Quesnel’s InSong Youth Choir were named B.C. silver medalists for their age group, in 2023. (InSong photo)

Quesnel’s InSong Youth Choir were named B.C. silver medalists for their age group, in 2023. (InSong photo)

Choir festival in Quesnel an anniversary treat for InSong

Local youth choir celebrating milestone with big event

People sing the praises of any organization that reaches the 10-year milestone, so of course the InSong Quesnel Youth Choir is going to raise their voices for it.

The organizers are also going to raise the bar. This will not be just another InSong year. Special things are planned, the apex of which is the choral festival they will host in Quesnel for the first time.

“It’s a really exciting thing. We’ve never done anything like this before, and we thought it was a perfect project for our 10th anniversary,” said InSong manager Bev Haluschak.

The event will happen the last weekend of April. A special guest clinician will be present, hear each attending choir sing, but also assemble all the singers into a single mass choir which will then perform as a huge single group for the grand finale. Few young choral singers have a chance to perform in an ensemble that big, so it is part of the added value a festival of this nature can offer. Out of town choirs are already signing up to be here for it.

Food and accommodation will need to be arranged, said Haluschak, “but that’s part of the fun of it, isn’t it?” It’s almost like a hockey tournament or Scout jamboree, only it’s for performers.

“There is a particular joy in singing together,” said Haluschak. “You’re telling a story, with your face, your body, and your voice, and the experience of singing together and sharing that gift. It’s not as prevalent in schools as it used to be.”

Haluschak was singing in a choir herself – the eight-voice group After Eight – along with Melanie McKinnon and Anna Allan (daughter of longtime Quesnel choral director Margot Rose) when they conceived the idea together for a youth ensemble. McKinnon was tapped as the conductor and Allan as the accompanist. Thus began their 10-year (and counting) adventure.

“Melanie is a very professional conductor. She puts a lot of emphasis on vocal technique and making sure we’re not pushing anyone’s voice beyond what would be good for them,” said Haluschak, adding that InSong is a true community choir, not one centred on a particular theme like gospel or folk or classical. “It’s a very inclusive group. We are interested in people of all walks of life, all ethnicities, whatever. I believe we can always learn something from each other.”

Registration for the choir is $200 per year (if that is a financial barrier, please reach out to the organizers, who are equipped to help). Those who wish to sing may join, regardless of past experience.

Anyone interested in singing with InSong Quesnel Youth Choir can come to one of the upcoming open rehearsals, to watch the singers and meet the organizers. Those open rehearsals are also an opportunity for an interested young person to sing for the purposes of voice placement in the choir (voice tones have different stations in the group, it is not an audition, those who wish to sing with InSong are accepted).

Those rehearsals are on Sept. 13 and 20 at 6 p.m. at 1518 Maple Drive (Seventh Day Adventist Church).

Inquiries can also be made through the InSong – Quesnel Youth Choir Facebook page, or by phoning InSong manager Bev Haluschak (250-255-0867) or conductor Melanie McKinnon (250-747-0032).

READ MORE: Quesnel’s InSong is in silver, winning second overall in B.C.

READ MORE: Award-winning youth chorus calling on new singers of all backgrounds

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