The Maples Collegiate Chamber Choir received some exciting news over the summer break.
On July 21, choir directors Dorothy Dyck and Philip Lapatha heard from the Canadian Federation of Music Festivals that the Maples Chamber Choir was the national winner of the Paul J. Bourret Award for School Choirs in the 19 and under category.
They can now call their choir one of the best high school choirs in Canada. However, Dyck and Lapatha said their students’ motivation to learn goes way beyond being recognized as the best.
"They learn more than just how to sing. They are also learning about themselves and their place in the world and how they would approach knowing themselves and this world through music, through singing," Lapatha said. "We just want it to be known that this arts education is really beyond knowing about half notes and pitches. It really is about the entire scope of the student.
"The students who are part of this winning choir had a chance to grow through the singing that they’ve done."
Dyck said they are proud of this accomplishment and that the success came as a result of the students’ commitment to the choir. She said they never go into a school year with winning awards in mind. She added they were surprised to hear from the Canadian Federation of Music Festivals, because they had forgotten their recording had gone forward.
"We were on summer holidays and got an email and we were very pleasantly surprised. Whereas we’ve advanced in this category before in the past, we certainly had no intention of being the chosen choir. It was a delightful, cherry on top, for a busy and successful year," she continued.
Although the students have strong technical skills, Dyck and Lapatha said they are also a group of responsible youth who are dedicated to their craft and friendship fostered. Dyck added the accomplishment of the choir only came through everything that happens behind the scenes.
"I don’t believe it’s possible for a choir to sing with heart and with beauty, moving a listener, without all of that background. We’ve worked with most of these kids since Grade 9, so it’s a three-year, four-year relationship that they’ve had with us and their choir family," she said.
"They were a very loving and open group. Once your heart and mind are in that place where you can approach things with openness, you can do so much. They were open to new music, they were open to trying new ways to perform, they were open to each other’s company," Lapatha added.
Community journalist — The Times
Ligia Braidotti is the community journalist for The Times. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org