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Choir is Alive and Well in Manitoba

ChoralFest 2023 proves that Manitoba is indeed The Singing Province

 

Manitoba Choral Association (MCA) was pleased to once again hold our flagship festival for the province’s choral community from November 13-21. The 37th Annual ChoralFest saw 112 choirs participate, representing over 4,000 singers from all over the province. Every November, ChoralFest brings choirs together to perform and learn more about music from choral and vocal jazz clinicians from Manitoba and across North America.  


“For most singing groups, ChoralFest is the first performance of the year,” said Jenny Steinke-Magnus, MCA’s Executive Director. “For this reason, we really emphasize the non-competitive and educational component of our festival and encourage groups to attend even if they do not feel performance ready.”


 

The festival includes all levels and styles of choral singing, and our clinicians work with each group at its own level. “We were so excited to see even more choirs attend this year’s festival,” said Steinke-Magnus. “Traditional choirs of all ages, vocal jazz ensembles, and even barbershop groups had the opportunity to learn, grow and develop their singing skills and techniques at ChoralFest. We were also excited to offer the ChoralFest experience to middle years choirs both in-school and at the ChoralFest venue. We even had a middle years vocal jazz ensemble take part!"

 

This year, MCA welcomed choral specialists from across Canada and USA to work with choirs, including: Michelle Chyzyk (Virden, MB), Dr. Adam Con (Victoria, BC), Karly Epp (Winnipeg), Nedra Francis (Winnipeg), Dr. Elroy Friesen (Winnipeg), Christine Guter (CA, USA), Philip Lapatha (Winnipeg), Jamond McCoy (CA, USA), Kristel Peters (Winnipeg), Janna Reid (Winnipeg)​, and Dr. Catherine Robbins (Winnipeg).



ChoralFest Hits the Road!

MCA was pleased to expand ChoralFest to around the province this year and brought ChoralFest to the Norman, Parkland, and Westman regions for the first time.

 

“Not all choirs have the resources or time to travel to Winnipeg for ChoralFest,” Steinke-Magnus explained. “We want to ensure that all Manitoba choirs can participate in our programming and this initiative was a great step towards that goal.”

ChoralFest regional tour clinicians, Dr. Elroy Friesen and Dr. Catherine Robbins, travelled throughout the province to facilitate clinics to schools, music classes, community choirs and singing groups. The pilot project was met with resounding support from regional groups. One choral director remarked, “Having a guest clinician coming in to work with my choir for 90 minutes really provided my students with an enhanced perspective about choral singing.”

 

MCA was thrilled to connect with singing groups to offer meaningful programming and choirs expressed a desire for the regional tour to take place again in the future. “I really do appreciate all the effort that went into making a regional tour of clinicians possible,” one director shared, “It is my sincere hope that MCA will continue to have the funds available to make future regional tours possible.”



The Impact of ChoralFest

ChoralFest continues to have a positive impact on directors and singers. Our clinicians especially are a highlight: “The clinicians were very positive and complimentary to our students; [they] made them feel proud of their work, while still giving them constructive feedback to apply to our future singing,” said one director. “We loved working with Dr. Con! He got massive results very quickly while also encouraging the students on the progress that they made so early on in the year,” said another. Of the in-school clinic, one Grade 4 singer said, "It was lots of fun and we did a lot of funny things but, in the end, we sounded really good!"

 

MCA is thrilled to offer this program to choirs in our province, and we look forward to planning ChoralFest again next year!



ChoralFest by the Numbers

112 Choirs

4000+ Singers

11 Clinicians

40 Volunteers

203 Clinics

13 Venues

13 Cities/Towns

7 Regions

 

Thank-Yous

MCA was able to hold ChoralFest 2023 thanks to generous funding from our key sponsors. We acknowledge support from Manitoba Arts Council, the Province of Manitoba's Arts, Culture and Sport in Community Fund, Sing Canada Harmony, Long & McQuade (Winnipeg), and Foundation for Choral Music in Manitoba.

 

We’d also like to thank the ChoralFest committee who worked so hard to organize and plan the event, and to all of our amazing volunteers who kept things running smoothly. ChoralFest went off without a hitch, and we can’t thank you enough for all that you do to keep this festival alive!

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