The Singing Province will send six singers to the esteemed National Youth Choir of Canada program for 2022.
Manitoba will be well-represented in this year’s National Youth Choir of Canada (NYCC) with no fewer than six choral singers who have been selected to sing in one of Canada’s finest choirs. 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 the 2022 national program are sopranos Isabel Friesen and Katharina (Katy) Unruh, altos Zoë Gotziaman, Angela Myshkowsky, and Carrie Schulz, and bass Luke Munchinsky. Generally, four singers from each province are chosen to participate, however because several choristers from other provinces are unable to attend this year, two alternates from Manitoba were chosen to take their places.
For many NYCC choristers, this will be the first time rehearsing and performing with a choir since the onset of the pandemic, and anticipation is building amongst the singers. “I'm excited to have my first in-person choir experience after a long two years of being apart,” said Katy. Zoë agreed, saying, “This is my first time singing with NYCC, and I’m looking forward to meeting everyone and making music in person again!” Isabel feels honoured to have been chosen, and said she is “looking forward to working with talented young people from all over Canada and to learning about choral conducting from [director] Jean-Sébastien Vallée.”
The NYCC choristers have been participating in professional development workshops and have had access to NYCC Mentorship Pilot Project for the past several months. These activities have offered the singers learning opportunities and connections with professionals in the choral arts sector. The choir will meet to rehearse under the direction of Canadian-American conductor Jean-Sébastien Vallée from May 8-18, 2022 at the University of Ottawa School of Music. This intensive training week also includes time for cultural learning in Ottawa, as well as workshops and community engagement in the Ottawa-Gatineau area.
From May 14-19, after an intensive week-long rehearsal, the choir will embark on a regional tour to engage with local communities in concerts and education and outreach events, reaching a diverse number of Canadians, and bringing high calibre 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 Toronto.
The in-person performance part of the NYCC program is something that Luke is very much looking forward to, after taking part in a modified NYCC 2020: “I sang virtually with NYCC in 2020, however due to Covid the involvement was not that of a typical year, and I am thrilled to get a second chance at performing in the choir.” Angela also participated in NYCC 2020 but is now “incredibly excited to be making music in person again, and with such incredible musicians. … I am thrilled at the opportunity to fully experience what the NYCC has to offer. I am looking forward to the challenge, the intensive rehearsals, and learning from a group of new colleagues.”
The NYCC experience is more than just about 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 six Manitoba singers expressed their enthusiasm about connecting with other young singers across the country and representing The Singing Province in this unforgettable experience. Carrie summed this up quite well, saying, “I am so grateful to be a part of the NYCC program this year to make music and connections with singers from across the country. Manitoba has such a strong and passionate choral community that I feel honoured to be able to represent.”
MCA is thrilled that our province will be so well represented at PODIUM/NYCC 2022, and is pleased to offer financial support to singers in the biennial program. For 2022, MCA is able to fully cover the tuition costs of all six singers, thanks to grants from Manitoba Arts Council and the Foundation for Choral Music in Manitoba, and donations from supporters who gave generously to MCA’s Singers Helping Singers fund in 2019 and 2020.
Catch the 2022 National Youth Choir’s finale performance at Yorkminster Park Baptist Church in Toronto on May 19, 2022. For more information about the NYCC, and to purchase concert tickets, please visit https://www.nycc.ca.
This post is the first in a two-part series spotlighting Manitoba singers at PODIUM/NYCC 2022. Part II will feature three Manitoba choirs performing at PODIUM.
ABOUT THE SINGERS
Top L-R: Isabel Friesen, Zoë Gotziaman, Luke Munchinsky; Bottom L-R: Angela Myshkowsky, Carrie Schulz, Katharina Unruh
Isabel Friesen is a third-year voice major studying with Valdine Anderson at the University of Manitoba's Desautels Faculty of Music. She is studying to become a high school choral conductor and is looking forward to sharing her passion for music with young people. Currently a member of the University of Manitoba Singers, Isabel sings in the soprano section and enjoys the community and relationships that comes with choral singing, especially now in Covid times.
Zoë Gotziaman’s love of choir began at age four. Growing up she sang in the Canadian Children's Opera Company, the Junior and Intermediate Choirs at Fairlawn Avenue United Church, and many choirs at Claude Watson School for the Arts. More recently she has sung in Dead of Winter (formerly Camerata Nova), Manitoba Opera Chorus, Polycoro, Pro Bene Masters Chorale, University Singers, and Xara Choral Theatre. She also enjoys running around onstage. Favourite roles include Bradamante Alcina (Halifax Summer Opera Festival), Hansel Hansel and Gretel (UofM School Tour), Phoebe Yeomen of the Guard (G&S Society of Winnipeg), and Venèto The Confused Castrato (Little Opera Company). A Manitoban by choice, she is incredibly grateful to be a member of such a talented and supportive community. BMus (UofM ’19). ASL and Deaf Studies (GBC ’21).
Luke Munchinsky is a baritone hailing from balmy Brandon, Manitoba. He is graduating from Brandon University with a bachelor of choral music education, where he has studied voice under the wonderful tutelage of Sarah Hall. He is excited to jump into the field of music education and share his excitement for music and choir with future students. Luke is passionate about music of all kinds of styles and likes to spend his time listening to Carly Rae Jepsen and performing at local cafes or with various choirs. Luke was a member of the 2020 National Youth Choir of Canada and is greatly looking forward to the opportunity to be involved in person and perform with some of Canada's finest choral singers.
Angela Myshkowsky is a lyric soprano with a deep love for choral music. Originally from Kenora, ON, she moved to Brandon to pursue a degree in vocal performance at Brandon University, where she developed a passion for chamber and 20th-century music. Angela is always looking for collaborative opportunities, leading to her participation in Brandon University's New Music Ensemble, A Wild Studio summer program, and the National Youth Choir of Canada. She has worked with Canadian composers Melody McKiver, Cris Derksen, and Harry Stafylakis. She has performed in Kenora Opera Theatre's Leading Ladies of Opera as Despina, Zerlina, and Countess Rosina from beloved Mozart operas. Her aim is to continue her exploration of what the human voice is capable of.
Born and raised in Winnipeg, Carrie Schulz (she/her) is entering her fourth year studying music and psychology at Canadian Mennonite University. Carrie began singing at a young age, participating in community choirs and being involved in various school music programs. Through this time, she began performing in musicals as well as provincial and Winnipeg music festivals, most recently competing as a finalist in the Winnipeg Music Festival Tudor Bowl. She is a passionate member of Manitoba’s choral community as a singer in the Winnipeg choir Prairie Voices. After her degree, Carrie hopes to pursue a career in occupational therapy.
Katharina Unruh is a soprano from just outside of Winnipeg, Manitoba. She holds a B.Mus from Canadian Mennonite University and is working to complete a M.Mus at the University of Ottawa, under the tutelage of Christiane Riel. Katharina loves to tell stories through opera (past role highlights include Acis (Acis & Galatea), Governess (Turn of the Screw), and Mavis (City Workers in Love)), and is fascinated by exploring new and developing music. In addition to performing, she enjoys working behind the scenes in opera production. Katharina also loves the choral arts, having grown up being around choirs her whole life, and has sung with various CMU choirs, Winnipeg Singers, and the National Youth Choir of Canada. Looking forward, Katharina hopes to continue telling stories through music that invoke change and create community.