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Reunion Newspaper Articles

Page history last edited by C. Broeska 9 years, 2 months ago

Sonatrice Singers Celebrate 40 years of Singing at April 28th Reunion   Part 1- the 70’s

Over forty years ago, Audrey Myers, teaching music half- time in Carman Elementary School in the fall of 1971, was interested in maintaining her piano skills as an accompanist.  Myers, previously employed at Portage Collegiate before moving to Carman in 1967, had been accompanying the Portage Sweet and Low Choir.  She speculated there may be singers in the Carman area who would be interested in singing similar secular three part harmony music.  After some phone calls in Carman, Roland and Graysville, a group of fifteen women met on Monday evening in the fall of 1971, to discuss the viability of this new opportunity, to be modeled on the Portage group.  

These women agreed to return a week later to sing through some borrowed music with each other.  This group initiated by Myers became the founding members of the group, later known as Sonatrice Singers.  The initial group that performed at the first concert consisted of 5 altos: Rilda Carr, Iona Billing, Clarice Gilchrist, Deanna Mutcher, Janet Woods;   5 second sopranos: Bonnie McKinnon Marion Hodgson, Margaret Lynne Bell, Dee McEachern, Donna Kennedy; and 10 first sopranos: Fran Phillips, Isobel Armstrong, Gwen Kitching, Mae McNair, Isabelle Stanger, Rosemarie Davis, Bev Stow, Cory Pauls, Joyce Vankoughnet, Mabel McKnight.  Soon after the choir’s inception Bonnie Froebe, Alfhild Cochrane, Jane Peckover and Irene Heaman  joined.

One of the original participants, Rosella Sawatsky, was a new Business Education teacher at Carman Collegiate.  She had just graduated with a minor in Music from Goshen University in Indiana.  After some arm twisting, she agreed to debut as the first conductor of six conductors over the next 40 years.

During this era, membership meant not missing more than 2 practices during a year.  This level of commitment remained a standard throughout the 70’s, 80’s and into the 90’s. Membership also required fees to allow for some purchase of music. Another formative decision was that practices would consist of 2 hours of singing, with extra business to be conducted outside that time frame so the focus of each practice was on singing. The music was chosen by the director and the accompanist.

One of the first performances was at a Toastmistress meeting in the basement of the Anglican Church, during the winter of 1973.  This was followed by a spring concert in June, 1973 in Carman Collegiate theatre, which was designed to sing for interested family and friends.  This tradition has grown to a 2 night performance at Carman Collegiate each spring for the last 39 years.

As the group expanded to about 30 members for the next 30 years, performing at a variety of facilities, and times of year, decision making became more challenging.  An operational structure emerged with a President, Secretary, and a Treasurer elected at a June AGM.  Members evaluated the year together and then volunteered leadership for the next season on several committees which provides leadership for a coming year.  The main committee of course is responsible for choosing a wide variety of music, which may include popular music, Folk Songs, Broadway hits, songs in different languages and unfamiliar rhythms, festival pieces.  Other standing committees include Costuming, Choreography, Publicity, Sets, Performance/Concert and Library.  Other ad hoc committees are struck as the needs arise.

The Sonatrice Reunion Concerts will be on Thursday, April 26, and Friday, April 27 at Carman Collegiate.

Next week- the 80’s and 90’s

Submitted by Clarice Gilchrist

 

SONATRICE SINGERS HONOURED BY MCA NOMINATION

The Manitoba Choral Association has nominated the Sonatrice Singers from Carman to represent Manitoba at MusicFest Canada in the category of Community Choirs. 

The nomination follows the choir’s performance in the Community and Church Choir class at the 25th annual ChoralFest Manitoba in Winnipeg on November 26, 2011.  Ten other choirs participated in this class.

Adjudicators John William Trotter from Vancouver and Dr. Eugene Rogers from St Paul, Minnesota praised the choir’s readiness to perform and the quality of the performance.  Both adjudicators also praised the conductor, Cindee Broeska and the accompanist, Audrey Myers.

 Sonatrice Singers are honoured by this nomination, especially during this season which is the 40th anniversary of the group, whose longevity is unique in rural Manitoba. The nomination recognizes the contribution to the development of music, especially choral music, outside a major centre such as Brandon or Winnipeg.  Being honoured also marks the dedication of the members to regular weekly practice and ongoing skill development.   

The nomination to perform at the national level may be accepted for either May, 2012 in Ottawa or May, 2013 in Toronto.  Because the choir is preparing for the 40th Reunion Celebration in April , the choir is considering accepting the invitation to travel to Toronto next year, allowing more time to organize for this rare opportunity.

Sonatrice has been nominated twice previously, traveling to both Toronto and Ottawa.

This year the Annual Spring Concerts, Sonatrice Celebrates, will be held on Thursday, April 26 and Friday, April 27 with many previous members re- joining for three songs.  Men who have previously sung with the choir have also been invited to join for this special occasion.   The  40th reunion will occur on Saturday, April 28, with special events planned at the Active Living Center.

 

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