"Central Sings": A Choral Celebration

From September 30th to October 1st, 2016, community and church choirs gathered in Gander, Newfoundland, for "Central Sings," a celebration of community and choral music. Funded through the BCECM's Community Project Grants program, the retreat took place at the Mint Brook Camp and Conference Centre in Gander. Community and church choirs from Grand Falls-Windsor to Fogo were invited to participate in a series of workshops promoting cooperation among Newfoundland's various choral regions.

Organized by Alta Voce Chamber Choir, the retreat was an opportunity for choral communities to meet, share knowledge, and collaborate in choral excellence. Since its formation in February 2015, Alta Voce Chamber Choir has been fostering an appreciation for chamber singing and classical music in Gander. In an effort to bridge the geographical gaps between regional choral groups, "Central Sings" brought sixty-six singers together from across the island, as well as ten choirs from four communities in central Newfoundland. St. John's-based Vocum Chamber Choir, directed by Chad Stride, were invited as featured guests at the retreat.

Workshops with Dr. Caroline Schiller, Professor of Voice and Opera at Memorial, focused on singing skills and sharing musical knowledge. Participants worked on vocal technique, sight reading, and basic theory. As an exercise break, Body Mind Yoga studio (Gander) led participants through a yoga session focused on posture, alignment, breath control, and relaxation. Chad Stride led rehearsals with the choirs.

The retreat culminated in a public concert at St. Martin's Cathedral in Gander, featuring performances by Alta Voce Chamber Choir, Cantus Vocum Chamber Choir, Beyond Youth Choir, and Dr. Caroline Schiller.

The BCECM is proud to have supported this fantastic choral event, which is sure to make ripples in the choral community for many years by promoting unity and harmony across the region and bringing choirs together in mutual support of one another.