This year's Manitoba ChoralFest started up this past week and it's all happening online.

Normally choirs from all across the Province come together at one location to perform in front of acclaimed adjudicators.

However, ChoralFest Executive Director Jenny Steinke-Magnus says the COVID-19 pandemic has forced them to hold it as a virtual event.

She admits it's impossible to recreate that festival experience online, but they are trying to do some different things to engage participants.

"We've asked all the adjudicators and clinicians that were going to be coming to ChoralFest to create short, mini-workshop videos that they've recorded of themselves on various topics, and these videos are targeted at choral directors and singers and there is something for every age group. We've posted those online and they're available right now."

Steinke-Magnus says her team felt it was important to continue the tradition of ChoralFest, but they also recognized how challenging these times are for the choral community in Manitoba.

"We know that people right now are struggling with the pandemic. A lot of choirs have had to stop what they're doing completely, while other choirs have tried to adapt by singing with masks on or in small ensembles. We know that everybody is in a really hard place right now so we wanted to create some positive energy around the choral arts right now and create some options for people to view if they're not able to sing together."

The virtual ChoralFest has been set up to make it as accessible as possible even to people who are not members of the Manitoba Choral Association. She says they have established non-member pricing for some of the events.


Written by Jayme Giesbrecht and Dean Penner