Menno Simons plays host to national music festival

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This past weekend 350 students from all across Canada came to the Canadian Association of Mennonite Schools Music Festival.  Held ever four years, this year’s event was hosted by Menno Simons Christian School.  Involving band and choir students in Grades 4 – 12, the students participated in workshops, concerts, stampede events, chapel, a trip to the zoo and were blessed to work under the guidance of guest conductors.

The event kicked off on Thursday night with a concert for the students.  They heard a local jazz band, The Blue Imperials.  This was followed by an excellent Mennonite Comedian, Matt Falk, who kept the whole room in stitches.  Harmony Through Harmony closed off the evening with their beautiful harmonies.  Through music and the arts, Harmony through Harmony seeks to build community, expand worldviews, develop leaders and fight for justice for the oppressed.  Their performance was extremely powerful for everyone.

On Friday, the students participated in rehearsals for the Mass Band, Junior Mass Choir and Senior Mass Choir. Choir Directors Malcolm Edwards and Erica Phare-Bergh and Band Director Mike Gardner had the batons.  They also had opportunities to mingle with the other schools, getting to know students from BC to Ontario.  In the evening the students enjoyed listening to their peers as each school’s music groups performed.  The quality of this music was truly outstanding.

Saturday started with more rehearsals, including a mass dress rehearsal.  Despite much snow, all 350 students and their chaperones then headed on the C Train to the Calgary Zoo.  They enjoyed this world class facility throughout the afternoon.  A wonderful barbeque was hosted at the zoo with a fantastic worship band keeping things rocking throughout the evening.

On Sunday, all the Music Festival Participants and many other supporting church members came to a chapel service at Menno Simons.  Cindy Klassen was interviewed by two students, other students shared a message in reader’s theatre, Doug Klassen shared a powerful message and worship rounded out a wonderful service.  Lunch was a Stampede Lunch of pancakes, eggs, and ham while Stampede Promotions taught us to square dance, line dance and rope.  The Stampede Princesses and Harry the Horse visited with everyone and they enjoyed candid pictures at the Photo Booth.

This wonderful Music Festival was wrapped up Sunday with a powerful concert.  Starting with the Band the concert included music from many genres and time periods.  All 350 members participated in the final joyous rendition of the Old 100th Psalm.

It took a lot of organization and energy to make such an event a success.  The participants from all over Canada enjoyed all of it – despite the snow!  A special thanks to Menno Simons Society Adminsitrator Ann Pan for taking on this mammoth undertaking.  Well done, Ann!