All Around the Circle

Prairie Singers will present All Around The Circle in Winkler and Morden March 10.

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Prairie Singers will present All Around The Circle in Winkler and Morden March 10.
The choir, made up of about 30 members from the Winkler and Morden area will present the concert at 2:30 p.m. at Winkler’s Emmanuel Mennonite Church and then again at 7 p.m. at the Morden Mennonite Church.
Marilyn Houser Hamm has been the choir’s conductor for two years and said the title for this event comes from the song cycle of that name by Canadian composer John Greer.
“It became kind of the seed bed for the concert being based on folk music largely and of the English speaking world and the idea that we are literally travelling all around the circle with this delightful theme of folk based music in this particular concert,” she said.
The choir will begin in Austria, singing three folk songs from the Austrian tradition, then on to the ballroom in Vienna, followed by a collection called Brahm’s Liebeslieder Waltzes with duo pianists.
Choir accompanist Faye Carruthers will be joined by Neubergthal’s Samantha Klassen.
This will be followed by the a cappella tradition and early American songs including spirituals. Hauser Hamm said the second half of the program includes a Celtic feel and will feature flautist Earl Reimer in a song called Wild Mountain in Time, known to many as Go Lassie Go, the final song sung every year at the Winnipeg Folk Festival.
There will be a collection of solos including Ray Giesbrecht and Darren Kehler.
“The sheer choral four part texture of the choir is really beautiful,” Hauser Hamm said.
Prairie Singers has an ambitious schedule, starting rehearsals in January with the concert happening in March.
“This choir has set a bar that’s quite high for itself,” Houser Hamm said. “As a director… I have a vision for that sound… when that begins to emerge it’s just terribly exciting.”
This is the second season Marilyn Houser Hamm has conducted the choir and said it’s her ongoing passion for music, choral sound, voices and community building that keep her involved.
“The passion that this group has for choral singing and for being this choir together is phenomenal,” she said. “I think the community is so fortunate to have them.”
Stephen Knott is one of the original members of Prairie Singers. He joined when the choir was formed in 2003 under the direction of Ben Pauls and accompanist Cameron Friesen (currently the MLA for Morden-Winkler and the Health Minister).
“Originally in this area all the churches had a church choir and choral singing was a big deal, but that’s less and less,” he said. “I think this has been a choir that capitalized on people that were interested and wanted to keep that tradition going.”
Knott, a tenor, said a love of singing and being challenged by the repertoire has kept him coming back. “We’ve had three or four excellent directors that have really challenged us,” he said.
All Around The Circle will be presented on March 10 at 2:30 p.m. in Winkler’s Emmanuel Mennonite Church and then again at 7:30 p.m. at Morden Mennonite Church, 362 Gilmour St. Tickets are $10 each ($5 for students) and are available from any choir member or at the door. Your ticket allows you to choose time and location.

Prairie Singers will present All Around The Circle in Winkler and Morden March 10.

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