‘Home Cookin’ has its roots in a course called “Harmony for the Fun of It” — created some years ago by Dale Rasmussen — intended for those people who just like to sing without necessarily having to rehearse for a performance. Classes have continued to this day in Ken McLaren’s house, with a set taking place three times a year. Participation is limited only by the number of chairs in Ken’s inventory: reliably, 25 or so people show up for each set and, while new faces always appear, a good number of “regulars” keep coming back for more.
Over the years Home Cookin’ has evolved its own distinctive culture. On Thursday nights the group arranges itself in sections around Ken’s living room. The sopranos, who are particularly sensitive to cold, sit in front of the fireplace. The Altos cluster by the front door, presumably so they can escape quickly if the sopranos take the melody line too often. The tenors congregate in the corner by the stereo, which they tend to use as their personal karaoke machine. The basses are an exception; there is no room for them in the living room so they are relegated to the kitchen, behind Karla at her keyboard but strategically close to the food table and the washroom. At Ken’s place the kitchen is a step up from the living room so the bass section is referred to as “Bass Mountain.”
Ah yes, the food table. Each Thursday quite mysteriously and without fail one or more of the group brings goodies – never too little and never too much – to share with everyone else at the halftime break. This is why, when performing eventually did come into the picture and the group thus needed a name, “Home Cookin’” was the natural choice.
Along with the name, Home Cookin’ has gone through a few other changes. Dale moved to the interior of BC, handing the baton (and keyboard) over to Karla. The group now joins with Harmony Mountain Singers and others in biannual benefit concerts at St. Clements Church in North Vancouver. Throughout the changes and the years, Home Cookin’ remains what it was at the outset: “harmony for the fun of it.”