Brandon University Music at the Cathedral

During the concert, the Brandon University Chorale sings Cody Cardinal's "Gratitude Song".
By on April 1, 2024

On Sunday, February 25, at 4:00 in the afternoon, St. Matthew’s Cathedral hosted a benefit concert that had everyone in the pews clapping and whistling their approval.  Cathedral organist Jia Zhang and choir soprano Lauren Shymanski organized the concert as a fundraiser for St. Matthews.  The pews were full and for a full hour and a half, the sounds of the best the Brandon University (BU) School of Music has to offer were resounding off the vaulted ceiling.

Among the noted soloists were Carlos Castro, a cellist, Shelby English, soprano, and Lauren Shymanski.  Shymanski wore two hats for the afternoon: she sang with the BU Chorale and did two pieces on the saxophone.  She finished off the concert with a stirring rendition of Schubert’s Ave Maria.  All three are also students who sing in the choir at St. Matthew’s.

Most of the concert was classical, but not the introduction to the selections from the Chorale.  The students gathered in a circle, and to the drum, they chanted the Graditude Song by Cody Cardinal.  It was a moving display of the history of indigenous music, as well as being an active acknowledgment of the history of the area, which is situated on land obtained by the federal government through Treaty Two, signed in 1871.

Jia Zhang, St. Matthew’s resident musician, was unable to play, as earlier that week, she fell on winter ice and hurt her shoulder.  As Lauren put it, it was just one more thing to add to the stress of putting together a concert in six weeks.

Lauren also remarked on the benefits of doing any concert in a space such as St. Matthew’s.  “The sound doesn’t get squished.  There’s room to move around and with the pews, lots of seats.”  When asked if she’d do it again, she replied, “In a heartbeat.”

Now she’s looking forward to organizing other concerts for the Cathedral, although not in the immediate future, and preferably, with more than six weeks to get the participants set, the program written and the advertising done.

When asked, those who watched said, “I had no idea those kids were that good” and “we should do this again in the fall, when the weather is better.  That way I can get more of my friends to come.”

Dean Don Bernhardt was gratified the student choir members were able to provide the concert and said, “They can do this anytime.  I’m looking forward to the next one.”


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