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Students and alumni to shine on national choir stage

By Costa Maragos Posted: April 14, 2016 6:00 a.m.

Members of The Prairie Chamber Choir performing at a concert in Regina, December 2015. The members have strong ties to the University of Regina.
Members of The Prairie Chamber Choir performing at a concert in Regina, December 2015. The members have strong ties to the University of Regina. Photo courtesy of Jayden Dreher.

Members of the Prairie Chamber Choir, made up of a combination of current students and alumni, are about to perform on their biggest stage yet as a group.

Choir members will stand shoulder to shoulder with some of the finest choral musicians from across Canada at the Choral Canada Podium conference in Edmonton, May 19 – 22.  

This gathering of choral musicians happens once every two years. The Prairie Chamber Choir is the only Saskatchewan group invited to perform.

“This is a major choral conference. It’s kind of the Grammies or Junos of Canadian choral music,” says Melissa Morgan, Director and Conductor of the Prairie Chamber Choir. “It is quite an accomplishment. We’re excited and proud.”

Melissa Morgan
Melissa Morgan, a U of R alumna, is director and conductor of The Prairie Chamber Choir. "I had lots of opportunities at the U of R that have served me well.” (Photo by Ian Chang)

People in the Regina area have the opportunity to see The Prairie Chamber Choir at a special concert Sunday, April 17 at Christ Lutheran Church in Regina, with the proceeds going to help fund the trip to Edmonton.

Concert goers will be treated to a unique Saskatchewan performance from some amazing local artists.

“We have some wonderful choral music that comes from this area and we have great composers who live in this area. We need to promote these composers more and encourage new commissions by local choirs,” says Morgan.

The composers featured include David L. McIntyre, Lyndsay Stetner, Elizabeth Raum and Paul Suchan.

Having been raised in Regina, Morgan has an appreciation for prairie-based music and musicians.  

Morgan is a graduate of the U of R with a Bachelor of Arts (2001) and Bachelor of Music Education (2003). She holds a Master of Music Performance in Choral Conducting from the University of Western Ontario.  

Morgan has taught choir in Saskatchewan and in 2008 became the Pfeifer Memorial Chair of Music at Luther College High School in Regina.

She’s a distinguished young conductor and musical scholar. In 2012, she took a two-year sabbatical to begin her doctoral studies in Choral Conducting at the University of Toronto.

She’s now completing her studies from her home base in Regina.

The choir was formed in the spring of 2015 as the Prairie Lecture Choir as part of the requirements of Morgan’s final doctoral recital. The lecture recital featured an entire concert of original compositions by composers from the Prairies.

“The concert was an empowering experience to audience members and choristers alike. It affirmed that prairie communities have many beautiful choral compositions and a strong tradition of singing,” says Morgan.

The choir, not wanting to disband after the recital, was renamed and officially became The Prairie Chamber Choir. The experience also offered the opportunity for Morgan to connect and re-connect with many choir members with U of R connections.

“There are so many things which took place at the U of R that I did not realize as a student would help me where I am today,” says Morgan. “The U of R gave me the basis to start. I had wonderful professors in music and English. I took classes in French and German. I had lots of opportunities at the U of R that have served me well.”

Event:     The Prairie Chamber Choir

Date:       Sunday, April 17

Time:       7:30 p.m.

Location: Christ Lutheran Church
                4825 Dewdney Avenue
                Tickets are $20 and available at the door
                or at Cobb Swanson Music and Bach and Beyond.