News archive - February 2009

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Mennonite music across borders

Music lovers and musicians from across North America and around the world will converge at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, Ontario, June 4-8, 2009 for the highly anticipated Sound in the Lands 2009, a sequel to the acclaimed music festival and academic conference held at Grebel in 2004.

This year’s festival celebrates and explores Mennonite-related music across borders and boundaries. Concerts, performances, workshops and academic presentations will feature music from every corner of the world, across musical genres from Afrobeat to choral singing, gospel to alternative, improvisational to classical.

Grebel is uniquely poised to host such a conference, chiefly due to the global connections and vision of Carol Ann Weaver, festival organizer and Associate Professor of Music at Grebel. Weaver, whose vision for the festival was

a vibrant exchange of voices which will help redefine Mennonite music,

regularly leads student music culture trips to South Africa and has played her own compositions around the world. A prominent Canadian composer, Weaver has built relationships and connections across North America and beyond, in the Anabaptist and music communities. She hopes the conference and festival will offer an opportunity for these voices to come together in dialogue across geographical and cultural borders, as well as borders of style, genre, aesthetics and other diversities among Mennonite people.

Weaver’s passion for this project has proved infectious and persuasive – Mary Oyer, celebrated Mennonite musicologist and songleader, and Alice Parker, acclaimed American composer and choral conductor, will offer keynote addresses. Performances will include South African guitarist Mageshen Naidoo, Cuban troubadour Amós Lopez, Congolese composer Maurice Modengo and other musicians from around the world.

Another element of the festival which is distinctive to Grebel is the Mennofolk concert which will be held on the first day of the gathering. Mennofolk was initiated nearly 20 years ago as part of the young adult ministry of Fred Martin, then a conference minister and now the college’s Director of Development. He imagined a musical gathering of local Mennonite musicians and artists, some of whom might be found at the fringes of the church, but who could find commonality and fellowship through music. The movement has since been driven by Wendy Chappell-Dick and has spread beyond Ontario to Mennofolk festivals in Manitoba and Michigan, Kansas and Virginia.

Mennofolk performers at the June 4 free concert include Moglee, Alan Armstrong, the Shady Js, Spencer Cunningham, Bush Wiebe, Andru Bemis, Those Rowdy Corinthians, Annie James Project, The Land, Dale Nickel and more.

Discounts will be applied to those who register for Sounds in the Lands 2009 before May 4, 2009.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Gift promotes youth and talent in Music

While the closing of a church is never easy, Warden Woods Mennonite Church turned some of their sadness into joy with a unique gift to Conrad Grebel University College.

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