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He started in Morden and went all around the world. Now he's back in Winnipeg to conduct a special choir performance.

John Wiens grew up in, at that time, the town of Morden, Manitoba. It may not seem like a musical town from the outside looking in, but Wiens said that is all he saw.

"When I was a kid, I grew up with an enormously talented group of children," Wiens said. "There was also a music school and a number of other places for us to get our creative juices going."

When he was three, he asked his parents for violin lessons. He received them when he was four. Wiens and his friends would carpool to Winnipeg for violin, cello and piano lessons as they continued to grow their musical talent.

"Some of the kids I grew up with are university professors in music or playing in some of the countries best ensembles," Wiens mentioned.

As a conductor, he has since travelled all over the world, conducting choirs in Belgium, Morocco and Montreal. He has degrees in violin, voice and in conducting. And now he is taking on a new challenge as the Chorusmaster of the newly formed Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra Chorus.

"It's always interesting to find out what will work," Wiens said about working with a new group. "[It's] an awful lot of fun."

The ensemble will be performing Handel's Messiah with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra on December 15 and 16. Wiens says the Messiah is one of the great scores, but it's also incredibly hard to sing. But it's a Christmas classic.

"It's so incredibly festive," Wiens said when asked why it fits so well into Christmas. "It was written for a special occasion and Christmas is one of the biggest special occasions."

Wiens said that he's enjoyed working with the singers and cannot wait to see how they sound alongside the orchestra.

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