Renamed in 2014 to honour its late founder Margaret Tobin, Margaret’s Choir began as Spirit’s Call Choir. Spirit’s Call™ contributes to personal and universal harmony and transformation through the integration of healing, learning, and the arts. Spirit’s Call Choir supports personal, choral, and global harmony and is a Winnipeg offering of Spirit’s Call.
Spirit’s Call Choir began in November 2000 as an outgrowth of an “Explorations of the Self” workshop with Dorothy Becker and Margaret Tobin when people who had been told or believed they couldn’t sing found their voices and decided to form a choir! The choir has become a musical home for novice to accomplished singers and musicians and for those who love to “SING FOR THE JOY!” The choir continues to welcome women and men who thought they couldn’t sing.
Some accomplishments of the Choir:
- Released CDs: Together in Harmony (2005) and One World, One Voice (2009).
- Received the Mayor’s 2010 Volunteer Service Award.
- 10th Anniversary celebration benefit concert at Pantages (2011).
- Featured in As One Voice – MTS On Demand documentary about choir (2012).
Margaret’s Choir offers a non-audition community choir that is committed to providing a welcoming and supportive environment for all who want to sing – whatever their experience. All choir members contribute to this atmosphere of positive acceptance, in singing and other activities.
Essential aspects of choir culture include creating a welcoming atmosphere and climate of safety for individual vocal expression, facilitating group harmony and cohesion, and conveying musical knowledge in a way that is accepting, encouraging, empowering, and joyful. While we do polish things up and delight in making the best sound we can for our “gigs,” the beauty of our sound comes from the freedom and energy of joyful singing with intention from the heart more than from critical attention to technical perfection!
Starting September 2021 Katy Harmer will lead Margaret’s Choir. The choir has developed musically with our former gifted directors Vanessa Nowostawski (2019-2021), Nathan Poole (2015-2018), Jeremy Vallance (2006-2014), Michael Kurek (2004-2005), Alex Zografov (2004) and Lyle Eide (2001-2004). In the past we also have enjoyed occasional guest directors and annual “Sing for Your Life!” workshops with Victoria’s Shivon Robinsong.
Katy Harmer brings extensive experience through a deep involvement in the Winnipeg choral music community as well as a Master of Music in Choral Conducting from the University of Manitoba. Katy has a deep commitment to community service which is important to Margaret’s Choir and their fundraising mandate. During the choir’s Zoom rehearsals in 2021 Katy was a guest conductor for the Soprano and Alto sections, which was a positive experience for the participants.
The choir has had wonderful pianist through the years including our previous pianist Haejin Kim and our current one Charmaine Bacon.
Originally from Russell, Manitoba, Charmaine Bacon (BMus, MMus) is a classically trained pianist, organist, and flutist. Charmaine is the pianist for Margaret’s Choir, the Silver Notes Choir, Joie de Vivre, and the Winnipeg Youth Chorus Juniors. Charmaine teaches flute at her home studio in River Heights and is active as a flute clinician across the city and province. She is co-artistic director of the Wind Chamber Concert Series at Crescent Fort Rouge United and is piccoloist of the Winnipeg Wind Ensemble.
Listening is essential to the success of a community choir. Shivon Robinsong, founder and co-director of Victoria’s Gettin’ Higher Choir (which also started with people who believed they couldn’t sing!) says that singing in harmony is primarily about listening. Listening to others while singing helps those who are learning to find the sound, promotes harmony and ensures the group sound is not dominated by one section or one voice.
Listening to the director during singing times reflects respect for the leader and helps support the group’s focused effort. Frequent chatting with other members during singing times can interfere with this process.
Making personal connections with like-minded members is an important component of Margaret’s Choir. Since the focused singing period does not allow adequate time for socializing, members who want this connection are encouraged to come early or make plans to gather informally outside of singing times. Once a session the Choir has a potluck for members. We welcome ideas and contributions from members regarding social activities and other aspects of the choir.
Member contact lists are provided with permission to facilitate individual connections among members. E-mail addresses on this list are for choir information ONLY and are not to be used for mass mailings. Our website has a bulletin board available for posting information of interest to other members.
Margaret’s Choir is a collaborative singing adventure that is built on the contributions of its members. If you have suggestions or concerns, please feel free to raise them during breaks or via the suggestion box available by the bulletin board. Feel free to speak with a member of the choir’s Dream Team, your singing section leader, choir co-chair Pat Reid or musical director Nathan Poole.
Other things to note:
Fragrance-free environment – for those sensitive to added scents (no perfumes, scented lotions, etc.)
Reasonable Accommodation – The choir acknowledges that there exists an obligation:
To ensure that there is reasonable accommodation of the disability needs of all members, where those needs are based on demonstrated medical conditions.
To ensure that member access to participation in choir activities is not unreasonably compromised; where access involves the needed use of a medical device, orthotic device, service dog, or other device where use is entitled by law.
Section Buddies encouraged – for those without e-mail, help learning parts, info if away, etc.