1976 to present
A group of dynamic choral educators founded the Manitoba Choral Directors' Association in 1976 then enlarged its scope as the Manitoba Choral Association in 1981. The objectives of the organization were to advance the knowledge and appreciation of, and stimulate interest and skill in the choral arts. This would be achieved through the presentation of workshops, the publication of a newsletter, the provision of advisory services and personnel, creation of opportunities for young singers, commissioning of choral music by Manitoba composers and encouragement for the performance of Canadian choral works.
Through its regional representatives, MCA has sponsored Fall Youth Choir camps and tours since 1980. Youth Choir tours are still a strong element of MCA’s regional outreach today: in one week in October 2006, EastMan, Central and WestMan Youth Choir tours visited 27 communities and gave 32 concerts.
Provincial Honour Choirs, involving teenagers from across the province, were first held in February 1982. In 1999 the format was expanded to include a Women’s Choir, and in 2002 expanded again to add a Vocal Jazz component. In the 25 years of Provincial Honour Choirs it is estimated that over 2500 young singers have experienced the excitement and pleasure of singing in an Honour Choir. As well, MCA sponsored the Manitoba Youth Choir from 1981 to 2001.
MCA began ChoralFest Manitoba in 1987. This non-competitive festival of choral music was extended in 1993 to include a Vocal Jazz component. In November 2006, ChoralFest hosted more than 150 choirs from Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario at its events. ChoralFest Manitoba is an affiliate of MusicFest Canada.
MCA is associated nationally with the Association of Canadian Choral Conductors (ACCC) and internationally with the International Federation for Choral Music. In 2004, in cooperation with ACCC, MCA planned and hosted a most successful choral conference called “Podium 2004”, with broad national and international attendance.
The Manitoba Choral Association began publishing a newsletter in 1981, known today as Noteworthy, which is published three times a year.
MCA maintains a 2500-title choral music lending library for members. This library contains an extensive collection of Manitoba and Canadian compositions, as well as commissioned works by Manitoba composers such as Chester Duncan, Neil Harris and Sid Robinovitch. For the 25th Anniversary of Provincial Honour Choirs in February 2007, MCA commissioned a piece from Manitoba conductor and composer Andrew Balfour.
In June 2006, MCA began the development of a comprehensive website, www.manitobasings.org which now contains choral library listings, choral news, events calendar, and online registration for MCA projects and programs.
Throughout its 30 years, MCA has provided professional development opportunities for choral directors and singers. Outstanding choirs such as Chanticleer (USA), Exaudi (Cuba), Drakensburg Boys Choir (Africa), and The Nathaniel Dett Chorale (Canada) have been presented in concert, and in the future, as funding permits, MCA will continue to provide Manitobans with these and other innovative programs.
from beginning to present
Bruce S. Thompson
Bruce S. Thompson