A local adult choir has moved into a new era, now including all vocal parts. Growing from a 30-member group, now with 70 singers and a waiting list.

Less than a year ago, Accent director, Meredith Hutchinson announced that they would be shifting to a soprano, alto, tenor, bass choir for the fall of 2023. At the time she said,  

“So, we are bringing in the men’s voices to join us. We will no longer be Accent Women’s Ensemble; we will just stay with Accent, that’s the familiar name.”   

In a recent conversation, Hutchinson added, “This was our big transition year. Accent choir is now a full SATB choir. It went from 30 women to about 70 men and women, and so we over doubled in size, but yet we still fit in our rehearsal studio, thank goodness.”

She explains that the reason for the change was because there were not a lot of opportunities for young male voices to sing after high school.

“They come from these great high school choral programs, and there should be more opportunities for them locally. So, I’m hoping that the word will spread.”

Which Hutchinson says, it definitely has, as they now have a waiting list of singers wanting to be part of the choir. Referring to the present group she says,

“The singers have been working hard. We don't meet often, we're adults and we’re busy, so we only meet like twice a month. And so, we've been putting this together since fall, and we're also getting to know each other. We're still learning names, but the sound is already great.”

Hutchinson notes they did have a chance to perform in October of last year when the Winnipeg Singers came to Steinbach. “We did a quick little show with them, so we feel like we have that under our belts and that really helps because it does feel a bit like a new choir this year.”

She says there’s a wide range of vocality within the choir, as some have performed very recently, like the high school graduates. “While others have been out of choirs for 20 plus years. So, we have quite a span, and I think we have fun together, and I think the choir sounds really great. 70 voices. Wow! And now, I'm excited for our audience to hear such a big group.”

The public will get the opportunity to hear the new Accent sound at an upcoming concert taking place at the Steinbach Mennonite Heritage Village Museum Sunday afternoon.  

Hutchinson tells us what the audience can expect. “So, we're excited to share our new repertoire with you. And we thought, you know, it's January and the holidays are over. Sure, there's other things coming in the spring, but right now this would be a good time to just lift your spirits, because there's always that, 'it's post-holiday and now what's there to look forward to?' feeling. Well, come to the Accent concert. You can look forward to that.”

The director says the main auditorium at the MHV will provide the right acoustics for the concert. “There's nothing better. We've already had a rehearsal in there last night, and it just makes it all worth it from the rehearsals in our little studio at the Arts Centre. Then we move into the space, and suddenly there's all that choral ringing in the ears and you just get goosebumps. I just love performing in that space.”

Accent will be performing in the Steinbach MHV auditorium on Sunday, January 21 at 2pm. General Admission is $12 for adults. $5 for students and 13yrs and under are free. Tickets are available at the door.

Accent concert poster


With files from Michelle Sawatzky