Diocesan Clergy & Lay Leader Choir

Calling all cantors!

This invitation is intended for all persons who have a need or desire to improve their chant skills and other singing! At the invitation of Helen Kennedy, whose idea this was, we are forming a group to workshop some musical skills intended for liturgical use, designed for clergy and lay persons who chant or would like to learn how to do so in the specific context of Anglican liturgy. The aims are as follows:

  1. To have fun and foster collegiality
  2. To improve musical competency, especially singing
  3. To raise some money for worthy diocesan projects and causes

The idea here is that we would start off by learning some basics of music reading and singing, then branch out into some basic choral singing techniques with the aim to potentially hold a fundraising concert (with the clear understanding that most of the singers are clergy with varying levels of musical background!). We’ll have a look at the basic chant in the BAS and BCP services, take a look at plainsong Psalm chants, more challenging pieces such as the (upcoming!) Exultet, and see how it goes from there. This is intended for anyone interested, but specifically aimed at clergy who would like to improve their singing skills. It will be a low stakes, supportive environment where no question is beneath consideration and no vocal missteps will be ridiculed.

About me: being somewhat newly-returned to Rupert’s Land. I’m not terribly well-known hereabouts. I started my professional life as both an opera singer and voice teacher and come to you most recently from Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Quebec City, where I served as Choirmaster and Director of Liturgy. I have conducted various choirs (church and otherwise) and taught voice lessons for the past 20 years or so. I have led Lenten small groups on the subject of liturgical chant. I have also pointed Psalms, planned liturgies of every sort, up to and including episcopal consecrations. I’m quite well-versed in Anglican liturgy and the workings of the voice, and am a pedagogue at heart. My students at the Winnipeg Conservatory range from kids to the retired and cover every single level, from the tone-deaf to semi-professional. I was also elected to a three-year term on the Faith, Worship, and Ministry Standing Committee with the Anglican Church of Canada which finished with General Synod of 2019. I have sung every form of chant that there is, and can guide you through how to read it and how to sing it!

The logistics: the hope was to potentially have something ready to present by this coming September to start with (if possible!), so I propose that we meet on Wednesday evenings starting on March, 18, from 7:30–9:00 p.m. The location will be St. George’s, Crescentwood (168 Wilton at Grosvenor) in the sanctuary. Please send me an email to let me know if you’re interested, as that will aid us in our planning. – Sandra Bender


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