InSong Youth Choir is all about friendship. (Photo submitted)

Community kids in Quesnel can sing InSong in choir

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

Before anyone can sing, they have to sign.

The InSong Youth Choir is for kids in about Grade 4 to about Grade 12 (there are flexibilities, depending on the circumstances). Today (Aug. 16) is the first in a series of registration days where Quesnel’s young voices can join up and become part of the music. There will be a quick sign-up process and then a singing assessment, but InSong manager Beverley Haluschak urges kids (and their families) to have no nervous fear about that part of the process.

“It is not an audition to see if you can join our choir, it is to see where we will put your voice in our choir,” Haluschak said. “You have to make sure the right voice is in the right place. We’ve never turned anyone away. We are happy to have someone come along who just wants to sing. We just take the time to place voices just so in the choir.”

The cost to register is $200 per year “and you get a lot for that $200,” Haluschak said.

The organization is alert to the fact that times are financially difficult, so if the fee is an obstacle, please reach out to discuss ways to ensure a child who wants to sing gets to sing.

“We are very aware that the choir is much more than just a singing group,” said Haluschak. “It is a safe place where children can feel accepted and valued, so it’s developing friendships, understanding that we all make mistakes and don’t make fun of each other when they happen, we just carry on and try again, and make sure everyone knows we move forward together. All of our behaviours reflect on the entire choir. Each chorister is a reflection of the whole, so manners and behaviour are talked about, too.”

In addition to regular rehearsals where the young singers learn how to improve their vocal skills, their collaboration skills, and their music theory understanding, InSong Youth Choir also makes public appearances, as part of their annual activities.

They have been invited to sing O Canada at the opening of the BC Winter Games, coming up in early 2024, for example.

They are the reigning provincial silver medalists in their category, after competing at the Quesnel Festival of the Performing Arts, followed by their entry in the B.C. performing arts festival where they won their high honour.

They appear sometimes at events like Remembrance Day.

“Not everyone is given this gift, so it is important to share and give thanks,” said Haluschak. “We make sure our choristers share their gift with the community by taking them to nursing homes, retirement homes. We also encourage them to talk with the residents and some of the choristers are nervous about that, so we give them some pointers on how to have a conversation with the seniors, to smile and thank them for listening.”

In addition to Haluschak as manager, InSong is operated by conductor Melanie McKinnon and accompanist Anna Allan. Prior to the pandemic shutdowns that sapped the momentum and numbers of almost all youth groups, the choir’s size was about 30 singers. They are building back towards that, and no experience or ability to read music is required to be a singer in this rebuilding but already strong group. There is no reason the pre-pandemic numbers can’t be eclipsed.

“By the end of the year, it feels like they’re our kids, and we have to thank the parents for loaning us their children,” Haluschak said. “And we always follow them after they leave us and go on to bigger and better things. They are always a part of us, and that goes with them. We try to create an atmosphere where they understand that they are important in the world. Every person in this world has something to contribute. You can be a gift wherever they are. We try to cultivate that, and show them how much we value them.”

All choir activities, including today’s registration window from 2-4 p.m., take place at the Quesnel Seventh Day Adventist Church (1518 Maple Drive, across from Red Bluff Lhtako Elementary School). Organizers stress that the group is a community choir, not a church choir. They are very grateful to the Seventh Day Adventist organization for their long and generous partnership. The Cariboo Cares Community Foundation and Cariboo Forest Consultants are also generous regular sponsors.

There will also be an information booth at the Aug. 19 edition of the Quesnel Farmers’ Market, and a couple of open rehearsals in September where those thinking about registration can come for a listen and a sing and an orientation.

For information, InSong has a Facebook page or call either McKinnon at 250-747-0032 or Haluschak at 250-255-0867.

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

READ MORE: Quesnel’s Youth Choir is well on its way to a successful community group

Live musicQuesnel


Spring Concert 2023 exemplified a successful year for the award-winning InSong Youth Choir from Quesnel. (Photo contributed)