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Explore | Experience | Expand


MCA has invited choral arts specialists from Manitoba, Canada, and the USA to present on topics such as Indigenous protocols for choirs, embracing and encouraging cultural diversity in choir, decentralizing power structures, working with transgender voices, decolonizing the choir practice, challenging gendered performance attire, accessibility for choirs, health and well-being, social justice, and more. You won't want to miss these sessions!


Gratitude Song Project

Cory Campbell, Traditional Drummer & Singer

May 26, 5:30pm

Join Traditional Anishinaabe drummer and singer Cory Campbell as he teaches his original song, Gratitude. Gratitude is dedicated to reconciliation and healing that was originally commissioned by the U of M Concert Choir. It has been gifted to all Manitoba singers and is published through a series of videos on the MCA resources page. It expresses a spirit of profound thanks in the languages of the Traditional Peoples of Manitoba: Anishininiwak, Dakota, Dene, Ininiwak, Anishinaabeg, and the Red River Métis Nation. Cory will relate his own understandings as well as teachings that have come to him in conversation with Language Keepers as he composed the song. Attendees can then bring this song to their choirs with a deeper understanding of the intentions behind the projects and connect with each other, song-maker to singer, human to human.


Melanie DeMore, Vocal Activist (San Francisco, CA)

May 26, 7:00 - 9:00pm & May 27, 9:00am

These sessions will speak to those who have longed to raise their voices with power, determination and energy. Participants will learn songs from various vocal and communal traditions and how to sing from and with their whole selves. Through a series of vocal, verbal and physical warm-up techniques, participants will learn how to fire up their inner and outer voices. These sessions will help revitalize and inspire you to sing from the inside out. Whether yours is a choir that specializes in traditional choral singing or Gospel and everything in between, Full Body Forward! will take you to the next level.

Sound, Listening, and Group Creativity: Exercises, Games, and Practices

Doug Friesen, Arts Educator & Musician (Toronto, ON)

May 27, 10:00am

Together, we'll try out exercises and games for listening and sounding that encourage creativity and improvisation in groups. We will think about how these practices might help us think beyond some of our defaults and what role they might play in breaking up the colonial patterns that are still often at the centre of institutional music education and choral practices.

Accessibility for Choirs

Jenel Shaw, Executive Director, Arts AccessAbility Network of MB

May 27, 11:00am

Join Jenel Shaw, executive director of Arts AccessAbility Network Manitoba, as she discusses ableism and the steps you can take to create a more accessible experience at choral events. This talk will cover accessibility considerations for the Deaf, Blind, Physically Disabled and those diagnosed with intellectual disabilities. Learn how you can be an ally to the Deaf and disabled community! Note: ASL-English interpretation will be provided for this session.

Moving Beyond “Indigenous Inclusion” in Music

Nicole Stonyk, Graduate Student, University of Manitoba

May 27, 1:00pm

Looking around the concert scene, you may have noticed a large uptick in Indigenous performances, ranging from insertion of Indigenous performances into concert programs to guest Indigenous artists to full-scale Indigenous-based productions. Many concert programs even claim acts of reconciliation as their motivating factor. How can reconciliation be measured? How might reconciliatory acts be perpetuating harm? What would it mean to move beyond the performance as an “end product”? Perhaps these questions might relate not the music itself but instead the way we engage with it. This talk offers ways in which to (re)think and (re)engage in the music process while expanding dialogue towards transformative change of action.

Educational Workshop on First Nations Traditional Singing

Walking Wolf, Ray "Coco" Stevenson, Traditional Drummer & Singer

May 27, 2:00pm

Join Walking Wolf, Ray “Coco” Stevenson as he shares Traditional Teachings regarding the significance and history of various song forms. Songs are sung in ceremony for healing and for celebration. Some songs honour individuals at events and acknowledge different traditional roles and responsibilities. As Coco says, “There is a song for everything. For everything and everyone that lives on Mother Earth.” All participants will learn an original song of Coco’s in the workshop.

Choir as a Gender-Affirming Space

Roan Regan & Caleb Rondeau, Choral Singers

May 27, 3:00pm

Roan and Caleb will share their choral experiences as a jumping off point to allow attendees to reflect on gender in the context of choral singing and how to support gender diverse singers in choir. Join us to discuss topics such as gender diversity, avoiding the use of gendered language, challenging gendered performance attire, and more.

Collaborative Songwriting: An Approach to Writing Songs with your Choir

Doug Friesen, Arts Educator & Musician (Toronto, ON)

May 27, 4:00pm

In this session we will explore an approach to collective songwriting with your choirs. We will make use of a resource created by Doug and Paul Linklater for the Corporation of Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall. With your participation, Doug will show you how to write chord progressions, lyrics, and how to put them all together into a song.

Closing Event

An evening of socializing and music-making

May 27, 7:00pm - 10:00pm

Join colleagues and BEYOND session collaborators for an event wrap-up party at the St. Norbert Arts Centre! There will be music-making, lively discussion, and time to socialize over food and drink around the fire, the SNAC property, and the monastery ruins. Attendees are welcome to invite family and friends to this event; individual tickets may be purchased separately. Please dress for the weather! Note: Ticket includes snacks and 1 complimentary drink ticket. Both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages will be available for purchase.


Join us for this exciting event! Registration for the full event starts at just $165 for adults and $100 for students. Plus, MCA Individual and Student Members receive $15 off of the Full Event registration fee!


Register before April 15 and take advantage of our early bird pricing. Registration closes May 21, 2023.

Can't come for the whole weekend? No problem! Register for the event portions you are able to attend. Or register to receive recordings of the sessions afterwards (note: the sessions will not be livestreamed).


MCA seeks to make our programming accessible to all Manitobans, regardless of financial situation. If cost is a barrier for you, we encourage you to apply for a MCA Program Bursary to cover a portion or all of your registration fee. A limited number of bursaries are available each year.

Click here to download the application form

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