College and Community Choirs Team Up for Performance

Classical music had a moment in the sun on April 6th and 7th at St. Gerard’s Church in Calgary, AB when St. Mary’s University College Choir teamed with community choir Cum Vino Cantus (CVC) to perform Mozart’s Requiem. The two evenings of concerts were open to the public.

Mozart2The 60 member college choir is open to students for course credit and to the community, and they perform two concerts each academic year. Mackenzie Cann, Communications and Special Events Coordinator for the university, says concerts are typically on campus, but since their audience is growing, they performed at St. Gerard’s to accommodate the approximately 450 nightly guests.


CVC was started in 2006 by four friends. They currently have around 50 members and see their group as “an inclusive, fun, and engaging community” that strives “to enrich, enlighten, and empower our audiences and ourselves by embracing a blend of eclectic music that captures a broad spectrum of human emotion and experience.” They’ve performed for the Mayor of Calgary and in spaces as diverse as Jack Singer Concert Hall and the Peace Bridge.

Mozart’s Requiem Mass was left incomplete at his death on December 5, 1791. The mass had been anonymously commissioned by Count Franz von Walsegg-Stuppach to commemorate the death of his wife, Anna. Walsegg-Stuppach often composed his own work, but was also known to commission other composers, copy their work into his own handwriting and pass it off as his own. Mozart’s student Franz Xaver Süssmayr completed the work, and his was the version most often performed until the late 20th century.

MozartThe highlight for Cann was when the orchestra-accompanied choirs came together, after performing separately, to sing Mozart’s work. “For many members, this was the first time performing this type of music and they did spectacularly,” she notes. “We’ve heard comments from some of the members that they have fallen in love with performing classical music.”

Members put up posters, used social media and word of mouth to get people interested, and Cann thinks word of mouth brought the most ticket sales. About organizing, she says that “since this is an event we’ve planned a number of times, it practically plans itself. There are always new elements we’re adding which make it unique and exciting. My advice would be to develop an entire event plan from start to finish as your first step. This will keep you organized and on track.”

What is your first step when planning an event?