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Cochrane choristers eager to sing out at Calgary Boys' Choir 50th anniversary concert

The Cochrane representation so far consists of ‘commuter singers’ Leland and Jesse Tester and Cadel Dutta, who will perform at the concert.
Calgary Boys Choir performing at St. Stephen's Anglican Church in Calgary last year. The choir's 50th anniversary concert is on Sunday.

Anyone interested in the sounds that angels make is invited to come and join in the festivities surrounding 50th Anniversary of the Calgary Boys’ Choir when they perform in concert Sunday, May 26, from 3 to 4:30 pm.

Organizers hope the exposure might even lead to interested participants trying out for a satellite branch of the choir to be started in Cochrane, if they can stir up enough interest.

The Cochrane representation so far consists of ‘commuter singers’ Leland and Jesse Tester and Cadel Dutta, who will perform at the concert.

Leland Tester is 13. He’s been singing in a choir for seven years. The enthusiasm for his choir experience shines through on the phone.

“You get to meet new friends and you feel more confident about yourself when you sing in public,” he said.

One of his cherished memories is when he was selected recently among 100 other singers in an Alberta Children’s Choir performance in a large Calgary church.

“That was really cool and really fun," he recalled. "A hundred kids in the exact same church, all singing at once. It sounded like angels singing from heaven, basically.” 

The boys attend Manachaban Middle School in Cochrane. The Testers have been members for seven years and Dutta for one.

Surrounding the choir’s performance, there will be a three-day workshop May 23 to 25 for local tenors, basses and alumni with guest conductor Gerald Wirth, artistic director of the Vienna Boys Choir and former Calgary Boys’ Choir artistic director (1991-1998). The workshop chorus will sing with the choir in the concert.

A workshop social for participants and all alumni will be on Saturday evening at Merchants Restaurant & Bar in Marda Loop, Calgary.

The Choir is fundraising for this 50th celebration and a Guest Artist Sponsor is still available ($1,500). Donations and silent auction items are gladly accepted.
Cochranite Cindy Tester is Leland and Jesse’s mom and serves as president of the choir.

They currently have a carpool from Cochrane to rehearsals in Calgary in Marda Loop, but Tester is hoping to open a Cochrane chapter this fall.

“We’re looking for space, but I don’t have that solidified yet. One of our teachers is from Springbank, so . . .” she said.

Tester said Leland is gaining valuable life experience form his participation in choir outside of the actual performances. He has shown an affinity for public speaking and fielding questions from reporters and is well-spoken even with no preparation.

“Boys have opportunities to create amazing music, find camaraderie, fun, and perform concerts in the community and with other choral groups, and join honour choirs,” she said.

“They develop confidence, public speaking skills, learn to collaborate and go on amazing camps and tours in Canada and abroad,” she said.

Growing up in Stettler, Tester was part of a choir that won a national competition and is happily passing along her love of the activity.

The concert will be at the Eckhardt-Gramatte Hall in the Rosza Centre, 2500 University Dr. NW at 3 pm on Sunday, May 26.

There will be a reception and online silent auction to follow. The concert also features alumni guest artist and acclaimed Canadian folk musician, John Wort Hannan. Tickets and more information are available at:

Tester can be reached at [email protected].


Howard May

About the Author: Howard May

Howard was a journalist with the Calgary Herald and with the Abbotsford Times in BC, where he won a BC/Yukon Community Newspaper Association award for best outdoor writing.
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