Recap of Our 50th Anniversary Celebration

By: Marcia McLean

The 50th season of choral music was celebrated by the Swift Current Oratorio Choir on April 23 at Zion Mennonite Church. This concluded a season of rehearsals and a banquet for choir members before the dress rehearsal. The evening concert included musical selections from past performances and a slide show which featured the choir, soloists and conductors from the inception of the choir to present day.

The concert opened with “Gloria In Exclesis Deo” from Vivaldi’s Gloria. Three selections from the Messiah were performed, namely, “Lift Up Your Heads”, “Halleluiah Chorus” in which the audience was invited to sing along and “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain”. Other notable pieces were sung. “Locus Iste” by Anton Bruckner and “He Watches over Israel” from the Mendelssohn’s oratorio “Elijah”. Because the choir has been a big fan of Karl Jenkins’ works, we performed “Agnus Dei “ from The Armed Man. On two occasions, members from the choir have travelled to New York to perform in Carnegie Hall to perform Jenkins’ compositions with other choristers from around the world. The concert ended with a rousing encore “Let Everything That Hath Breath” by Jeffery Ames.

50th Anniversary Group Photo

One of the highlights of the evening was a conversation between the founder of the choir, John Poettcker and myself, current conductor, Marcia McLean. We talked about the early years of the choir and the challenges and successes of the choir. We spoke about the accompanists and how integral each of them has been to the success of the choir.

John Poettcker and Marcia, conductors emeritus and present

Each of the accompanists, Grace Funk, Bev Dyck, Sheila Braun and Amy Wiens were acknowledged and thanked for their many years of devotion to the choir.

Three members of the choir were honoured for 50 years of singing with the choir. These were Grace and Ike Funk and Fred Heese. Kae Waters, who has been with the choir for 49 years, was also honoured. Several other singers and accompanists were given recognition for receiving The Golden Note award from the Saskatchewan Choral Federation for participation in choir for over 25 years. This shows tremendous dedication!

Artistic Director, Marcia McLean and the choir

Throughout the concert, fun facts were given about the choir. One of these asked the audience to name the number of places in which the choir has performed. These ranged from Ponteix to New York and numbered seven. The evening was wrapped up with remarks by Mark Anderson, president. He mentioned that the choir has embarked on a fundraising campaign to fund the newly purchased risers that we used for the 50th anniversary concert. Donations are still gratefully accepted! The final portion of the celebration was to join with the audience for anniversary cake and coffee in the lower auditorium.

Such a memorable evening!

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