Manitoba Choral Association has launched an exciting provincial virtual choir project with the purpose of bringing choral singers of all ages and regions across Manitoba together in song. During March, singers will learn a special commissioned song and have opportunities to connect with other Manitobans before recording themselves as part of the final virtual choir video.
Although many choirs have taken on virtual projects like this, this is the first project of its size and scope in the province. It has been designed in the spirit of MCA’s annual Provincial Honour Choirs (PHC) program, which had to be cancelled this year due to the pandemic. Like PHC, which draws nearly 300 singers across three age-specific choirs (junior high, senior high, and adult), the project has been designed for singers ages 10 and up to take part in one of three online choirs.
“We have a very strong choral music presence here in Manitoba,” said MCA’s Executive Director, Jenny Steinke-Magnus. “Many singers are really missing singing with their school, community, and church choirs right now. We hope this project will fill part of that void, creating an uplifting and unifying experience for our singers.”
MCA has taken steps to ensure this is a truly made-in-Manitoba experience: they have hired Rick Heppner Mueller of Altona, MB to conduct the choir, and have commissioned a special 10-part choral arrangement by Winnipeg composer Jonathan Alexiuk. His piece features melody and text from the well-known song “What A Wonderful World,” the Canadian pieces “She’s Like the Swallow”, and “O Canada”, as well as excerpts from poetry composed in Manitoba set to original music. “It is my wish that the messages of hope, unity, and finding beauty in the world around us are communicated and inspired by the performance of this work,” said Alexiuk.
Singers who register for the virtual choir will receive access to custom-made learning aids to learn the song at home, but will also have the chance to participate in live virtual rehearsals with the conductor to better learn their voice part. Once singers have submitted their recordings, MCA will put a video together featuring all voice parts, and unveil the final product on May 3, in celebration of Canada’s Music Monday.