A Life of Choral Music

By: Marcia McLean

Singing has always been a constant in my life. I find it almost impossible to recall moments when I haven’t been singing in a choir or directing a choir. Choral singing is at the core of my being.

When I was in grade two, I remember being allowed to join junior choir at church. To wear that white gown and be able to sing in the ensemble was so exciting! I couldn’t even find the page numbers in the hymnbook quickly and had to rely on a friend to help me. I was hooked! Of course, I joined the school choir and unbelievable as this may sound, my best friends in Troubadours at Yorkton Regional High School are still dear friends that I have kept in touch with through the years.

At Brandon University every music student had to sing in the BU Chorale, director Leonard Mayoh, and this is where my interest in choral music really flourished. When I graduated, I taught at Esterhazy High School where I formed the school’s first choir, in middle years, and that developed into a high school choral credit program. Eventually I formed a vocal jazz ensemble there as well.

My husband, Greg, accepted a teaching position at Swift Current Comprehensive HS in 1989. My youngest son, Taylor, was just a baby. I inquired about choirs in town and was directed to speak to John Poettcker. I phoned him to see if I could join the choir, but told him that I would have to bring my baby. There was silence on the end of the phone! I’m sure John thought that a crying baby was going to destroy the rehearsal. It turned out that Taylor was very contented baby in the rehearsal and no problems ensued.

I eventually got a job at the Swift Current Bible Institute and conducted the choir there for the last year that the school was open. I then went on to direct choral music at the Swift Current Comprehensive HS for 18 years. I took over conducting the Oratorio choir when John Poettcker moved away. I have always enjoyed conducting the Christmas concert while my husband Greg was more than happy to conduct the orchestra and choir in the spring Oratorio concert.

We now find ourselves faced with more changes as COVID-19 silenced the choir for the first time in its 40 year plus history. We are now singing with masks which is difficult at best, however, great joy was expressed by the singers after our first rehearsal. It was wonderful to be together singing once again! If you are fully vaccinated and can sing with a mask, we invite you to join us in song! No experience necessary.

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