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Manitoba Well Represented in Esteemed National Choral Program

The Singing Province sends four singers to the National Youth Choir of Canada program for 2024


Manitoba will be represented in the 2024 National Youth Choir of Canada (NYCC) with four choral singers from across our province. A project of Choral Canada, the NYCC is a one-of-a-kind professional development opportunity for some of Canada’s best emerging choral singers. Truly national in scope, the prestigious choir is made up of 40 singers between the ages of 19 and 26 who are auditioned from across the country every two years.


The singers representing Manitoba in this year’s national program are Jane Unruh Thiesen (soprano), Carrie Schulz (alto), Ian Olson (tenor), and Jackson Hacault (bass). These selected Manitoba singers will be working with the esteemed artistic team for 2024, including Guest Conductor Roseline Blain, Apprentice Conductor Kitbielle Pasagui, and Collaborative Pianist Pierre McLean. The general theme of the program is “’Heritage”, in the sense of transmission and legacy. Heritage meaning "passing on" from one generation to another, from teacher to student, from one environment to another, from one culture to another.


For three of the Manitoba singers, this will be their first time participating in NYCC, each of them looking forward to all that they will experience and learn from the opportunity. First time participant Ian shared that he is “excited to get to be singing in this year’s Podium Conference at the end of our tour, and to see all the other choirs in person,” and is “also looking forward to seeing how our conductor Roseline Blain commands such a capable ensemble and learn from her leadership.” Jane, also a first-time participant shared, “The NYCC will be the first choir I've sung in since 2019, and I think that this opportunity will revive my passion for choral singing and really inspire me.” Now at the start of her career in music and participating for the second time in NYCC, Carrie is confidant that NYCC will continue to grow her “musicianship and abilities as a singer and give [her] the confidence to continue pursuing choral and musical opportunities in [her] own community.” 


From May 5 to 9, the choir met in Quebec City for an intensive training week that included rehearsals as well as time for workshops, cultural learning, and community engagement while touring in Les Bergeronnes, Jonquière, Rimouski, and Montréal. During the regional tour the NYCC will engage with local communities in concerts and education and outreach events, reaching a diverse number of Canadians and bringing high caliber choral music to communities that may not otherwise have access to such an experience. The tour will culminate with a performance at Choral Canada’s national conference and festival PODIUM in Montreal.


The NYCC experience is about more than just making music. The choir program forms a lasting bond among participants, creating a national network among the future leaders of Canada’s choral communities. All four Manitoba singers expressed their enthusiasm about connecting with other young singers across the country. Having sung with NYCC in 2022, Carrie summed this up quite well, saying, “I am most looking forward connecting with old friends who sang with me in the program two years ago, as well as getting to know the new choristers.” Similarly, bass singer Jackson commented, “I will be working with the most talented musicians across Canada and hopefully building relationships that will strengthen my teaching in the years coming forward. I hope to take everything I can out of this trip, making new friends and meaningful memories.”


Catch the 2024 National Youth Choir finale performance at Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul in Montreal on May 16, 2024. For more information about the NYCC, and to purchase concert tickets, please visit https://www.nycc.ca.


MCA wishes all the best to these four singers and all Manitobans heading to PODIUM this week!


ABOUT THE SINGERS


Jane Unruh Thiesen is an emerging Manitoba artist who is thrilled to be singing with the 2024 National Youth Choir of Canada. Jane began singing in choirs when she was 9 and has always had a special place in her heart for choral singing. Jane's choral experience includes singing in the Central Manitoba Youth Choir, the Manitoba Provincial Honour Choirs (now MB Sings), and the Winnipeg Youth Chorus. In 2021, Jane graduated from MacEwan University with a diploma in Musical Theatre Performance. She is excited to mark her return to the world of choral singing with the NYCC and can't wait to make music with other young Canadian artists.



Born and raised in Winnipeg, Carrie Schulz (she/her) finished her undergraduate degree studying music and psychology at Canadian Mennonite University in the spring of 2023. Carrie began singing at a young age, participating in community choirs, and being involved in various school music programs. Throughout this time, she began performing in musicals as well as provincial and Winnipeg music festivals. She loves finding opportunities to perform, having participated in NUOVA Vocal Arts 5-week musical theatre intensive last summer and this year made her debuts with Manitoba Underground Opera and Flipside Opera. Carrie’s true passion, though, lies in choral music. A member of award-winning choir Prairie Voices and a singer in the 2022 NYCC program, Carrie is beyond excited to be a part of the 2024 NYCC.


Ian Olson is an American tenor studying a Post-Baccalaureate Diploma in Performance at the University of Manitoba. Originally from Fargo, North Dakota, he has made his way north to join the Winnipeg musical community and to study voice with Mel Braun. He is very active at the university, contributing to choral and opera projects as well as some on double bass. Recently he was a part of the University Singers’ choir tour to Spain and played in the orchestra of the university’s chamber opera Dark Sisters.






Jackson Hacault, originally from Manitou, is a 5th-year Brandon University student studying Music Education in the high school choral stream. Music has always been an important part of Jackson’s life, beginning with piano lessons, participation in local music festivals and choirs, and involvement in musical theatre with roles such as Danny in Grease, Sebastian in The Little Mermaid, and Action in West Side Story. Highlights of his choral experience include singing in the Central Manitoba Youth Choir for three years and Provincial Honour Choirs (now MB Sings) for seven years. Now in his university studies, Jackson sings baritone in the Brandon University Chorale, conducted by Dr. Andrée Dagenais, and studies voice with Sarah Hall. He is also active in the community, singing with the esteemed auditioned adult choir, Konektis, conducted by Michelle Chyzyk. Jackson is very excited to be representing Manitoba in the bass section of NYCC for the first time this year.

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