It’s not just Quesnel who loves the InSong Choir.
For almost 10 years, children have been wowing local audiences and expanding their vocal skills in the local singing ensemble. This week, they were given provincewide confirmation of their abilities, placing second in B.C. at the provincial performing arts festival.
InSong took the silver medal in the Community Choirs: Average Age 12 and Under category. The Okanagan Children’s Choir took gold and another nearby choir, the Prince George Tapestry Singers, earned an honourable mention.
“We received excellent feedback from the adjudicator, tips that we will put into practice when we start up again in the fall,” said InSong’s choir director Melanie McKinnon. “She complimented our tuning, mentioned that our tone was not pushed and that our singing technique was developing well. Mrs. Margot Rose has been a mentor of mine and one thing she said to me that I take to heart (among many) is ‘never sing louder than lovely.’ As a voice teacher I concentrate on three things: alignment, breathing and vowels. Take those three things and then add good storytelling and you can create a beautiful experience for everyone – audience, director and choristers. For myself the end goal is to communicate with the audience and have them communicate back to you – to touch and move people. That is what makes us human – this need to communicate.”
The youth choir started in 2015 with McKinnon as director, manager Bev Haluschak and accompanist Anna Allan. They evolved to the point they were about to take off on their first ensemble choir trip when COVID struck and all plans and rehearsals were scuttled. For two and a half years, InSong remained dormant. When they re-engaged after the lockdowns were eased, only one original singer remained, but a crop of new singers was ready to grow with the group and assistant manager Sheila Pritchard also joined the fold.
The results have quickly been successful. In a busy past year, InSong put on a Christmas concert, took part in the Quesnel Festival of the Performing Arts where they qualified to be competitors in the provincial event, submitted their video recording for that festival’s adjudication process, put on a spring concert, had a wrap-up pizza party, and that is where everyone involved in the choir was given the good news about the silver medal.
“We now have a summer break, but will return to practice in the fall,” said McKinnon. “Our choir meets at the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Quesnel (they have been wonderful supporters of this community choir). Our first rehearsal will be on Sept. 13 at 6 p.m. and we will have two open rehearsals. If you are interested in joining the choir, please contact us. Melanie McKinnon (choir director): 250-255-1739 or Bev Haluschak (choir manager): 250-255-0867. We can arrange a time to meet as I like to have an informal ‘audition’ where I have a listen and give them some pointers that show them how I work.”
The 2023 InSong Youth Choir is made up of Hope Anderson, Lilli Anderson, Adelaide Anderton, Celeste Anderton, Mattias Anderton, Emerie Bateman, Abagail Butler, Tiffany Butler, Hannah Clayton, Kaydence Goertzen, Ren’ai Goffic, Malea Ireland, Norah McDonald, Audrey Rowe, Annabelle Surcess, Jorja Stuart-Scholefield, Yuki Sturt.