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Concert for refugees planned in Winnipeg

By John Tanner


WINNIPEG — Winnipeg’s Joie de Vivre Choir and Friends will present a concert of Christmas music in support of the refugee sponsorship partnership of St. John Brebeuf Church and St. Paul the Apostle Church.

The churches were expecting their first sponsored family Oct. 21: a Syrian family of five arriving from Lebanon. The sponsorship committee is continuing to work to bring additional refugees to Winnipeg, aided by events such as the concert and a second Sunday collection that the churches started a year ago and has been met with great enthusiasm by parishioners.

The concert is being presented Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. at St. John Brebeuf Church.

Joie de Vivre Choir is a mixed choir of 45 members from all walks of life. They rehearse in the St. John Brebeuf school gym, and perform at St. John’s College Chapel at the University of Manitoba and St. John Brebeuf Church.

Co-conductors are John Tanner and Coralie Bryant. Tanner, a retired physician, obtained his master of music degree in choral conducting from the Marcel A. Desautels Faculty of Music at the University of Manitoba. Coralie is a music educator and school administrator, and holds a master of music education from Harvard University.

Joie de Vivre’s repertoire ranges from renaissance to modern, classical to popular.

The concert program includes Tomas Luis de Victoria’s “Ave Maria,” well-loved carols, a sing-along medley of “White Christmas,” “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire,” and some Hanukkah songs along the way,

In addition to the choir, the concert will feature performances on flute and piccolo by Charmaine Bacon, and on clarinet by Colin Mehmel.

Bacon is a pianist for Joie de Vivre and obtained her bachelor of music and master of music in flute performance from the University of Manitoba and University of Toronto, and pursued further studies on flute and piccolo orchestral performance at The Glenn Gould School in Toronto. She is a flutist and instructor in the Winnipeg area, performing regularly with the Winnipeg Wind Ensemble and instructing at the Manitoba Conservatory of Music and Arts. She is co-director of the Wind Chamber Series at Crescent Fort Rouge United Church, and organist and music director at St. Peter’s Anglican Church.

Mehmel has a bachelor of music from the University of Manitoba and master of music from Michigan State University. He is a clarinetist, clinician and Feldenkrais practitioner. He teaches in the Preparatory Studies Division of the Faculty of Music at the University of Manitoba, and in the Manitoba Conservatory of Music and Art, using his knowledge of music and physiology to provide insights to his students as artists, to enable them to master specific technical challenges. He has performed with the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, the Clear Lake Music Festival, as soloist with the Mennonite Community Orchestra and Brandon University’s Clarinet Festival, and is currently principal clarinet with the Winnipeg Wind Ensemble.

Tickets are $20, children 12 years and under are admitted free. Ushers are being provided by the Knights of Columbus, and a post-concert reception will be hosted by the Catholic Women’s League.

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