Morinville resident Joe Sinclair performs a country number with members of HOJA Friday night. – Stephen Dafoe Photos

by Stephen Dafoe

Calgary-based HOJA, a three member a capella group consisting of performers Matt Deroche, Dave Yurkewich, and Daniel Fong, opened this year’s Lite Up the Nite festival with an hour-long performance that earned the performers a much-deserved standing ovation and the audience an encore number.

Known to many children in the community for their school performances, the Friday evening show was the group’s first time on the cultural centre stage. The performance of songs from the 1950s to the present day was well-received by the mixed age audience.

Each member of the group took the front line as they demonstrated their individual and collective talents through bass lines, lead vocals, tenor and baritone parts, instrument sounds and sound effects.

The group began 16 years ago performing at Christmas parties, community events, and corporate functions. Over the past decade-and-a-half, the group has seen some 34 singers perform under the HOJA banner, each bringing their own songs and styles.

Despite the heavy snow and sub-zero temperatures, Friday night’s show drew an audience of approximately 150 adults and children.

The group also took time to do impromptu performances at Heritage Lodge and outside Sobeys prior to their evening show.

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