A school choir in southern Manitoba isn't letting winter or COVID-19 get in the way of their joy for singing.

The choir director at Mennonite Collegiate Institute (MCI), Christina Banman, says for a while at the beginning of code red, students were still in the classroom. However, the new restrictions meant that students could only hum to prevent air droplets from spreading in the room. Frustrated with the limitations and the fact that a choir isn't much of a choir without singing, the students suggested the dress warm and begin going outdoors to practice.

The result was the students of the private school in Gretna, Man. could finally bring a Christmas concert to family and friends, albeit in February.

MCI released the concert as a video on YouTube last week, and Banman says they did the entire thing in one shot. "We spent a bit of time rehearsing and what exactly what order things were going to go in, how people were going to move, and once the camera started rolling it was whatever we got we got. You see every little part of it; you see every mistake, you see some of the inner workings that were going on, but once we started shooting that was it, that was the shot we were going to use."

The outdoor classroom had been fairly enjoyable given the mild start to Manitoba's winter. However, as the shooting date neared so did more winter-like temperatures.

"The days leading up to the shooting were very, very cold, so we were very brief in getting prepared and reviewing our stuff." But true to Manitoba weather, things turned upside down on the day of shooting with 80 km/h winds, a bit of rain, and milder temperatures.

"Rehearsing this year has been insanely hard, so you see how we're coping with that, how we're splitting up our groups to work with that."

The challenges that the school year, and singing outdoors, have brought have been difficult for students, Banman says, but they've risen to the occasion.

"It's not anything that they've done before, so they're not really sure what to expect so they really have to trust us and the process. But, I think, they're just so happy that we're able to do this much. They recognize how lucky they are that we're able to sing and put something together."


With files from Nicole Klassen