Choral music has been a passion of mine ever since my childhood. I remember my first real choral experience singing with the Pacific Mennonite Children’s Choir in Abbotsford B.C. when I was 8 years old. It was a life-changing experience for me and something I could never forget. That experience became a permanent fixture in my own self-identity, and I’ve been following the path of choral music ever since.
I’ve earned music degrees from the University of Manitoba, the University of Alberta, and my doctorate in music from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. And through these years I’ve sung for some of the best choral organizations in Canada, including Calgary’s Luminous Voices, Edmonton’s Pro Coro Canada, and a myriad of choirs throughout Winnipeg such as The Winnipeg Singers, Canzona, and Camerata Nova.
But it’s my work as a conductor that I’m most proud of. The most fulfilling aspect of conducting a choir is facilitating that sense of community and interaction between people. Singing together seems to have a unique ability to bring people together. Combine that with the musical endeavour of creating something magnificent, and you’ve created a compelling and fulfilling experience.
2020-21 has been an abysmal year for choirs throughout the country. After being stygmatized as being unsafe (who would ever have thought choirs could be considered dangerous?), choirs throughout Manitoba and the rest of Canada and the world have shut down their rehearsals and mostly disbanded for the time being. Some have valiantly kept going through online rehearsals and performances. They should be commended for persevering through these difficult circumstances. But the online choral experience leaves much to be desired. It’s been over a year since I conducted my last choral rehearsal. I miss my choir. I miss singing together with others. I’m longing for normal. Let’s keep doing our part to get rid of Covid, and let’s get back to singing safely. We need it!