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Page history last edited by C. Broeska 10 years, 4 months ago

Sonatrice History Part 2 April proofed April 15

Factors Contributed to the Longevity of Carman’s Sonatrice Singers

Choral music is a part of the tradition of Western Music in North America.  Religious music is readily accessible, rich or simple in context, usually written in four part harmony.  Most rural communities such as Carman have several church choirs.  Barbershop Singing Quartets or choruses cropped up in many communities, in the 60’s and 70’s, but this type of singing is also four-part and a capella – no instruments or accompaniment. However, an opportunity to do Women’s 3 part Secular Choral music rose in several Manitoba communities:  the Morden Tapestry Singers, Portage’s Sweet and Low Singers and subsequent Carillon, and the Thompson Aurora Singers.   Sonatrice has outlasted all of these choirs by many years.

 Most members when asked what factors contributes to the enjoyment and longevity will name the quality of the music; the influence  and calibre of directors and accompaniststhe regularity of the practices, and the social bonding that has been integral from the beginning and has been maintained for 40 years.

Series of Directors brought different talents, training and style

 Rosella Sawatsky, the first director conducted for the first two years, 1972- 1973 and 1973-1974, during the time of her teaching career in Carman Collegiate.  Rosella gave shape to the choir with her background in church based choral music.  The second leader, the new Collegiate Band teacher, Ed Manteuful, agreed to conduct - for the next three years –fall of 1974 to the spring of 1977. Although inexperienced with choirs, he was skilled at making participants enjoy themselves with his easy- going approach.  Next, Collegiate Band teacher, Brian Boggs, now in Ottawa, accepted the challenge from the fall of 1977, through to the spring of 1980. Boggs, in a typical Band leader style, taught the group about developing contrast by producing volume and drama.  Cindee Broeska, a K-9 Music Teacher in Winnipeg moved to Homewood in 1980 and became our new conductor.   With her training and background in voice from Minnesota State University at Moorhead, Cindee successfully conducted for ten years, during which she brought her choral voice training and personality to hone the choir’s skills. Members were pleased to have a female conductor, especially as Cindee was amenable to individual member’s ideas and concerns.  Practices were tightened up to work at music for 2 hours with less visiting and comments between pieces. Broeska remained for ten years, until 1990. During this era, Audrey Myers continued to be the accompanist.

In the fall of 1990, when Broeska and Myers decided to take time off from Sonatrice leadership, Tom Neufeld, Roland, was recruited to conduct. Tom, a skilled musician, brought new dimensions with his unique interpretations of popular music for his initial concert in the spring of 1992, continuing until April 1996. During this time Deanna Mutcher accompanied the group.   The sixth conductor was Candace Stobbe, music teacher in Morden, experienced with singing in church groups and in the Thompson Women`s Choir, Aurora Singers.  She enjoyed both her debut as director of an adult choir and her partnered leadership with the music committee.   Pamela Joose and Deanna Mutcher were accompanists. Since the fall of 1999, the group has enjoyed having Cindee Broeska back as Conductor.



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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