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Thoughts from our ARM Chapter 3 President, Lee Ferguson

Our Executive have been busy in the last few weeks updating our members’ contact information and delivering the OSSTF masks, pens and styli. If we missed you, please email me for your mask.

A woman in Britain today received the first vaccination to prevent the covid virus. Wow, this was truly a milestone on Dec. 8! Now there is a light at the end of the tunnel. It will be up to each of us to step up to the plate to get the vaccine which will protect our family, friends, neighours and ourselves. This will bring us back to some normalcy, hopefully sooner than later.

Wishing you all a good and healthy Christmas time. It will be a different one from past years but keeping safe is so important right now.

What have ARM members been up to lately?
Marisa Costanzo, Martha Walli, Nancy Albanese and Barb Hamilton (all from Rainbow DSB, and members of Nickel City Sound Barbershop Chorus)

“Young at Heart for Singing Keeps Us Young” from Harmony Creed

by Marisa Costanzo, ARM Chapter 3 Member-at-Large

“We have two green lights. May I have the doors closed, please?” The sound of staccato clapping builds to a fever pitch. “Representing Area 5 and Sudbury, Ontario, under the direction of Jennifer Huss and Martha Walli, Nickel City Sound!” And so begins the 6 minute culmination of months of practice and hard work which has brought Sudbury women’s barbershop chorus, Nickel City Sound, to the contest stage. Nerves are reigned in as we emote and sell our two-song package to the assembled 6 judges and audience, mostly made up of sister-barbershoppers, family and friends.

I first joined Nickel City Sound (NCS) in 2004, after having considered the prospect over many years. I didn’t know what I was missing! A number of my colleagues were members and I would often hear from them during the annual membership drive for the chorus. But it was after meeting a fellow Reach For the Top coach from another board that I was finally encouraged to attend a guest night. I have never looked back.

Nickel City Sound is a competitive women’s barbershop chorus that sings beautiful music in the acapella style. Women from twenty to seventy years old comprise the chorus. We are part of an organization called Harmony Incorporated that has chapters along the eastern seaboard of the U.S. and Canada. Each chapter is part of an area and Nickel City Sound is part of Area 5, which includes all Ontario choruses. That’s right….we are a chorus, not a choir! Each spring we compete at the Area level in order to earn enough points to win an invitation to compete at the International Convention and Contest in the fall. As we prepare for Contest, we learn our two-song package and consult a variety of coaches to help us polish our sound and performance. There is always so much to learn! This pursuit of excellence transfers to the rest of our repertoire, allowing us to proudly showcase our sound at various singouts in the Sudbury community. We also plan our own annual Christmas Show and/or Spring Show. All of these activities come with a sense of excitement and pride as we stand on the stage and pour our hearts out. Some of us have never sung in public before, having limited our one-woman shows to our car and shower only. The level of camaraderie as we sing, rehearse, travel, fund-raise and perform together is second to none. It’s also great to be part of an organization with so many opportunities to grow as an individual, not just in terms of performance, but through the many leadership opportunities available at the Chapter, Area or International level. Some women even gain enough confidence to form their own quartet and really let their inner diva shine!

The emotional and physical benefits of choral singing are well-documented. Learning and singing new music keeps your mind active and can help those suffering from dementia. The social connection helps to reduce stress and can improve your immune system. Making a commitment to a new hobby brings you out of your comfort zone and provides a sense of fulfillment. Above all, singing in a chorus can improve your happiness and well-being.

And it’s a blast! The women of NCS are fun-loving, committed to their music, multi-talented and supportive of each other. In these days of COVID, our resilience has been especially tested. Like everyone else, we have experienced a big change in our relationship with technology. From Zoom rehearsals to parking lot rehearsals, keeping socially distant and safe while singing has been a major challenge. Motivation is encouraged through work on ‘virtual’ projects and recordings and the addition of weekly ukulele lessons to any member who is interested….all on-line of course! We have even developed a new Virtual Membership Drive in order to recruit women who would like to be a part of somethingspecial and stay connected to the outside world until we can once again sing safely together in person. 

Many retired teachers are strong supporters of the arts in Sudbury. Since becoming a member of Nickel City Sound, it quickly became clear that the arts community in this city is a very closely knit one. It’s wonderful to be on the same bill as some of the other talented musicians that we have listened to and enjoyed for so many years. Contributing something as unique as barbershop music to Sudbury culture comes with feelings of gratitude and joy. 

If you are ready to emerge from the shower and step onto the stage, Nickel City Sound is always looking for female voices. There’s a space on the riser for you. Sparkly costumes provided. Sequins mandatory.

*Performances by the Nickel City Sound Barbershop Chorus and quartets will be presented on Eastlink, Channel 610 on Saturday, December 19th, 2020. 

Research: Singing Improves Health & Happiness

Health Benefits of Singing 

Click and give a listen to Sudbury’s own Nickel City Sound.
Make sure your speakers are on!
Learning To Make Do
by Carolyn Otto, ARM Communications
As much as it has been a very challenging year, 2020 has brought some benefits. During this strange time I’ve learned a great many things. I’ve learned about my home, my city, my environment and yes, I’ve learned a few things about myself in 2020 too. 
I learned that although I love my family and friends, I am content to be on my own for periods of time. And though it isn’t perfect, I love my home, but I get restless, and when that happens, I love to hike. Hiking this fall has taken me places I’ve never been. Literally and emotionally. It has given me time to really think. I have enjoyed the socially-distanced company of good friends, and good conversation along the trail without the encumbrance of trying to speak through masks. I have been able to enjoy more fresh air and exercise through the cool, fall weather than I’ve had since childhood! 
An unexpected benefit of my time out in nature this year is that I have developed a curiosity about the edible and medicinal plants in our region. I began to research the do’s and don’ts of foraging. One of our natural consumable resources that I have learned how to identify, harvest and prepare, is the chaga fungus (see photo above) from our local birch trees. Many people believe that the consumption of chaga tea or the use of tinctures may be a potent support to immune and cardiovascular health. This fungus, which thrives on trees of the birch family in northern climates, is believed to be anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and supports healthy blood sugar levels. It is also thought to contain more than 30 times the antioxidant properties of blueberries. Dried chaga “mushroom” is said to have been used in Russia and Northern Europe for hundreds of years. Of course, you should always consider any pre-existing conditions and consult your health provider before trying any wild edibles. For more information on chaga, click:

Did you get yours?
Members of the ARM Chapter 3 Executive have been doing a “phone-around” to check in with everyone, and then dropping off these gift packages lately. If you missed our call and/or your mask package, just drop us an email at We’d love to connect with you and confirm that we have your correct contact information.

“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”
- Mae West


A few moments for you to enjoy.

Gently falling snow, by a quiet lake
   ....or, if you need a warmer ambience...
Waves on a tropical beach.

Relaxing Holiday Music, perfect for an afternoon of reading or for ambience during dinner (8 hrs.)


What will your retirement look like? Look forward to these moments knowing you’re protected with the most flexible health, dental and travel insurance for the retired education community from ARM. #OTIPupdate

Farewell Friends,
until we meet again.


June Sceviour

*Please let us know if you have news of a colleague who has passed away.

“If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”
- Mark Twain


The view in our own backyard, here in Northeastern Ontario.
See any familiar faces?

L to R: Carolyn Lane-Rock, Rachelle Urso, Carolyn Otto, Judy Tarves-Elliot, Bonnie Depencier
and “The Quackers”


“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” 
- Maya Angelou


Driving in the rain? How to avoid hydroplaning and control your vehicle

Hydroplaning occurs when a layer of water comes between your car’s tires and the road, causing your car to skid or slide across a wet surface. Even for the most experienced driver, this loss of steering and braking control can be a terrifying experience with potentially disastrous consequences.  

Learn more at


On Tuesday, January 19th at 10 am, ARM Chapter 3 and OTIP present,
A Review of OTIP Benefits for ARM Subscribers,
during which George Ng will outline the 2021 OTIP Benefits Package and answer questions from members. Please reserve your spot in the online webinar by clicking here and completing the RSVP Form:

*Be sure to click “Submit” at the end of the form when finished.

Things to do and places to be...

A few things to think about...
(click the underlined link.)



Get the scoop! You could win a $500 gift card AND be the first to know about OTIP’s latest contests, special offers & insurance news. To enter, subscribe to OTIP’s e-communications — a winner is drawn each month and the next one could be you! #OTIPUpdate

Sit back and take a virtual trip with your friends at ARM

Let’s take an evening walk around Portofino, Italy. Click the photo to begin.

T’was a month before Christmas,
And all through the town,
People wore masks,
That covered their frown.

The frown had begun
Way back in the Spring,
When a global pandemic
Changed everything.

They called it corona,
But unlike the beer,
It didn’t bring good times,
It didn’t bring cheer.

Contagious and deadly,
This virus spread fast,
Like a wildfire that starts
When fueled by gas.

Airplanes were grounded,
Travel was banned.
Borders were closed
Across air, sea and land.

As the world entered lockdown
To flatten the curve,
The economy halted,
And folks lost their verve.

From March to July
We rode the first wave,
People stayed home,
They tried to behave.

When summer emerged
The lockdown was lifted.
But away from caution,
Many folks drifted.

Now it’s November
And cases are spiking,
Wave two has arrived,
Much to our disliking.
Frontline workers,
Doctors and nurses,
Try to save people,
From riding in hearses.

This virus is awful,
This COVID-19.
There isn’t a cure.
There is no vaccine.

It’s true that this year
Has had sadness a plenty,
We’ll never forget
The year 2020.

And just ‘round the corner -
The holiday season,
But why be merry?
Is there even one reason?

To decorate the house
And put up the tree,
When no one will see it,
No-one but me.

But outside my window
The snow gently falls,
And I think to myself,
Let’s deck the halls!

So, I gather the ribbon,
The garland and bows,
As I play those old carols,
My happiness grows.

Christmas ain’t cancelled
And neither is hope.
If we lean on each other,
I know we can cope.

Jesus is the reason for the season!!

-Author Unknown
Find other amusing versions of this poem here: 
Just a reminder: It’s time to renew your ARM membership.
If you haven’t already done so, It’s easy to set up automatic renewal.

Go to

ARM OSSTF Chapter 3 Executive

President: Lee Ferguson -

Vice President: Bob Smith - 

Secretary/Treasurer: Val Lalonde -

Media/Communications: Carolyn Otto -

Events: Pat Miller -

Hospitality: Sylvia Bass -

Members-At-Large - Josée Blais, Marisa Costanzo, Denis Plouffe, Rachelle Urso

*Please note: 

  • If your contact information should change, please send your new details to
    Bob at

  • If you have a submission for a future issue of the ARM Chapter 3 The Tumbler, please send it to Carolyn at We welcome your thoughts on favourite books, movies, activities, hobbies, photos, etc.

Active Retired Members of OSSTF: OTIP Info -

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