For Mennonites, “music and journey go together.”
With those words, Richard Thiessen, president of the Mennonite Historical Society of British Columbia, welcomed an overflow crowd to the “finale” concert of the “Memories of Migration” tour.
Titled “Music Along the Journey,” the concert took place on July 23 at the South Abbotsford Mennonite Brethren Church.
Sometimes, Thiessen said, Mennonites journey “by choice.” Other times they do it because “they have no other choice.”
But wherever they went, there was music, he noted. That included traditional hymns, but also new songs in new lands where they made their homes—in places like Ukraine, Canada, Paraguay, Brazil and Mexico.
“It’s interesting to hear music from the old country,” said Thiessen, “and also where our parents and grandparents settled.”
It was the last of four concerts that were part of the tour, which began July 6 in Quebec City, Quebec, and ended July 24 in Abbotsford, B.C. The other concerts were in Waterloo, Ontario; Winnipeg, Manitoba; and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
In addition to traditional hymns, the concert featured choral singing, Paraguayan harp music and a mariachi band.
Funds raised at the concert will be used by Mennonite Central Committee for its programs with Indigenous people, for Ukraine and for refugee settlement.
After reporting on the first leg of the tour (from Quebec City to Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont.), Winnipeg freelance writer John Longhurst is blogging about the third and final leg (from Saskatoon, Sask. to Abbotsford, B.C.).
Read John's previous posts about the tour:
MoM 100: Grandfather and grandson bond on tour
MoM 100: Remembering a mother reluctant to talk about those times
MoM 100: Pregnant tour participant has new appreciation for great-grandmother’s journey
MoM 100: Sängerfest ‘extraordinary’ for conductor
MoM 100: Tommy Douglas and Mennonite mutual aid