Prairie Blend choir prepares for 10th annual concert

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Ten springs ago, the Brandon Sun featured an article about the development of a new vocal group on Westman’s musical landscape. Led by young conductor Deanna Ginn, Prairie Blend Men’s Choir was preparing for its debut concert.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 18/05/2013 (3375 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Ten springs ago, the Brandon Sun featured an article about the development of a new vocal group on Westman’s musical landscape. Led by young conductor Deanna Ginn, Prairie Blend Men’s Choir was preparing for its debut concert.

This spring, the ensemble will present a program of self-selected favourites from its repertoire over the years.

“A good friend recently brought me a yellowed newspaper clipping — an interview in the Sun about the beginnings of what has become an important part of my musical life,” Ginn said.

“It’s so hard to believe that it’s been 10 years.”

For this anniversary concert, choristers submitted lists of favourites to Ginn, who drafted a program from their suggestions.

“It has been rewarding to revisit some big works, such as Biebl’s ‘Ave Maria’ and Lauridsen’s ‘O Magnum Mysterium,’” Ginn says.

“They feel so much easier this time around!”

Other repertoire to be featured in the May 26 concert includes folk songs, spirituals, and three pieces from Randall Thompson’s Frostiana.

While the faces of Prairie Blend have changed over the years, 10 of the 15 members who sang in that first concert remain part of the ensemble. ‘The Blenders,’ as Ginn and accompanist Leanna Mitchell affectionately call them, currently include 21 singers.

“I used to be intimidated to stand and lead such a group, and was nervous about teaching some of the repertoire to accomplished singers,” Ginn admits. “We’ve been through so much together through the years, musically and otherwise. Now it’s all about the joy of making music and building community.”

Prairie Blend has become a family affair on a number of levels. Ginn and husband/chorister Kris Desjarlais’ two children have grown up surrounded by these singing men.

When their son was born nearly four years ago, chorister Bill Paton commented how lucky the lad was to be surrounded by 20 musical godfathers. Now five-month-old Gillian attends Monday night rehearsals.

“I don’t think we’ll know how to sing without a baby present,” jokes Paton. “It brings out our sensitivity.”

Proceeds from next Sunday’s concert will again be shared with Samaritan House. Concert attendees are encouraged to bring along donations of non-perishable food items.

The concert will take place at St. Matthew’s Cathedral on Sunday, May 26, at 3 p.m. Tickets are $10, available from choristers, at the cathedral or the door.

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