When describing Marilyn Redekop, one could ponder long and hard about where to begin. Her life as a music teacher, conductor, theatre director, and community collaborator spans six decades, all within Manitoba. She speaks with great fondness about her years in Thompson, where she taught choral music, vocal jazz, and musical theatre at R.D. Parker Collegiate, and where she directed the Aurora Singers for 17 years. This intrepid group of women toured extensively, as far afield as Wales, UK, where they sang in the world-famous Eisteddfod International Music Festival. Upon her return to Winnipeg, Marilyn taught at Varennes School, and then at Glenlawn Collegiate until her retirement. What happened after retirement belies the meaning of the word.
Marilyn soon became a favourite guest conductor for Manitoba’s regional choirs. She assembled and conducted numerous vocal jazz ensembles: The Perfect Fifths, Take Five, Jazz Junction, Five of a Kind, Eight to the Bar, Jazzmyn, Wholly Jazz (CMU), VocalEase (UofM) and The Dubs (UofW). It was she who inspired Those Guys to become the a cappella group they are today, delighting audiences of all ages. She served as rehearsal pianist with the Winnipeg Singers for many years, and still sits on a committee that visits and evaluates high school productions competing for a Rainbow Stage scholarship. Within this musical whirlwind, Marilyn has taken time for one of her dearest interests --- volleyball. She has played, coached, and built various programs for young people, earning a much-deserved place in Manitoba’s Volleyball Hall of Fame.
Among the highly-admired contributions accorded Marilyn are those devoted to Manitoba Choral Association. Aside from being a board member, she chaired the Provincial Honour Choirs Committee from 2008-2021, years which saw the program grow steadily in size and success. Her regular presence at ChoralFest’s Vocal Jazz sessions was applauded by singers and conductors alike, many of whom consider her a mentor. She has lent her vision and expertise to other areas within MCA, and has been effective in bringing both emerging and veteran conductors into its programs. It needs to be added here, that Marilyn’s presence in a room and even the mention of her name kindles warm and affectionate reactions. Her encouraging nature, her genuine love for the “team”, her gift for lifting up the people she works with …. these qualities (and more) are why she is a beloved personality in our province. A life-time honorary membership in MCA is a small way in which we say a big THANK YOU to Marilyn!