Mt. Boucherie choir fundraises for Ottawa choral festival
When the Mt. Boucherie Chamber Choir was invited to participate at Unisong 2012—the 16th annual Canada Day choral festival showcasing choirs from each province in the country—the reaction was excitement.
That excitement hasn't gone away; however, it's been paired with the reality that the journey won't be cheap.
According to Kim Kleineberg, the choir's conductor, the trip to Ottawa will cost approximately $1,500 per student.
"That's a lot of money for each family to come up with," said Kleineberg, who started the Mt. Boucherie choir program 22 years ago.
To offset the high costs, choir members have been working hard by doing various fundraisers such as a Purdy's fundraiser, 50/50 draws and bottle drives.
"It's coming along. We're going to have a pub night, we're having concerts in February at the community theatre . . . and I'm sure we'll be doing some more bottle drives and things like that."
The kids have been largely on their own to raise money for the trip. The group has yet to receive any donations and many government grants that were given out in the past are no longer available, said Kleineberg.
"Everything we do is done individually. We did the bottle drive and the full amount was divided by how many kids showed up."
The conductor said that some students are in a situation where their parents are able to write a cheque to cover the cost for the trip; however, most students aren't in the same boat.
"Other kids are very motivated because they know it's not happening unless they take care of business."
The Mt. Boucherie Chamber Choir is a mixed ensemble of 26 youth. According to Kleineberg, this year's group is not only committed to raising money, but also focused on learning diverse music for Unisong,
"They will be sending us music that we have to learn for the large group. Then we also do three concerts on our own in Ottawa.
"I've come up with a really diverse program. There's one (song) in French, something that's a Jewish piece, we have a gospel piece and we have something classical from the 16th century."
Kleineberg has five choirs that she instructs at Mt. Boucherie. The chamber choir, the jazz choir and the Mt. Boucherie Singers—an all-female choir—are all auditioned groups. There is also a non-auditioned all-boys choir and a non-auditioned all-girls choir.
According to Unisong event manager Beatriz Garcia, Mt. Boucherie was originally selected for Unisong because Kleineberg's name "came up several times."
"It is an honour," said Kleineberg.
"I think that, generally speaking, they've chosen groups from the (Lower Mainland) up to this point. I don't know of anyone around here that's gone."
While in Ottawa, the Mt. Boucherie Chamber Choir will perform concerts on its own at several locations around Ottawa—including near the Parliament buildings and at an Ottawa church—over a five day period.
On Canada Day, the chamber choir will join other choirs from across the nation for a massed performance accompanied by the National Arts Centre Orchestra.