music

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Worth the wait

No stranger to the stage, Kenzi Jane grew up performing music with her family. (Photo by Lynette Giesbrecht)

Kenzie Jane recorded her EP in Altona, Man., where she grew up. (Photo by Robyn Adam)

‘Love Me From Scratch [means] love me for who I am,’ Kenzi Jane says. (Cover art by Sydney Friesen)

If good things come to those who wait, exciting times are ahead for Kenzie Jane.

The Winnipeg-based singer-songwriter recently released her debut EP, Love Me From Scratch, more than three years after she first started recording it.

Gospel songs with an edge

Jeremy Hamm and Jess Reimer have been playing music together for more than 15 years. (YouTube photo)

Doug Reimer, left, Jeremy Hamm, Tim Osmond and Jess Reimer perform at Winnipeg’s Times Change(d) High & Lonesome Club. (Photo courtesy of Jess Reimer)

Down the Valley album cover

Jess Reimer recalls the first time a friend told her about Jeremy Hamm, the man who would become her musical partner and husband.

“I remember being excited there was a guy who wasn’t a senior citizen who was into bluegrass like me,” she says.

From Goshen to Peru and back again

An accomplished singer, guitarist and fiddler, Sadie Gustafson-Zook is currently pursuing a master’s degree in jazz voice. (Photo by Olivia Copsey)

Sadie Gustafson-Zook released her album I'm Not Here last summer. (Photo by Olivia Copsey)

Sadie Gustafson-Zook released her album I’m Not Here last summer. (Photo by Olivia Copsey)

I’m Not Here features artwork by Canadian artist Dona Park.

Born in Portland, Ore., and raised in Goshen, Ind., singer-songwriter Sadie Gustafson-Zook is currently pursuing a master’s degree in jazz voice at Longy School of Music in Cambridge, Mass.

OMMC offers music, fun, connections

Young musicians practice during the Ontario Mennonite Music Camp. From left to right are Anna Tyas-Petrik, Hallelujah Tezera, Aidan Morton-Ninomiya, Isabelle Netherton, and Jayden Liu. (Photo courtesy of OMMC)

Aidan Morton-Ninomiya’s review of the Ontario Mennonite Music Camp: “Awesome.” (Photo courtesy of OMMC)

When the idea of the Ontario Mennonite Music Camp (OMMC) was pitched to me at Rockway Mennonite Collegiate, I was immediately excited. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but when I got there, I knew it would be awesome. 

Music Camp keeps the tunes playing

Brandon Leis makes music at an outdoor camp service with his daughter Madeline. (Photo courtesy of Brandon Leis)

Ontario Mennonite Music Campers fine-tune a musical number from Jesus Christ Superstar during dress rehearsal. (Ontario Mennonite Music Camp photo)

Marie Penner from Toronto United Mennonite Church had a dream of a camp that would develop the musical talents of young Mennonites in Ontario.

Jump out of your comfort zone at Peace Camp

Johnny Wideman of Theatre of the Beat shares his peacebuilding wisdom with campers at Conrad Grebel University College's Peace Camp. Peace Camp is a day camp and peace educational program for youth aged 11 to 14 in Waterloo Region. Campers learn that peace is possible as they share stories and learn from people in the community and meet people from various cultural backgrounds, faiths, and orientations. (Peace Camp photo)

Have you ever been in a place, space or community where you have been encouraged to try something new? Have you been challenged to take risks and leap out of your comfort zone? Have you tasted the confidence that comes with mastering new skills?

Accessing different realms of musical exploration

Luke Nickel recently completed a PhD in music composition at Bath Spa University in England. (Photo by Leif Norman)

Luke Nickel co-founded Winnipeg's Cluster New Music and Integrated Arts Festival while studying at the University of Manitoba. (Photo by Leif Norman)

Pianist Everett Hopfner performs one of Luke Nickel's pieces at the 2017 edition of Cluster. (Photo by Leif Norman)

The Cluster New Music and Integrated Arts Festival aims to bridge the gap between new music, dance and visual art. (Photo by Aaron Sivertson)

'We started thinking, how can we make a music festival that . . . gets everyone excited about experimental new work?' Luke Nickel says. (Photo courtesy of Cluster)

Since Luke Nickel was young, his parents instilled in him the value of thinking critically. He recalls one conversation—the exact topic escapes him—during which his father said to him and his siblings, “I don’t care what you think about it, as long as you think about it.”

‘Participation, not performance’

Brandon Leis, the new music director for Menno Singers, in his studio in the Music Building at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ont. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Brandon Leis, the new music director for Menno Singers, holds up a piece of art he created. The church, founded on sacred music and filled with it, exudes music through the cross on the steeple. Or is it receiving heavenly inspiration through the cross and being filled with spiritual music? Or maybe both. Only visible when held up to the light are the Alpha and Omega, God’s beginning and end. The piece hangs over his desk—and coffee maker—in his studio in the Music Building at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Like most musicians and artists, Brandon Leis uses his gifts in many places and in many ways to make a living.

Breathing new life into the music

For Darren Creech, who holds a master of music degree in piano performance from the Université de Montreal, being a classical pianist is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream that dates back to when he was five years old. (Photo by Chloe Squance)

Toronto-based classical pianist Darren Creech is looking forward to performing with the Counterpoint Community Orchestra. (Photo by Anthony Chung)

The Counterpoint Community Orchestra is an inclusive LGBTQ orchestra founded in 1984. (Tom@TomLegrady.com photo)

When a Toronto-based LGBTQ orchestra approached queer classical pianist Darren Creech about performing Victor Davies’ “Mennonite Piano Concerto” with it in concert, it didn’t realize what a perfect fit he would be.

Unbeknownst to the Counterpoint Community Orchestra at the time, Creech is Mennonite and he grew up listening to the piece.

Ain’t misbehavin’

Anna Wiebe began playing the guitar when she was 10. She wrote her first song five years later. (Photo by Vanessa Tignanelli)

New Behaviour is Anna Wiebe’s first full-length album. She recorded it in Montreal. (Cover art by Maggie Spring)

‘My hope for the album is that there’s a few new people that hear it and enjoy it,’ Anna Wiebe says. (Photo by Vanessa Tignanelli)

Old behaviour influenced the music on singer-songwriter Anna Wiebe’s latest musical release, New Behaviour.

The 24-year-old folk-pop songstress based in Guelph, Ont., partially attributes growing up in the Mennonite church for the way the album sounds.

‘Mennonite’ composers headline concert at WLU

Pictured from left to right: Paul Pulford, who conducted the orchestra in Glenn Buhr’s ‘Piano Concerto No. 3; Stephanie Martin, who composed ‘Babel: A Choral Symphony’; Buhr; and Lee Willingham, who conducted Martin’s piece, at the April 3 world premiere of the two works as part of the 40th anniversary of WLU’s Faculty of Music on April 3, 2016. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

The musical tower of Babel that played a key role in Stephanie Martin’s ‘Babel: A Choral Symphony,’ performed at an April 3, 2016, concert in Waterloo, Ont., to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Wilfrid Laurier University’s Faculty of Music. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Pictured from left to right: sopranos Midori Marsh and Sarah Amelard; mezzo-soprano Jamie Groote; Stephanie Martin and Carol Martin, the creators of ‘Babel: A Choral Symphony’; conductor Lee Willingham; baritone Dylan Langan; and tenor River Guard stand in front of the Wilfrid Laurier University Choir following the world premiere of the symphony as part of the 40th anniversary of WLU’s Faculty of Music on April 3, 2016. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Wilfrid Laurier University (WLU) celebrated the 40th anniversary of its Faculty of Music with a concert on April 3, 2016, that featured the premiere of works by two composers with Mennonite roots and connections.

‘An ample opportunity to try something new’

Abner Martin is pictured leading members of the Southern Ontario Chapter of the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada in singing hymns dating back to the 17th century, during an event in Toronto in 2005. (Canadian Mennonite file photo by Ross W. Muir)

One could say that, in a musical sense, 1955 was the best of times and the worst of times when compared to today.

Singing with the Spirit

Song leaders from a number of MC Saskatchewan churches participated in ‘Singing with the Spirit,’ a weekend music and worship event hosted by Nutana Park Mennonite from Oct. 2 to 4, 2015. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Marilyn Houser Hamm led workshops in song leading and accompaniment in addition to plenary sessions on congregational worship at the ‘Singing with the Spirit’ event held recently at Nutana Park Mennonite Church in Saskatoon. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Marilyn Houser Hamm led workshops in song leading and accompaniment in addition to plenary sessions on congregational worship at the ‘Singing with the Spirit’ event held recently at Nutana Park Mennonite Church in Saskatoon. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Practising their conducting techniques at the ‘Singing with the Spirit’ music and worship event held recently at Nutana Park Mennonite Church are, from left to right: Gwen Ens, Russ Regier, Val Regier, Shelley Bueckert and Monica Dalke. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Practising their conducting techniques at the ‘Singing with the Spirit’ music and worship event held recently at Nutana Park Mennonite Church are, from left to right: Gwen Ens, Russ Regier, Val Regier, Shelley Bueckert and Monica Dalke. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Participants in Darrell Bueckert’s percussion workshop at the ‘Singing in the Spirit’ music and worship event held recently at Nutana Park Mennonite Church include, from left to right: Bob Neufeldt, John Elias and Lynn Driedger. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Percussionist Darrell Bueckert, demonstrates the use of a shaker at the ‘Singing with the Spirit’ event. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

“I will sing with the Spirit, but I will sing with understanding.” These words, from I Corinthians 14:15, formed the basis of Marilyn Houser Hamm’s recent music workshop at Nutana Park Mennonite Church in Saskatoon.

The luthier of La Riviere

Jeremy Hamm shows off a few of the guitars he has made in his shop. (Photo by J. Neufeld)

Pop psychology writer Malcolm Gladwell popularized the 10,000-hour rule—the notion that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master a craft. Jeremy Hamm will tell you a different story. He figures it took him at least 25,000 hours of painstaking trial and error before he got good at making guitars.

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