May begins with the sounds of seniors singing

The Morinville Minstrels

by Stephen Dafoe

A half dozen seniors choirs from across the province will gather in Morinville May 5 for the 38th Annual Seniors Choral Festival. The afternoon of song, hosted by the Morinville Minstrels, will take place at St. Jean Baptiste Church at 1 p.m. and is open to everyone in and out of the community.

Morinville Minstrels member Diana Moquin said this year’s event is the third hosted in Morinville by the Minstrels. Each year the Seniors Choral Festival travels to the home community of one of the participating choirs.

“Each choir takes a turn,” Moquin said. “It’s an all day event. The choirs start coming in around 11 o’clock to the Rendez-Vous Centre. The club is preparing lunch for them as a fundraiser for the club. We then all go to the church and sing.”

This year’s iteration of the annual event has a Canadiana theme in recognition of Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations.

“We’ve asked them to sing some Canadian content, or songs about Canada, or music or lyrics written by a Canadian,” Moquin said.

The choirs coming to town include two from Athabasca and one each from Barrhead, Westlock, and Bonnyville. The Minstrels currently have 25 members and the choirs joining them in Morinville range from 16 to 28 members apiece. In total, Moquin anticipates about 120 senior singers coming to town to participate.

But it’s not the size of the choir that counts. Rather, it is the enthusiasm for coming together for a day of fellowship, song and spreading some joy.

“We have a motto: Singing keeps you young,” Moquin said of the group’s motivation and mission. “We enjoy doing it. People enjoy hearing us. It works well.”

Moquin and her fellow Morinville Minstrels are hoping to fill the pews May 5 for the event.

“It’s an afternoon of good music,” she said. “It will be Canadian content this year. It’s a couple of hours just to come and enjoy.”

Admission to the event is a donation to the Morinville Food Bank.

In addition to hosting the 38th Annual Seniors Choral Festival in May, the Minstrels are planning to continue to organize the annual Community Christmas Celebration in December, an event they took over last year.

Both events are a great lead up to the Minstrel’s 20th anniversary next year. The group performs in and out of Morinville, often at seniors lodges and choir events.

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