Grebel sings to bridge gaps and build community

Jennifer Konkle | Conrad Grebel University College
Grebel students, faculty and staff will spend the 2018-2019 school year intentionally singing together as a way of building bridges and exploring issues of diversity, justice, hospitality, faith and peace. (Photo by Jennifer Konkle)

At the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year, students, staff and faculty at Conrad Grebel University College took a deep breath and sang together, first in unison, and then in several different parts to build a new melody. The piece called “We All Sing” was written by Karen Sunabacka, a Grebel prof, and commissioned for the College’s 2018-19 integration initiative.

Organized around the theme of “Grebel sings,” the school community will find and share their voices in song over numerous occasions as they explore issues of diversity, justice, hospitality, faith and peace.

“Singing together requires people to listen and cooperate,” says Sunabacka. “When we are singing, we are all working together towards a common goal. When many people sing together often, friendships and community are built!”

“Grebel is both a living and learning community, and we have much to learn from one another,” explains Mary Brubaker-Zehr, director of student services. “All-college activities, like Grebel Sings, provide an opportunity to bring us together in intentional and meaningful ways. We are enriched when we come together through song.”

The need for listening and cooperation was illustrated at commencement, as 200 Grebelites learned “We All Sing” by rote, layering line upon line in a canon to show the complexity and beauty of community.

As the year progresses, Grebel will host four musical events for the public:

  • “Sing for Water” on Oct. 25 will focus on water, the environment and Indigenous reconciliation, expressed through singing together.
  • On Nov. 17 and 18, the UWaterloo Chamber Choir and Grand Philharmonic Chamber Choir will perform “Considering Matthew Shepard,” that tells the story of a university student who was murdered because of his sexuality.
  • On March 8 and 9, 2019, Ysaÿe Barnwell, a scholar, composer, choral clinician and vocalist, will offer the Sawatsky Lecture on “The power of music to create inclusive communities,” followed by a workshop on “Building a vocal community.”
  • From March 28 to 30, 2019, the Grebel Student Council-sponsored musical, Beauty and the Beast, will showcase the vocal talents of Grebel students.

Grebel students, faculty and staff will spend the 2018-2019 school year intentionally singing together as a way of building bridges and exploring issues of diversity, justice, hospitality, faith and peace. (Photo by Jennifer Konkle)

Share this page:

Add new comment

Canadian Mennonite invites comments and encourages constructive discussion about our content. Actual full names (first and last) are required. Comments are moderated and may be edited. They will not appear online until approved and will be posted during business hours. Some comments may be reproduced in print.