Celebrating 100 years of song
Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 21/09/2022 (261 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
It was a ‘moderate’ -20 C on Dec. 11, 1922, when the Winnipeg Philharmonic Choir held its inaugural concert, marking the beginning of what has become a 100-year institution.
In the 1970s, my mother joined the Phil, which she thoroughly enjoyed for 20 years. One of her treasured highlights was performing at Carnegie Hall in the Big Apple.
When the Phil put out a call for 1,000 voices to sing Handel’s Messiah at the Winnipeg Arena with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra in 1980, I jumped at the chance to sing with my mom – and the other 998 choristers, of course.
Fresh out of high school, I enjoyed singing with the Phil for the next 10 years, and enjoyed even more the special bonding time with my mom during rehearsals, concerts, performance trips all over Manitoba, and a trip to Vancouver where we accidently happened upon Wreck Beach. Let’s just say the other beachgoers were wearing little more than smiles.
Even my dad was involved with the Phil. He volunteered on the Board but didn’t sing. He often joked that he couldn’t hold a tune, but he was the choir’s biggest fan.
Fast forward a few decades, and now their granddaughter is a member of the Phil. I am so proud of her for continuing the family legacy, and I know her grandparents are smiling.
On Dec. 11, 2022, the Phil will present a special 100th anniversary Christmas with the Phil concert, exactly 100 years to the day of their very first performance.
Special guests will include a Phil Alumni Choir, former Phil conductor Henry Engbrecht, and the Winnipeg Boys Choir, which is marking its 98th anniversary.
To add to the celebration, the choirs will perform a special piece written by Winnipegger Leonard Enns, and two carols arranged by two young Winnipeg composers.
I am excited to be part of the 100th anniversary planning committee, and even more excited to join the other alumni in singing at this special anniversary concert.
The Phil is reaching out to all alumni, with an invitation to join us for this one-time event in December. If you are an interested alumnus or alumna, please e-mail Phil100th@gmail.com.
The Phil’s 2022-23 season continues with a gala concert on April 1, and a spring concert on May 14. We invite all Winnipeggers to join us in the celebrations this season. For tickets visit www.https://thephil.ca
St. James-Assiniboia community correspondent
Wanda Prychitko is a community correspondent for St. James-Assiniboia.