May 17th, 2024

MHC Girls’ Choir to premiere unique song at spring concert

By ANNA SMITH on May 10, 2024.

The Medicine Hat College Girls' Choir will perform a piece composed specifically for them at the upcoming spring concert on May 22.--Submitted Photo

The Medicine Hat College Girls’ Choir is looking toward a particularly special spring concert this year, with less than a month to go.

The concert, which will take place May 22, 7 p.m. at Fifth Avenue Church, is not something out of the ordinary as the usual spring concert for the school-aged girl’s choir, says director Justine Wilks. However, this concert will feature a unique piece that has never been performed before.

“We are premiering a piece that was written for us,” said Wilks. “The girls who were in the choir in 2016 won a competition in South Africa, and one of their earnings was a commissioned piece. So this is the piece that has come to fruition, and is now given to us, the choir of 2024. And so those girls that were in the choir in 2016 are long gone, because, you know, they’ve all graduated and moved on. But, we are lucky, lucky choristers to now see the piece that was written for us.”

The piece, Pisimwak, was composed by a Canadian woman from Ontario, said Wilks, who has been invited to the concert to see the piece performed for the first time.

It’s not a traditional choral piece with repeating melodies, said Wilks, which has made it a unique challenge for the choir.

“It’s more modern. And it is an Indigenous piece about all the three different moons that you see in the sky, the eagle moon, the goose moon and the frog moon,” said Wilks. “It’s not your traditional choral piece, like I said, so it’s been harder to memorize. But they’ve had lots of fun with it. It’s got lots of interesting harmonies and words and colours to it. So we’ve had lots of fun.”

She added that the girls are excited to meet the composer because it’s rare that a choir gets to meet the person who wrote the piece they’ve worked so hard to bring to life, and get feedback on how to perhaps perform it even better.

“She’ll be getting here the day before. So we’ll invite her to come in to work with us for a couple of minutes to see what she thinks of our presentation and if she can give us suggestions,” said Wilks. “We would like to keep it in our repertoire and perform it in other concerts in the future.”

The concert is free to the public, though Wilks says they encourage donations for those who are inclined to support the girls and their music.

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