The Swift Current Oratorio Choir had a slightly different Spring Concert this year, with none of their name-sake compositions.

In years prior, the southwest-Sask.-based group had performed other forms of music outside of Oratorio, but they always sang their name-sake genre at their functions. 

This time around, they covered some religious music, and some folky tunes like Gordon Lightfoot, but had no Oratorio renditions or compositions. 

Artistic Director and Choral Director for the Swift Current Oratorio Choir, Marcia McLean, admitted that the expense of putting on the grand oratorio performances had just simply outgrown the budget. 

"They're huge productions. It's like putting on an opera, except there's no acting and we have to bring in soloists and Symphony players," said McLean. "It's just got way too expensive for us."

The lack of Messiah or Saul and Isreal in Egypt didn't disrupt attendance though. The Swift Current Zion Mennonite Church had a pull arrangement of pews, even in the auxiliary seating up in the rafters. 

The Choir performed plenty of harmonizing, rising, and even soaring gospels. They also mixed in their many voices to other covers of a more folk origin, like the aforementioned Gordon Lightfoot. 

"We have gone to just a concert format," said McLean. "A lot of the music is sacred, but there's also lots of secular music."

A switch like this seems to work for the Choir, which is still retaining a strong membership despite the genre revolution. 

McLean encouraged people to join the Oratorio Choir, or any choir, to experience the sense of community it brings out in people. 

"You just have to come out and be willing to try," said McLean. "There's nothing that's terribly difficult. We go over it and over it and over it, so by the time we got to the concert we're ready to go." 

The Oratorio Choir will be starting back up again in September, with people encouraged to reach out about joining, or to simply swing by and see what it's like. 

"I firmly believe that everybody should sing in a choir," commented McLean. "I think there's room for everybody to sing."