The Swift Current Oratorio Choir is turning 50 this year and looking to embrace the future as it comes.
What began as the Swift Current Bible Institute, has grown over the years to become one of the most long-lived groups in the community.
Oratorio music is akin to classical, in that the majority of it features large orchestral arrangements, and can be accompanied by a choir. Themes often centre around the religious and biblical. In Swift Current, it's no different. The Oratorio choir in town works to bring to life classics like Handel's Messiah, or Haydn's The Creation.
The music the Swift Current group plays has mostly focused on older composers, with a few of Karl Jenkin's more modern pieces thrown into the mix these last couple of years.
Claire Verret, the fundraising and promotions manager for the Swift Current Oratorio Choir, is excited about the 50-year anniversary, as it has played a major interest in her life, and many others over the years.
"It's been amazing," said Verret." We draw from so many communities around that, at any given time, we probably have 12 to 16 different communities represented and the dedication of our members who are willing to come in an hour and a half away for rehearsal."
The Choir has become something of a binding agent for these relationships, and over the last 50 years, it has endured highs and lows. With perhaps their most recent struggle through the pandemic being their greatest test yet. The situation surrounding the pandemic made it hard for them to meet up, and some members were hesitant to return to the choir under the policies put in place during the pandemic. Currently, they are back to their standard requirements,
"We'll certainly try and take some precautions, of course," said Verret. "Our numbers were down a little bit and so we have to be careful as to what pieces we choose for this season because we're still getting our voices back in form."
This year, they have already begun planning their early Christmas show, which is set for December 5. They hope to by that point have picked up a few more voices, perhaps some new and some returning.
If anyone loves the sounds of soaring voices, rising orchestras, and the music that has accompanied so many people throughout their time on earth, they are always willing to accept new members. Simply visit their website at swiftcurrentoratoriochoir.org.