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Canzona conductor saying goodbye

Choir going into 25th season

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Canzona may be entering its 25th season of performing baroque music, but its artistic director and conductor, Henry Engbrecht, is leaving the choir on a high note.

Canzona, a baroque choir ensemble, will be putting on two concerts this season. The first concert is coming up on Nov. 10 at 7 p.m., taking place at Westminster United Church (745 Westminster Ave.). The second concert is on April 13, 2014 at 6 p.m., also at Westminster United Church. General admission is $25. Students pay $12 and seniors pay $22. Tickets can be purchased at McNally Robinson Booksellers (1120 Grant Ave.).

Season passes are also available for purchase at $40 each. Those interested can call 204-942-1917.

After forming and conducting Canzona for 25 years, Engbrecht is saying goodbye to allow the group an opportunity to bring in new people, make new changes, and grow.

Engbrecht said he could stay with Canzona for a little while longer, but he would rather have a pleasant departure than a strained one.

"I’ve had my kick at it," Engbrecht said. "I’ve seen a lot of situations in my time where people overstayed their welcome. Even though they created the group, I think there is a time to leave."

Although Engbrecht will be resigning as the artistic director and conductor, he said he is still willing to help out the group when needed.

"I will be a helper, but that doesn’t imply they have to do things my way (anymore). I can let that all go," Engbrecht said.

Sarah Kirsch, Canzona ensemble member and soloist, has worked with Engbrecht for five years since moving to Winnipeg.

"I’m devastated!" Kirsch, a woman from West Broadway, said about Engbrecht’s decision to leave the group. "I’m very fortunate to have worked with him for the last five years. I’m sure he will continue to inspire people beyond his conducting."

Taking Engbrecht’s place is the University of Manitoba’s director of choral studies, Elroy Friesen, who has already worked with Canzona a few times before.

Three years ago, Engbrecht asked Friesen to be a guest conductor for one of Canzona’s performances. The performance had been successful, so the following year, Engbrecht asked Friesen to conduct again.

"It was sort of a no-brainer for the group that they were going to ask him to pick up where I left off," Engbrecht said.

"I’m very excited (Friesen) is taking over, and I think this new energy he will bring to the ensemble will reinvigorate us in a new way," Kirsch said.

For more information about Canzona, visit canzonachoir.com

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