Verna Mae Janzen Competition Features Outstanding Musical Talent

Becky Reesor, Pianist, Wins Top Prize
This year’s Verna Mae Janzen music competition at CMU welcomed both vocalists and musicians to the stage. Previously a competition for vocalists only, this year the steering committee headed up by Henriette Schellenberg, Assistant Professor of Music at CMU, opened the competition to those with majors in instruments or voice.

Competitors in this year’s finals were Ashley Fredette, soprano; Joel Peters, organ; Courtney Dugan, mezzo soprano; Theo Dyck, baritone; Chelsea Froese, mezzo-soprano; Becky Reesor, piano; and Rebecca Hill, soprano.

l. to r.: Joel Peters, Becky Reesor, Peter Janzen, Rebecca Hill

Reesor won first place honours, claiming a prize of $700, while competition jurors William Baerg and Irmgard Baerg, deciding that Hill and Peters deserved to share the second-place honours, awarded Peters and Hill each $400.
The response from the audience to this year’s expanded program was positive, Schellenberg said. “They really loved the variety, especially this year because of the different instruments.”

One thing that has not changed from previous competitions is the excellent performances of the competitors, especially those who reach the competition finals.

Said Schellenberg, who was pleased with the high calibre performances from CMU students and proud of the efforts that went into preparing, “The Verna Mae Janzen competition helps students prepare for all aspects of their public performances.”

The Verna Mae Janzen Competition sponsor and donor of the prizes, Mr. Peter Janzen from Deep River, Ontario, again travelled to Winnipeg for the three-day competition, as he has been doing for all six years that the competition has been held.  Janzen established the competition in memory of his wife, Verna Mae, who died of cancer in 1989 at age 53 and who shared the joy of singing with her husband.

“We are so pleased to have Mr. Janzen as founder here to attend these competitions,” says Schellenberg. “I know that he particularly enjoys seeing the students, their parents, CMU faculty, and friends and relatives who come out to support this project.”

Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) is a Christian university in the Anabaptist tradition, offering undergraduate degrees in arts and science, business and organizational administration, communications and media, peace and conflict resolution studies, music and music therapy, theology, and church ministries, as well as graduate degrees in Theological Studies and Christian Ministry. Located in Winnipeg, Manitoba, CMU has over 1,700 students at its Shaftesbury Campus in Southwest Winnipeg, at Menno Simons College in downtown Winnipeg, and enrolled through its Outtatown discipleship school. CMU is a member of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC)

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