Following two weekends of intense rehearsing, the 2013 edition of the Western Manitoba Youth Choir is set to hit the road for an intense four days of performing.
The 53-voice choir is drawn from 19 communities, and the tour — from Oct. 19 to 22 — will hit a number of them.
Performances include evening concerts in Virden, Russell, Melita and Brandon, a church service in Virden, and school concerts in Birtle, Elkhorn, Boissevain and Brandon.
Choir members gathered the weekend of Sept. 19-22 at Camp Wannakumbac for their first crack at the program under the tutelage of this year’s conductors, Rob Monson and Sarah Hall, along with accompanist Rev. Geoffrey Angeles.
They’ll be ‘camping’ again this weekend for their second four days of rehearsing.
This year marks Monson’s third stint leading a Western Manitoba Youth Choir. A teacher of instrumental and choral music at Winnipeg’s Glenlawn Collegiate, he has conducted workshops for central, eastern and western Manitoba choral associations as well as numerous school divisions.
He directed the Provincial Honour Choir in 2008, and co-directed the Rising Stars Choir in 2011 and 2013.
Meanwhile, co-director Sarah Hall brings a host of credentials to her first time at the helm of the youth choir.
With master degrees in vocal pedagogy and musicology from the New England Conservatory of Music (Boston) and a bachelor degree in voice performance from West Chester University of Pennsylvania, Hall teaches voice, diction, vocal chamber music, music history, theory and has co-conducted Women’s Voices at Brandon University.
As a conductor and coach, her recent credits include Boston Early Music Festival, The Cantate Singers and the Brandon University Opera Ensemble.
Accompanist this year is Father Angeles, a former priest at Virden’s Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church and now director of sacred music for the Archdiocese of Winnipeg.
A native of Winnipeg and graduate of Kelvin High School, he studied piano as an undergraduate student at Concord College, now part of Canadian Mennonite University.
Father Angeles composed a setting of the new English translation of the Catholic Mass, unveiled in Canada last November. He was the only Manitoban and lone priest among the Canadians commissioned by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops to set the new liturgy to music
His setting will be used by the Archdiocese of Winnipeg for the next year, as well as dioceses across Canada and the United States.