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. While rooted in and supported by the Mennonite faith
community, the Inter-Mennonite Children’s Choir welcomes singers
from all denominations and backgrounds.
Presently, the choir has approximately 80 singers between the ages
of 6-15 from various church and musical backgrounds and divides
into three groups - the Training Choir, Concert Choir and the Small
Ensemble - according to musical experience. Auditions are held each
June for the Concert Choir and Small Ensemble.
The choir's schedule includes an annual Christmas and Spring
Concert and performances at various functions throughout the
From the beginning, the Inter Mennonite Children's Choir has been
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 1974, the choir won the top prize in the CBC National Radio
Competition for Amateur Choirs. Other former conductors include:
Jane Schultz-Janzen, Lisa Shuh, Deb Jones, Karen Bileski and
Judith Bean. 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). 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 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.
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.