Online project will bring singers from across the province together in song
Thanks to the great success of last year’s virtual choir project, Manitoba Choral Association (MCA) has again launched a provincial program with the purpose of bringing choral singers of all ages and regions across Manitoba together virtually in song. From February to March, singers will access tools to learn the song from home, attend live online rehearsals with conductor Dr. Jamie Hillman, and have opportunities to connect with other Manitobans, before recording themselves as part of the final video.
Although many choirs have taken on virtual projects like this during the course of the pandemic, this is a unique project in that it welcomes singers of all ages and abilities from around the province to participate. Like last year’s project, it has been designed in the spirit of MCA’s annual Provincial Honour Choirs (PHC) program, which had to be cancelled for the second year in a row 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 unified choir.
“We have a very strong choral music presence here in Manitoba,” said MCA’s Executive Director, Jenny Steinke-Magnus. “Although some choirs have been able to resume their in-person activities this year, many singers are still missing the musical and social aspects of choir in their schools, communities, and churches right now. We hope this project will create a fun, uplifting, and unifying experience for Manitoba singers.”
With this year’s virtual choir piece, Wide Open Spaces by Canadian composer Sarah Quartel, MCA hopes to build on the success of the 2021 Provincial Virtual Choir program. Canadian-American conductor Dr. Jamie Hillman, Director of Choral Studies and Associate Professor at the University of Toronto, will direct the virtual choir.
Last year’s project saw 165 singers from around the province performing Wonderful World Medley, arranged by Winnipegger Jonathan Alexiuk, under the direction of Manitoba’s Rick Heppner Mueller. “We are aiming for 200 singers in this year’s program,” says Steinke-Magnus. “We had very positive feedback last year from folks who appreciated the opportunity to participate in a bigger project where they could raise their voices with singers from other Manitoba communities. Manitobans do love to sing!”
Once singers have submitted their recordings, MCA will put a video together featuring all voice parts, and unveil the final product on May 2, in celebration of Canada’s Music Monday. More information on the project can be found at mbchoralassociation.ca/mca-virtual-choir.