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Tec Voc Choir Brings Home Gold

​By Brittany Clemons

This year at the Winnipeg Music Festival, Tec Voc's choir and vocal jazz groups, "Jazzthetics," brought home multiple gold medals. The choir had performed twice and won gold for both performances; Jazz choir, "Jazzthetics," also performed twice and won a gold standing as well. They performed at the Westminster United Church along with other schools from across Manitoba. The choir started preparing for the festival before the winter break. They focused on 2 songs prior and learned 2 new songs for the festival.

Vocal and Jazz choir teacher, Sonya Williams, practices with the students 5 times a week in the early mornings and during lunch hours. The Vocal choir practices 3 times a week at lunch for an average of 20-30 minutes; Vocal jazz choir, "Jazzthetics," practice every school recycling day: 2,4,6, first period at 7:50-8:55 AM.

Williams has been teaching at Tec Voc for 11 years and has never seen this type of a success from the school's choirs. Over the years, the choir has gone to the festival but never stood out like this before. As Ms. Williams says, "There was something about this mix of students...They have a mixture of talent, drive, and hard work...They are open to seeing themselves as musicians." Williams believes gold medals are not just given away, she had watched them work and that hard work paid off.

During choir practices, all the basic vocal techniques are taught. They start with a warm up, then move on to the song on the schedule and

work in sections one at a time. Williams prefers to work on the hardest part of the song to remind students that they can beat any challenge given to them and once they beat it, everything falls into place.

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Tec Voc's choir is a comfortable environment where people can connect and work together doing something that is special to each and every person. Sometimes rehearsal is paused just to ask questions such as: "What happened during the break?" Or "Tell me something about yourself that I didn't know before," to help deepen the family-like bond the choir has with one another adds Williams. 

Choir member, Lilian Talabis, would take 15-20 minutes out of her day to practice and would often ask her mom or sister to listen to her. Being a part of choir has not only improved her singing capabilities but also her personal confidence.

Talabis recently participated in the Winnipeg School Production of the Lion King and says, "I don't think I’d have as much confidence in preparation for singing if I didn't join choir and learn about singing techniques. Talabis and her fellow choir members felt like their hard work paid off and says that her favourite part of choir is the relationships she's built with the people around her.

The choir will continue practicing until the end of the year and Williams says, "I'm seeing new hope and they're excited about taking on new challenges and [to] just keep on aiming higher." Williams hopes that the festival results encourages people to join, "try something new and to experience a family."

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