BY SIERRA NAPIER / DAGLIGTALE FREELANCE WRITER
The Augustana Choir (TAC), led by the brilliant Dr. John Wiebe, spent the latter half of reading week touring rural Alberta. With stops in Castor, Stettler, Coronation, Medicine Hat, & Drumheller, TAC enjoyed musical workshops with all levels of schools along with full evening performances open to all. We sang fruity songs (quite literally) with elementary schools, taught them dances, and enveloped ourselves in the energy of their young enthusiasm. Seeing the utter joy on the faces of children as we sing is a feeling that touches the soul; it can hardly be put into words.
The transition to working with junior high students was admittedly harder than the reassuring/encouraging “wow” constantly leaving the mouths of elementary kids. Though many junior high students were too cool for school (and for showing emotions), some couldn’t hide their wide eyes and agape mouths when our sopranos soared on their high notes. The high school workshops were a blast, we fed off their awe, and we’re sure we inspired excitement in students towards attending Augustana. We hope our performances planted seeds in the minds of students for pursuing Augustana or even just music itself.
All of the schools we visited across rural Alberta showed some degree of passion for music—whether it be glee in listening to our chamber choir, excitement to sing along with us, or silliness towards learning dance moves. The protection and preservation of music in schools is critical to a healthy and happy society. What else affects the soul quite like music? Singing releases endorphins, provides an escape from the monotonous stresses of life, provides a basis for bonding and a sense of community, and allows humans (and non-human animals) to create sounds that touch hearts and lift spirits. Seeing the effect of our harmonies on audiences will forever be one of my favourite life-experiences that brings tears to my eyes and a literal warmth to my insides—and though that is admittedly corny, if you know, you know.
The Augustana Choir’s next stop is the Edmonton Winspear Centre on March 29th, alongside the UofA’s Madrigal Singers & renowned Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, performing Franz Joseph Hayden’s Harmoniemesse. The final weeks of the TAC term will be in preparation for our final performance of the 2019/2020 year: our spring concert on April 18th.
It is undoubtedly important to support music, not only at Augustana, but in everything we do. Just think! How beautiful it is that we are capable of producing such wonder and can share it with the world. I hope to see many smiling faces at the final concert. Tickets for students are $5 if purchased five minutes before the concert (located in the Faith & Life Chapel)—consider it a study break, a nourishment for your mental health. Please allow us to share our music with you. All of our hard work over this school year has been building up to this final performance. If you promise to bring eager ears, we’ll promise to leave our hearts on the stage.
The Augustana Choir President
(Editor’s Note: Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Augustana Choir’s concert at the Winspear Centre and its April 18 spring concert have been cancelled. However, if you’re a student who’ll be back at Augustana next year, and you think this sounds like a fun time, come on down and audition this September! This editor can assure you that yes, it really is a great time.)