almost 300 choristers in eight different choirs – boys and girls, from age 8 to adults, who sing in a myriad of different languages – including Polish.