Music at Mennonite Brethren Bible College and College of Arts
Mennonite Brethren Bible College and College of Arts (named Concord College 1992-8, Canadian Mennonite University beginning in 1998). Theological and liberal arts college, founded in Winnipeg in 1944. The arts division became affiliated in turn with Waterloo Lutheran University (now Wilfrid Laurier University) in 1961 and the University of Winnipeg in 1970. The Mennonite Brethren Bible College and College of Arts was renamed Concord College in 1992 and in 1998 it joined the Canadian Mennonite Bible College and Menno Simons College to form the Canadian Mennonite University (CMU). The university was accredited by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada in 2008.
Music was part of the college curriculum from the outset under the direction of Benjamin Horch (1944-55), Henry Voth (1955-8), Victor Martens (1958-69), Peter Klassen (1969-72), and William Baerg. The college offered a Bachelor of Religious Education degree (BRE) with a major in music, a Bachelor of Church Music, a B Mus (concentrations in music education, music ministry, musicology, and performance), a BA in Music, and a Bachelor of Music Therapy. From 1970, University of Winnipeg students could also take music courses at the college. In 2013 the School of Music at CMU offered the following programs: B Mus (music ministry, music education, musicology, performance, or comprehensive), a BA Mus, and a Bachelor of Music Therapy.
Two college choirs were founded by Horch in the 1940s--the Oratorio Choir and the A Cappella Choir. In 1965 the Oratorio Choir began giving annual performances jointly with the Canadian Mennonite Bible College Choir and members of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, conducted alternately by the heads of the two colleges' music departments. By 1990 this was a biennial event and the choir, renamed the Mennonite Festival Chorus, was attracting some three hundred church musicians and guest conductors. Among the works performed were the Bach Passions and Christmas Oratorio, Handel's Messiah, Beethoven's Missa Solemnis, Mendelssohn's Elijah, Brahms's Requiem, Bruckner's Mass in F Minor, Honegger's King David, Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms, Walton's Belshazzar's Feast, and Britten's War Requiem, many of which were broadcast nationally. By 1978 the A Cappella Choir had represented Canada twice in the BBC competition "Let the Peoples Sing." The strength of the Mennonite Brethren Bible College musical program 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.