This past weekend was a busy one for choirs across our region.

Shannon Sawatzky from the Eastman Choral Association says their Eastman Youth Choir went on their tour this weekend. 

“We set off Thursday morning for our first concert. We did a day of school tours and wrapped up on Sunday. 13 performances in four days.” 

They had 54 kids in the choir this year, which is an incredible amount. 

“I've been involved in that for 19 years and this is the biggest choir we've had since I started, so it's really cool to see the explosion of interest in our region.” 

She thinks the increased interest is due to what kids went through with COVID. 

“Our kids especially, it's like they're making up for lost time. They're just signing up for everything and they want to try all the things, and so we're just really proud of them for that.” 

The Eastman Youth Choir was joined by hundreds of others at their big concert on Friday. 

They have an annual event where they bring in four different clinicians and four different accompanists to work with four different groups which are a Grade 5 choir, a Grade 6 choir, a Junior High choir, and a Senior High choir.  

Sawatzky says they planned the event expecting around 320 kids, which is what they had last year. But when the registrations came in two days before the event, they had over 500 kids registered. 

“And so we had to do a really fast switch of location and find a different venue that could hold that many kids and that many people for a concert. It was a huge scramble, but what a wonderful problem to have.” 

She says the kids came from all across the region. 

“Richer, Pinawa, Arbor Gate School, Lorette, Ill Des Chene. And then, of course, all our Hanover kids, Crystal Springs Colony, St. Pierre, all over.” 

The Eastman Choral Society isn't done for the season just yet. 

They put on an annual peace concert every year, Sing for Peace, and this year they have brought in a local conductor.

“Some of you may know her as Colleen Schellenberg, now she is Colleen Koop-Sieben. She will be conducting our peace concert choir accompanied by Annalee Schellenberg. And that group is just a community choir, open to anybody who enjoys singing.” 

If you are interested in joining the peace concert choir, you can sign up on Eastman Choral Association’s website. 

They have three rehearsals, which are the next three Tuesdays, October 17, October 24, and November 7 from 7:00-8:30pm at Grace Mennonite Church in Steinbach. 


With files from Michelle Sawatzky 


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