Advertisement

Niverville Choral Society Announce Spring Concert

Share:

Choral Society Crop
The Niverville Community Choir. Rob Bonefaas

The Niverville Choral Society will present a concert, Sing Into Spring, on Friday, April 29 at 7:30 p.m. at the Ambassador Canadian Reformed Church in Niverville.

Directed by Rob Bonefaas and accompanied by Rina Schriemer, the choral society consists of the Niverville Kids and Youth Choir (ages 5 to 17) and the Niverville Community Choir (ages 18+).

The tone of the evening will be a joyful welcoming of spring, filled with thoughtful selections from Frostiana by Randall Thompson, which features Robert Frost’s well-known poetry set to mixed chorus and piano accompaniment, along with a selection of folk songs, traditional hymns, a crowd-pleasing Mary Poppins medley, and youthful songs about animals.

Sing into Spring Program

A strong selection of music has been selected and organizers are excited about what each specific song has to offer. Since November, Bonefaas has been putting careful attention into selecting songs that will lead people who are tired of winter into spring excitement.

One of the concert’s main highlights will be the performance of Frostiana by Randall Thompson.

“It’s a big piece,” says Bonefaas. “It is based on a text by well-known poet Robert Frost. They took that beauty of that text and put it to music. There was a set of songs, and they always rang home to me as being a wonderful piece of music that we can share and think about what we can do with it in our own little town.”

Frostiana will feature music and text from popular Frost poems “The Road Not Taken” and “A Girl’s Garden.”

“This is music that reminds us what it’s like looking forward to the things we can enjoy outside and being part of the beauty of being outside, as only Robert Frost can put into words,” says Bonefaas. “As well as ‘Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,’ which… is a very peaceful piece, pointing forward to another time of beauty.”

He says it hasn’t been easy to narrow down the song list, but that it was important to convey a specific message through each number that would help people let go of what was yet again a challenging winter for many.

“I knew we needed to do other things, too, to bring one’s spirits up. So we’ll do one called ‘The Famous Folk,’ a medley of folk songs, and it introduces a very different feel all of a sudden. And then also a medley from Mary Poppins, with a great many pieces that we are all likely very well familiar with.”

For the Niverville Kids and Youth Choir, their songs will feature strong themes about animals. Bonefaas says that kids naturally love to sing, especially about animals, and they tend to find the songs very fun and silly. The selection covers songs about penguins, caterpillars, a camel, and even a choral version of the pop song “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.”

Bonefaas says that it’s not just choir members who have missed out on so much over the last two years; communities with singers and non-singers alike have all missed being able to gather together to share in song.

“What a great way to embrace spring, with that idea of being able to do this together again, in all of these different styles of music,” he says. “That is what I want to bring out to offer everybody.”

The concert will culminate with an invitation for the audience to sing the Canadian national anthem along with the choir. Bonefaas says this is to bring people together and celebrate where we live.

“We love that we are here of all people, free to get together,” says Bonefaas. “It is beautiful that we can do this. It is possible. Let’s move forward to bringing music to our community and making music together with our community.”

Getting Back to Normal

In January 2020, Bonefaas started the Niverville Youth Choir to give local young people access to singing and the experience of making music together. It had a strong start with 40 initial members.

“We had had a Christmas program [in 2019] with the kids at our church, the Ambassador Christian Reformed Church, and it was like, ‘Well, I think we can make this into a sort of a choral society,” says Bonefaas. “So I decided to call on the troops and see what kind of people we could get together to have a youth choir… So that’s how it got kick-started.”

And then COVID hit.

The pandemic had an impact on choral singing off and on as restrictions were tightened and loosened. The conditions were extremely challenging for music-minded professionals who wanted to run programming that brought artistic and social benefits to the community.

“In 2020, we had a stretch that lasted well into 2021,” he say. “Then in winter of 2020–21, I was able to put something together, but it never really went anywhere—mainly because COVID and more restrictions came back in May to June 2021. It was a hard time, but we kept trying.”

With his background in professional music and as a vocal teacher, Bonefaas decided to go ahead and open the Manitoba Music Academy based out of Niverville in April 2021.

“The music academy opened last year in April, so it’s only been open for one year,” says Bonefaas. “There have been lots of challenges to singing or playing wind instruments indoors due to restrictions and we’ve tried to navigate them as best we could. I feel the music academy has gone really quite well, though, with a variety of different things we are trying do and trying to establish.”

In the fall of 2021, public health restrictions once again allowed for indoor singing.

“I thought, if I do a kids and youth choir, and keep that going somehow during all this time, then maybe even on top of that we could see if there would be an interest in an adult choir,” says Bonefaas. “I said, ‘Let’s see what we can get started and there was a response… it became the Niverville Choral Society.”

Last fall, the choir began preparing for a Christmas concert. But restrictions tightened once again, leading to a lot of disappointment.

Instead of hosting an indoor concert in December, they shifted gears to plan for an outdoor concert in November. The event was a success.

“We were able to have outdoor refreshments and all the sweet stuff,” Bonefaas says. “The pianist had to deal with the most extreme challenges. It was cold for her and we tried to help her the best we could. We tried to put her in the sunshine! We got the audience to sing songs together with us because it was cold outside and singing warms you up. It ended up being about four pieces we put together as a community choir, and about an hour outside. I think people really enjoyed it.”

When the mask mandate was lifted in Manitoba on March 15, Bonefaas saw that he would soon be able to get back to business as usual.

“It still feels a little bit strange [to take the masks off],” he adds. “We began to be able to sit closer together and learn much faster by sitting together and learn the different facets of music. Instead of spread out in a large group, we were able to place everybody near the front, close to the piano and stand closer together.”

Music as Love in Action

Bonefaas exudes passion and energy for the musical arts. Born in the Netherlands, he has classical training and a Bachelor of Music in vocal performance from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, as well as a Bachelor in Education from the University of Manitoba.

In his experience, connection with others is extremely important, not just to perform well but to contribute goodness and love through the art of sound. He says that he draws passion for his vocation from a deep foundation of Christian faith.

“It’s the community in my mind when I think about this,” he says. “Being able to share with each other the love and the beauty that we can engage in with one another, especially to the glory of our Father, of God… the way we can think about sharing one another, about what we have received from each other, and being able to give that back to each other.”

Bonefaas believes that human and divine connection is made possible through sound and through voice.

“The voice is able to share with one another the great depth of what comes to you, which is much greater than just numbers and melodies,” he says. “It’s when it comes all together and you listen to one another and are raising each other up to something new, bigger, and greater than yourself… that is when you move forward with new understanding into a much deeper way of doing things than you could do before.”

Advertisement
More ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Career Change: From Criminologist to Full-Time Piano Teacher

For new mom Amy Neufeld, opening a piano studio in Niverville in the middle of a pandemic was not part of the plan. The criminology major had been working at her dream job with Manitoba Justice, but...

Read more

For new mom Amy Neufeld, opening a piano studio in Niverville in the middle of a pandemic was not part of the plan. The criminology major had been working at her dream job with Manitoba Justice, but...

Read more

Podcaster Shines Spotlight on Singer-Songwriters

It’s not enough for Ian Krochak to sing and write his own music. He also wants to explore the minds of other singer-songwriters—and he wants to share that exploration with...

Read more

It’s not enough for Ian Krochak to sing and write his own music. He also wants to explore the minds of other singer-songwriters—and he wants to share that exploration with...

Read more
Advertisement

Niverville Entrepreneur Launches Virtual Art Gallery

Niverville entrepreneur Rory Hiebert’s vision goes beyond reality. “Virtual” isn’t really the right word for his new venture, which he describes as a 3D art experience. Indeed, there is...

Read more

Niverville entrepreneur Rory Hiebert’s vision goes beyond reality. “Virtual” isn’t really the right word for his new venture, which he describes as a 3D art experience. Indeed, there is...

Read more

A Narrative of Hope: New Novel Celebrates Rural Diversity

K.R. Byggdin may not technically be Mennonite, but you’d never know after reading their book, Wonder World. Byggdin grew up in Niverville and still seems to have their finger on the pulse of...

Read more

K.R. Byggdin may not technically be Mennonite, but you’d never know after reading their book, Wonder World. Byggdin grew up in Niverville and still seems to have their finger on the pulse of...

Read more
Advertisement

The Reklaws to Headline Niverville Fair

After two years of pandemic shutdown, the Niverville Olde Tyme Country Fair is planning to make a triumphant return to southeastern Manitoba this summer—specifically, on the weekend of June...

Read more

After two years of pandemic shutdown, the Niverville Olde Tyme Country Fair is planning to make a triumphant return to southeastern Manitoba this summer—specifically, on the weekend of June...

Read more

Author’s Book Focuses on Challenge of Caring for a Sick Child

A Niverville woman has a new book out this holiday season. Rochelle T. Moffit’s Through It All tells the autobiographical story of how she lost a child but managed to live through the grief and...

Read more

A Niverville woman has a new book out this holiday season. Rochelle T. Moffit’s Through It All tells the autobiographical story of how she lost a child but managed to live through the grief and...

Read more
Advertisement

Music Academy Provides Music Exploration for All Ages

Music, they say, has the power to unite the world through its ability to transcend all language barriers. For some individuals, like Rob Bonefaas of Music Academy Manitoba, music is both passion and...

Read more

Music, they say, has the power to unite the world through its ability to transcend all language barriers. For some individuals, like Rob Bonefaas of Music Academy Manitoba, music is both passion and...

Read more
Time until next issue
Citizen Poll

To what degree has the 2022 flood affected you in your life and everyday activities?

For related article, see link below.
https://nivervillecitizen.com/...