Women’s choir readies winter concert


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A local women’s choir forced into dormancy by the COVID-19 pandemic is staging its return to live performance this weekend in Steinbach.

Accent Women’s Ensemble will present its first winter concert in three years on Sunday, Jan. 22 at 2 p.m. in the Mennonite Heritage Village auditorium.

“We are very excited to draw a big crowd of people who having been missing choral music,” conductor Meredith Hutchinson said as choir members assembled for a Monday evening rehearsal.

JORDAN ROSS THE CARILLON The 30-member Accent Women’s Ensemble will be led through an hour-long performance by conductor Meredith Hutchinson (left) and pianist Annalee Schellenberg.

Accent normally performs two concerts per year at MHV, one in January and one in June, and Hutchinson said members are eager to get back into that rhythm.

Attendees can expect an hour-long choral performance spanning several genres, including classical, contemporary, sacred, folk, and jazz.

“Everyone will find something,” Hutchinson said.

She selected familiar, crowd-pleasing songs that are sure to resonate with the audience and performers alike.

“We’re not looking to stress ourselves out with big ambitious works,” she said. “We are here to just really work on singing beautiful harmonies together.”

Hutchinson’s favourite number in the setlist is a rendition of “Song for a Winter’s Night” by Canadian troubadour Gordon Lightfoot.

“It’s my favourite because I’m just so proud of how far we’ve come with it,” Hutchinson said. “This one was a challenge and so it’s just very satisfying when something finally settles and you see the growth.”

Instrumentation will be minimal, with pianist Annalee Schellenberg providing accompaniment on some songs.

Accent was founded over a decade ago by Sheila Ardies, a vocal and choral instructor. Hutchinson said membership has doubled since the pandemic, to 30 members.

“People have been inquiring about where to sing in this town. It’s growing.”

Sunday’s concert has rush seating with admission by cash or cheque at the door. Rates are $12 for adults and $5 for students aged 13 and up. Children 12 and under get in free.

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