As the lazy days of summer wind to a close, one group of singers is set to showcase the fruits of their musical labour. 


SummerChör is, as the name implies, a summer choir designed to fill the void that typically takes place in singers’ schedules over the months of June, July and August.  

"There’s always a whole bunch of singers around but there’s no choirs,” says director Neil Weisensel. 

Borrowing the idea from friends in Vancouver, the composer and conductor who works as a professor at Canadian Mennonite University and directs the World Village Gospel Choir sought to change that.  

The non-auditioned choir gives singers the opportunity to perform a choral masterwork alongside a pick-up orchestra in late days of summer.

Renowned works by Brahms, Mozart, and Fauré have been performed in years past, with Schubert’s Mass no. 6 in E-flat, D. 950 on the program this year.  

“It’s a great piece,” says Weisensel. “It’s got so much drama... there’s some beautiful solo singing, there’s some very tranquil stuff, and there’s some really powerful stuff with choir and orchestra going full tilt.”  

Mezzo-soprano soloist Hailey Witt agrees. 

“It’s almost operatic in a way,” she says, of the last of the Schubert masses.  

Fresh off a run with Manitoba Underground Opera, the Manitoba-born singer joins SummerChör as one of five soloists to perform in the Schubert mass.  

This year’s choir is made up of roughly 60 singers, plus 30 orchestral players – the first time since pre-pandemic that symphonic forces have joined the choir for performance.  

“This is a community effort,” says Weisensel, who has assembled a group of players ranging in experience from students to professional musicians.  

SummerChör presents Schubert’s Mass no. 6 on Wednesday, August 30 at Knox United Church. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. with performance at 7 p.m.  

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