Some youth singers from Strathmore are learning new singing skills, thanks to a workshop and tour they recently took part in.
The Strathmore Children’s Choir’s “Finale Choir,” comprised of children in Grade 7 and older, recently put on several mini-concerts in Lethbridge schools while also participating in a workshop that taught new singing skills to help them sing better together.
“We picked songs we knew when we were kids so [the audience] knew them and sang along. It was fun and very interactive,” said choir member Kianna Doig, who has been singing in the choir since it first started nine years ago. “The workshops are a lot of fun and are also very beneficial. It’s different hearing stuff from a clinician rather than just your choir instructor.”
The workshop was hosted by David Mikuliak, a teacher of drama, choir and musical theatre at Chinook High School in Lethbridge.
The Strathmore Children’s Choir (SCC) has been teaching aspiring musicians how to sing together for nine years. The SCC started with 10 students of various ages in a single choir. Through the years, it has grown to include three separate choirs divided into age groups. The oldest level choir, Finale Choir, is comprised of 26 female singers in Grade 7 and up.
The choirs have two concerts yearly: a Christmas concert and a spring concert. The choirs also compete in several singing festivals including Choralfest in both Calgary and Edmonton, the Drumheller and District Music Festival, and with the Youth Singers of Calgary.
This year, the Finale Choir spent two full days in Lethbridge putting on two concerts at two schools. The choir sang on its own, and then worked with choirs within the schools to prepare a few songs which they sang together.
“These things help us not only prepare for the performances that are coming up and for Choralfest, which is an adjudicated performance, they help us sing better as a choir. We learn technical aspects of singing and have a chance to really blend as a group,” said SCC director Loralee Laycock, who founded the SCC.
In the past, the choirs have attended many festivals and adjudicated events. This year however, the choir has taken a slightly different approach regarding performances. The choirists are finding it beneficial to instead have clinicians attend rehearsals to work with them. Elaine Quilichini, director of the Calgary Girls Choir, recently visited the SCC to work with the young vocalists.
“Ultimately our goal with all these kids is to introduce them to music, make them feel like music is fun, and help them see that performing is a way for them to improve their singing,” said Laycock. “I feel like music is so much more than just about the technical aspect of singing. If we can instill in them a love for what they’re doing then it will stay with them all their lives. That’s my main goal really, for them to all feel like when they leave the choir, that music has touched their lives and they’ll continue to want to be involved in music in some way.”
Upcoming performances by SCC: Finale Choir at the Calgary Choralfest March 16; Encore Choir performing with the Youth Singers of Calgary on April 8. At the end of the year, all choirs in the SCC will put on a concert in Strathmore.