We are pleased to announce that Leanne Cooper-Carrier's composition Refraction has been selected as this year's winning piece for the MCA Frances Seaton Choral Composition Competition.
The competition honours the memory of longtime MCA member and musician Frances Seaton and encourages the composition of new choral works by Manitoba composers. Through a funding partnership with the Foundation for Choral Music in Manitoba, MCA has held this competition annually since 2013.
Leanne Cooper-Carrier is an up-and-coming director, clinician, and vocal coach based out of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Leanne obtained her Bachelor of Music degree with a concentration in choral education from Canadian Mennonite University and continued on to receive a Bachelor of Education from the University of Manitoba in 2010. With a varied resume that includes working as an educator, choral clinician, vocalist, voice coach, and director, Leanne has proven to have a diverse set of skills that demonstrates her passion and leadership in the choral community.
Most notably, Leanne had the honour of being the assistant artistic director for the auditioned adult choir Horizon, part of Prairie Voices Inc. During her years partnering with artistic director Johanna Hildebrand, Leanne was able to explore the wide range of musical possibility that exists in a talented and tight knit vocal ensemble. She began to incorporate group improvisation and her own choral arrangements. Leanne is currently working as a French immersion music specialist at École Voyageur in St James-Assiniboia School Division. When she is not busy with music you can find Leanne drinking coffee, painting watercolour florals, working in her garden, and playing with her adorable family.
Birthed during the pandemic, Refraction examines the confines of pandemic singing, namely the difficulty of aligning notes and rhythms, and showcases a work around using pentatonic layering. Written with intentionally approachable ranges, Refraction will be singable even for “rusty” voices.
The song is an artistic depiction of isolation. The main theme begins simply with one voice and is then tossed around, expanded, broken down and stressed until it finally comes to a simple but unresolved end. Much like the pandemic experience, in the song each singer’s unique loneliness mixes together to form a sort of group loneliness. The bowed vibraphone sets the song further on edge by adding layers of beauty mixed with tension.
Refraction is Leanne’s debut choral composition and was written for Johanna Hildebrand and Horizon. The piece will be performed at an MCA event during the 2022-23 season, to be announced soon.