Music at Canadian Mennonite Bible College
Canadian Mennonite Bible College (Canadian Mennonite University beginning 1998). School of theology, liberal arts, and music, founded in 1947 in Winnipeg by the Conference of Mennonites in Canada. The music department was established under the direction of John Konrad (1947-54) and continued under George Wiebe. Students at the college could earn a Bachelor of Theology, a Bachelor of Church Music, or a diploma or certificate in church music; cross-registration allowed students to obtain credits towards a BA with music minor or a B Mus at the University of Manitoba. The focus of the department was on the training of organists, conductors, church choir directors, educators, and teachers, and this had not changed greatly by 1998, when it joined the Mennonite Brethren Bible College and College of Arts and the Menno Simons College to form the Canadian Mennonite University (CMU). In 2008 the university was accredited by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. Music programs offered by the School of Music at CMU in 2013 included a B Mus (concentrations in music education, music ministry, musicology, performance, and comprehensive), a BA Mus, and a Bachelor of Music Therapy.
The Canadian Mennonite Bible College had a College Chorus for the student body and an Oratorio Choir in which the wider community was invited to sing. From 1965 the latter joined with the Mennonite Brethren Bible College Oratorio Choir for annual concerts, accompanied by members of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. The school also had other, including the 40-voice Canadian Mennonite Bible College Singers and the 20-voice Ensemble, both of which toured various parts of Canada. A Male Voice Choir Festival, which included the college's Faith and Life Male Choir, was first held in 1988. A biennial Church Music Seminar was co-sponsored with the Mennonite Brethren Bible College. Guest conductors included Robert Shaw and Helmuth Rilling. The strong musical program of the Canadian Mennonite Bible College continued at the Canadian Mennonite University (formed in 1998). In 2013 the CMU School of Music was home to five vocal ensembles--a 45-voice choir, a chamber choir, men's and women's choruses, and a vocal jazz ensemble--as well as several instrumental ensembles.
Graduates of the college include choral director Henry Engbrecht, tenor Arthur Janzen, church musician Neil Matthies, music director Bernie Neufeld, choral director Henry Peters, music director John Poettcker, and bass William Thiessenfeld.