Prince Albert choir formed for provincial competition sings its way to first place

The Big Noise Youth Choir was formed from high school students in the Broadway North Youth Company. -- Submitted photo

A Prince Albert choir formed to compete in music festivals has taken home first place in its provincial class.

Lauren Lohneis had the idea to form a choir made up of senior singers from the Broadway North Youth Company after their December performance of Beauty and the Beast. All 13 high school students she asked agreed to join.

“I just knew through working with them in Frozen and Beauty and the Beast and our summer intensive program that we just have a huge, huge amount of talent in the Broadway North Youth Company,” said Lohneis.

At the Prince Albert Music Festival, adjudicators recommended that the choir compete in the Saskatchewan Music Festival Association’s provincial finals.

Soloists are set to perform in Regina from Thursday to Sunday. However, all choirs send in recordings to be judged instead of performing in person.

“I’ve had choirs go to provincials many times. We’ve never won,” said Lohneis, adding how enthusiastic the youth in Broadway North are.

“I told these kids, look, I have a busy teaching job Monday to Friday and you guys are the reason why a tired teacher will joyfully get up on a Saturday morning and teach a full day again.”

Lohneis said she plans on continuing the choir beyond the music festivals.

She’s also the director for the Ecole Vickers School Choir, which competed in provincials.

Three other solo performers from Prince Albert will be taking the stage in Regina – pianist Anthony Stergios, vocalist Tori Korczak and vocalist Willow Vogelgesang. Zoe Mortimer, also a vocalist, was recommended for provincials, but is unable to attend.

Vogelgesang has been singing ever since she joined the Broadway North Youth Company’s Peter Pan Jr. at age seven. Not only has she been in every show since, she’s taken voice lessons from Lohneis and Mosaic Music and has been in the St. Mary’s and Children’s Choirs.

Willow Vogelgesang will be singing in Regina at the Saskatchewan Music Festival’s provincial finals, taking place Thursday to Sunday. — Submitted photo

“I love music just in general, I think it’s such a beautiful way to portray emotion, especially since I’m very big into musical theatre, so I love how songs can tell a story and can inspire people,” said Vogelgesang.

Being her first time performing in the Prince Albert Music Festival, she was pleasantly surprised to be invited to the provincial finals.

“It was kind of unreal to me,” she said.

Performing in Regina will expand her experience as a performer, but listening to other vocalists will be the biggest learning opportunity, explained Vogelgesang.

“I’ll get to see people from all over Saskatchewan, not just Prince Albert performing their songs they’ve gotten to provincials with, getting to take notes from them and seeing the different ways people are singing and doing songs and then getting to work with the adjudicators.”

At the local music festival, performers can choose whether to enter a provincial class. If they do, adjudicators recommend their picks for which performers to send to the provincial level.