The Inter-Mennonite Children’s Choir is a community children’s choir in the Kitchener-Waterloo area. For over forty years, IMCC’s focus has been to train young voices and give young singers a life-long appreciation of music while striving for excellence in all choral performances. The Inter-Mennonite Children’s Choir welcomes singers from all denominations and backgrounds.
From the beginning, the Inter Mennonite Children’s Choir was rooted in the Mennonite faith tradition. Under the leadership of Dr. Helen Martens, of Conrad Grebel College, children from various Mennonite churches and other churches were drawn together to learn to sing the best sacred music with precision, skill and understanding.
In 1987, Lisa Shuh introduced the Harriet Ziegenhals song “You Shall Have a Song” to the Choir and since that time, it has become a tradition to invite alumni in the audience to join the choir and close the Spring concert with that song.
Over the last 40 years, the choir released several recordings, sharing their music with the community. Be Ye Joyful was the choir’s first recording and was recorded at Conrad Grebel College with the help of a grant from the “International Year of the Child” in 1979. Other recordings include Sing to the Lord a Song (1992), Sing for Joy (1994), You Shall Have A Song (1997), We Are The Children (2002), and Joyful Celebration (2007), and What Sweeter Music (2012). As well, IMCC is featured on a CD, Cloths of Heaven (2009), produced by the Menno Singers family of choirs.
Choir trips have included destinations in Canada, including Ottawa in 1972, where the choir met then Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau. In 1975, the choir made the first of several tours to the Pennsylvania area and were billeted at the homes of local Mennonite church families. Other trips include: Europe (1980), Winnipeg (1994), Vancouver (1997), Ottawa (1997) and Lancaster County PA (2001). In 2002, the Lancaster Mennonite Children’s Choir visited Waterloo Region and both choirs presented a concert titled “You Shall Have A Song.” Recent overnight trips in the spring have taken the choir to Leamington, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Toronto, Hamilton, London and Collingwood.
The choir has also participated in various musical events throughout the region. In 1995, the choir participated in the competition finals for the production of Joseph’s Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. Choral festivals and competitions include: The Ontario Vocal Festival (1997-2001), National MusicFest (1997-Gold Standing) Kitchener-Waterloo Kiwanis Music Festival (2002 and 2007). Members of the choir were thrilled to perform Monteverdi’s Sancta Maria with the K-W Symphony in February of 2010. Collaboration with other music groups includes The Wellington Winds. The choir joined The Wellington Winds for “A Christmas with the Winds and Young Voices” in 2011. In 2014, they joined the University of Waterloo Choir for a performance of Carmina Burana and participated in the Sound in the Land Conference at Conrad Grebel College. In 2015, they sang with the K-W Symphony at a Pops Concert and the Noteworthy Singers in Kitchener.
Inevitably, over the past 40 years the Inter-Mennonite Children’s Choir has influenced the musical development of many singers in Waterloo Region. Some have gone on to other communities, continuing the spirit of community singing they experienced in their early years in the Choir. Others have become professional musicians. Sustaining the musical and spiritual vision with which it started, the choir hopes to continue sharing the love of singing and music with our community for many more years to come.