Brandon University Chorale launches cross-border tour

A group of students in casual dress stand outside the School of Music building at Brandon University.
Members of the BU Chorale

After a three-year hiatus, the Brandon University (BU) Chorale is embarking on another international tour. Previous versions of the choir have visited and sang in five other countries, including Brazil, France, Cuba, Estonia, and Latvia and the ensemble will make stops this week in Southern Manitoba and North Dakota, from April 26–29.

Chorale conductor Dr. Andrée Dagenais, joined by Prof. Sarah Hall (voice), Dr. Leanne Zacharias (cello) and collaborative pianist Dianna Neufeld will be performing, leading workshops and master classes into new musical territory: the State of North Dakota. The current members of the ensemble will perform at University of North Dakota (Grand Forks) and at North Dakota State University (Fargo). The choir will also participate in workshops and rehearsals with university choristers in Grand Forks and for the second time with students from NDSU — the Challey School of Music Concert Choir travelled through Brandon seven years ago to share a performance with BU Chorale. 

The beginning of the tour takes the ensemble through Southern Manitoba where high school choral programs in Winkler and Gretna will listen and sing alongside university students. The first stop in North Dakota will be at the Calvary Lutheran Church in Grand Forks on Wednesday, April 26 at 8 p.m. for a full concert. It will be followed by a second full performance at Challey School of Music Recital Hall at NDSU on Friday, April 28 at 5:30 p.m. The tour will wrap up on Saturday, April 29 on the Canadian side of the border in Morden, Man., at the Morden Mennonite Church on Gilmour Street for a performance at 7 p.m.

We are bringing a colourful mosaic of Canadian repertoire on our spring tour,” Dagenais said. “The works of Sid Robinovitvh and Don McDonald expose the warmth of the Spanish language.  Marie Madeleine, with spoons and ‘foot rhythms’ brings us to l’Acadie and its folk traditions. We will also perform compositions by the Woodland Cree-Dene composer, Sherryl Sewepagaham, Anishinabek composer Melody McKiver, and Canadian treasure (and BU alumna) Jocelyn Morlock, alongside cellist Leanne Zacharias as soloist. Our program also includes Mozart’s D Major Mass, written when he was just 18 years old, and a few additional surprises.”

The Brandon University Chorale ensemble has previously performed with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, at the Winnipeg New Music Festival, with BU Orchestra, Brandon Chamber Players, Vancouver Chamber Choir, Musica Intima, Spirit Sand Singers and at the Mennonite Arts Festival in collaboration with Di Brandt. Recently, they have toured Manitoba (2019), Northwest Ontario (2015), the Baltic countries (2014), Cuba (2010) and France (2008). BU Chorale was also selected to perform for the National Choral Conference, Podium, in 2016 in Edmonton.

BU Chorale and Faculty would like to acknowledge the generosity of BU School of Music, Student Services, Mary Smart Funds and the Office of the President to make this tour feasible.


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