It's an Honour: A History of the Alberta Youth Choir

  • Author / Creator
    Robertson, Adam, B
  • This study explores the history and evolution of the Alberta Youth Choir from its inception in 1982 through to 2018. It discusses the economic and political context in which the choir’s sponsoring organization, Choir Alberta (then the Alberta Choral Directors’ Association), was founded in 1972, as well as antecedent honour choir programs the Association established prior to designing the Youth Choir program. The formation and evolution of other provincial honour choir programs founded by Choir Alberta, both ongoing (Alberta Children’s Choir) and discontinued (Alberta University and College Choir), will also be discussed. The factors contributing to the success or failure of these programs will be placed within the larger context of Choir Alberta’s history, as well as the provincial government’s changes in approach to arts funding. Historical research methodology forms the foundation of this study. All documents constituting primary sources in relation to Choir Alberta’s provincial youth choirs have been collected and reviewed, with emphasis on minutes of meetings and Annual Reports. Interviews with past and present Executive Directors and Board members of Choir Alberta have been the most invaluable of primary sources. These individuals who were instrumental to the formation, functioning and continued development of the AYC include Madge McCready, Karen Hudson, Kevin Heshedahl, and Brendan Lord. Research findings indicate a number of factors that contributed to the creation of the Alberta Youth Choir in 1982. These include significant government support in the form of lottery monies, the formation of precursory honour choir programs including the All-Province Choir, and the influence of the Ontario Youth Choir. The suspension of the Alberta Youth Choir ii in 1992, as well as the suspension of the Alberta Children’s Choir and cancellation of the Alberta University and College Choir in 2007 was partially motivated by fiscal difficulties arising from the formation and dissolution of the provincial music conglomerate Music Alberta. Other influential factors include unfavourable reviews of guest conductors, flagging caliber and interest of participating choristers, and the evolving purposes of the Alberta Choral Federation. Research conclusions elucidate the benefits of honour choir programs to participating choristers, and attribute the persistence of the Youth and Children’s Choir programs to the perseverance of organizers and the combined efforts of the musical community as a whole.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2018
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Music
  • DOI
  • License
    Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.