Monday, December 17, 2012


Repertoire for the MHC Adult Choir Winter 2013 season is all ready to go...  The title of this post is your hint.  More details to come!

Friday, November 2, 2012

One month until Christmas...concert!

The Medicine Hat College Conservatory of Music and Dance is proud to present this year's annual Choral Christmas Concert!  The MHC Children's Choir, Girls' Choir, and Adult Choir will be featured in this upcoming concert.  We are also proud to be accompanied by the MHC Academy Orchestra in presenting Camille Saint-Saëns' Christmas Oratorio. Read on to learn a bit more about the Academy Orchestra's and Adult Choir's upcoming performance. 

Born in Paris, France and best known for his composition Carnvial of the Animals, Saint-Saëns quickly learned music theory, piano, several languages, math, and various other academic subjects.  After his intelligences were discovered, his teachers were quick to help nurture his abilities.  Saint-Saëns soon became friends with many other composers such as Liszt and Fauré. In addition to his many natural abilities, Saint-Saëns supposedly also had perfect pitch!

What is perfect pitch? The best way to explain this gift is to imagine how fresh (or un-fresh) your brain is in the morning.  If you were asked to sing or identify a 'G' right after waking up, most people would not be able to produce the correct answer.  However, a select few are able to do this without any trouble.  Identifying or producing a pitch is as natural and easy as identify or producing a commonly spoken English word.  It is important to consider this talent in light of the morning because many people have something called relative pitch.  Relative pitch means that once you know that you have successfully identified a note, you are able to successfully identify every note you hear afterwards.  This means that at any point during the day you can relate the pitch you already know to the pitch you are hearing and you are then able to identify it.  When you wake up in the morning however, you have nothing to refer to thus making it impossible to identify a pitch without a prior reference point.

Saint-Saëns is rumored to write his Oratorio de Noël, or Christmas Oratorio in less than ten days in order to meet pressures from his employer.  It includes a small string orchestra, organ, harp, soloists, and choir.  Because there are no harp players who live in Medicine Hat, we will substitute some sort of keyboard instrument for the harp.  Also, in order to allow the choir (and audiences) maximal enjoyment, the majority of the solo, duet, and trio parts will be sung by the entire choir.  Saint-Saëns modeled several movements after the most famous (even at his time) Johann Sebastian Bach, including the initial Prelude and movements echoing the same theme.  Written in 6/8 time, these 'pastoral' movements are reminiscent of shepherds in their fields who played instruments like flutes and recorders while tending their sheep.

Perhaps the most famous movement of Saint-Saëns' Christmas Oratorio is the last movement.  Familiar to most choral music fans, it is a strong, triumphant, and fitting end to the joyous re-telling of the Christmas story.

We look forward to you joining us at this joyous concert!  Join us on Sunday, December 2 at 3pm at Fifth Avenue Memorial United Church to hear some glorious music!

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Back to School, Back to Singing!

It's time to start gearing up for another year of fantastic music making!  Here are some reminders and some information about the upcoming season:

First Rehearsals

MHC Adult Choir - Tuesday, September 11, 7pm
MHC Girls' Choir - Wednesday, September 12, 7pm
MHC Children's Choir - Wednesday, September 12, 5:45pm


MHC Adult Choir - Christmas Oratorio (Oratorio de Noel) by Camille Saint-Saens. Check out some info on Saint-Saens, and listen to a sample here.

MHC Girl's Choir - A selection of music composed by Canadians including an a cappella Latin Mass by Stephanie Martin, We Rise Again which was made popular by the Rankin Family, and two modern motets about being female, Sisters and This Morning by Gwyneth Walker

MHC Children's Choir - a bunch of fun yet challenging stuff, just like always!


All three groups will share a Christmas Concert this year. Sunday, December 2, 3pm, Fifth Avenue Memorial United Church

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Hello Choir Fans! The Medicine Hat College Adult Choir is excited to be preparing Alexander L'Estrange's Zimbe! this upcoming term.

Zimbe! is a brilliant fusion of traditional African song and jazz, in a format which is already drawing together singers of all ages, ability and nationalities across the globe. The music is accessible, instantly likeable and fun to learn as well as to perform.

Composer Alexander L'Estrange, himself a highly regarded jazz pianist and bass player, has chosen songs from all over Africa and arranged them wonderfully, interleaving the choral writing with the instruments of the jazz ensemble.

This is a work which forges links between adult choirs and massed children's choirs, placing singing at the heart of the community as it always has been in Africa. And, since jazz grew out of blues which itself sprang from the mouths of African people, what better accompaniment for these songs than a jazz quintet? Zimbe! is at times touching and moving, at other times funky and grooving and all of the time incredibly uplifting both for performers and audiences alike.

Check out the Zimbe! website for information on CD recordings, iTunes tracks, part learning help, and other interesting and helpful resources. Also check out the Zimbe! Facebook site.

The MHC Adult Choir is welcoming new members who are interested in singing, meeting new people, and preparing a concert of African works.  No experience is necessary, only an interest in music and a desire to work hard and enjoy the results.  If you or anyone you know is interested in joining, please contact Bradley van Middelkoop,

Rehearsals are Tuesdays from 7-9pm at the Cultural Centre and begin on January 10. Looking forward to an exciting term learning some fantastic African choral music!