03/06/2015 06:30 EST | Updated 05/06/2015 05:59 EDT

Julie Grammond has found a musical community at Lakeshore Light Opera

When 31-year-old Julie Grammond moved to the West Island to work as a funeral director, little did she know she’d find a musical community as well as employment.

Grammond is from St-Théodore d’Acton, a village near Victoriaville. 

She studied music at CÉGEP St-Laurent in Montreal but then decided to train as a thanatologist.

Last fall, Grammond started to work at the family-owned Voluntas Commemoration Funeral Home in Kirkland, Que. She wanted to work for a small business that was embedded in the community.

Just two days later, a client told her about the Lakeshore Light Opera (LLO) company and suggested the former singer come to audition.

“So I went and fell in love with the spirit of the place. It really feels like a family. It's hard coming to a new place not knowing anyone. I'm a very shy person but everyone was so warm and welcoming even though they didn't know me at all 15 minutes earlier.”

Now Julie is in the chorus and the understudy for one of the leads in this year's production of The Pirates of Penzance.

Cameron Black is vice president of the LLO and sings the role of Major General Stanley, the rather pompous Major General who leads a bevvy of young ladies to an island inhabited by orphaned pirates  

For his day job, Black is a research scientist in the pharmaceutical industry.

He too was looking for community when he auditioned first in 2004.

“People find this amazing family type atmosphere and it becomes a social outlet. We get together for cast and Christmas parties, we go carolling at the Lakeshore Hospital at Christmas. Often times this becomes their closest circle of friends because after you’ve been changing out of your smelly costume in a group changing room with these people you tend to develop a certain close friendship that will carry into other parts of your life.”

Lakeshore Light Opera opens its production of The Pirates of Penzance Friday, March 6th at Louise Chalmers Theatre in Pointe-Claire.

- Listen to Julie Grammond's story Friday morning at 7:40 on CBC Daybreak.