They're calling it "The Power of Conversation". The Mennonite Community Orchestra (MCO) is putting on a concert this Sunday afternoon, March 19th, in Winnipeg. The concert, directed by Andrea Bell, will be held at Lutheran Church of the Cross, 560 Arlington Street at 3 pm. The event is a partnership between the MCO and The Lutheran Urban Ministry, known as “the Urban”. The group is a non-profit corporation, and partner ministry, of the Manitoba/Northwestern Ontario Synod (Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada).
During the concert, The Urban will share from it eye level experience in facilitating conversations, and pursuing reconciliation as a core component of its service in the West End.
Bob Wiebe is the President of the MCO was our guest on Wednesday's Morning Show.
"We're a group of about 45 players, mostly amateurs, with a few that have professional playing experience," said Wiebe about who the MCO is. "We have a wide diversity of backgrounds, we all love making music together, and you may be interested to know we range in age from the CMU students, who are among us, to persons who are in their 80s."
Wiebe noted there will be a lot of firsts with the concert.
"One is one of the pieces of music by the Danish composer Niels Gade has never been performed in Winnipeg before. So we are the first. There's also a first in playing a piece by Canadian Mennonite University student Liam Berry, and another Canadian Mennonite student, Anna Schwartz, is playing solo on the Schumann Piano Concerto, and we are recognizing our former concert master, Karen Warner, who served with us for 33 years.
Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for students, and free for children 12 and under accompanied by an adult. They are available at the door or can be reserved by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
"80% of the people who attend The Urban are Indigenous, and our primary focus is on fellowship, reconciliation and emotional and spiritual support,," explained Rhonda Gorham with The Urban. "6 1/2 years ago, we started weekly sharing circles men's, women's and coed, and we have invited congregation members in our Manitoba, Northwestern Ontario Synod to drop in, and sit with us in our sharing circles."
Gorham noted when we sit together, we're united in conversation when sitting in fellowship.
"And so this is a wonderful opportunity to kind of meld those two concepts together in the conversation of music, and the the conversation within our community," said Gorham when reflecting on the concert. "The West End is a wonderful, vibrant community, and consists of really wonderful people."
You can listen to Morning Show Co-Host Michelle Sawatzky's full conversation with Rhonda below.