Events General News News Releases

Youth Share Perspectives at Interfaith Conference

March 19, 2012 – Interfaith Youth Movement Held at CMU Draws Students Working Together for Social Change – On March 4, more than 80 students and other participants gathered at Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) for Winnipeg’s first Interfaith Youth Conference. Targeted at youth ages 16 to 26, the event aimed to bring young people of faith together to think about, discuss, and imagine ways to understand each other and work together for social change.

Speakers included Obby Khan, a Winnipeg Blue Bomber starter; Michael Champagne, who spoke about his experiences growing up as an Aboriginal in Winnipeg’s North End; and Seunita Mahraf Sandhu, who shared some common misconceptions about Hinduism. The conference also included panel discussions and discussion groups where students from different faith backgrounds broke into small groups to explore an issue and develop steps to address it.

Melanie Kampen, a student at CMU and one of the conference organizers, said, “I was impressed by how articulate and creative the youth were. They are already leaders. We need to find ways to engage them, elicit their wisdom and imagination, and trust them with creating and organizing their visions for solidarity and justice.”

At left: CMU Student Melanie Kampen

Like the conversations it started, the conference itself was the result of many different groups and ideas coming together for a common purpose. The free day-long event was presented by the Islamic Social Services Association (ISSA), funded by Manitoba Multiculturalism Secretariat and the Winnipeg Foundation, and hosted at CMU. The organizing committee worked to find a date and time that could accommodate Muslim Friday afternoon prayers, the Jewish Sabbath, and Sunday morning Christian worship.

CMU was a natural fit to host this unique conference because of its commitment to educating for peace and justice, learning through thinking and doing, practicing generous hospitality and radical dialogue, and modelling an invitational community.

Elizabeth Beattie, a Booth College student who volunteered as a liaison between conference organizers and ISSA (who received funding for this project), said that “learning about similarities – instead of focusing on differences – is a way to bring people together for a common goal.” She called the conference a success, and an important step in building a bright future for faith communities in Winnipeg.

The conference organizers hope to hold more events like this one, and are hoping it will lead to the creation of an Interfaith Youth Council that would meet to continue the discussions started at the March conference and work to create a better understanding among young people of faith in Winnipeg and beyond.

Text: by Lindsay Wright for CMU

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CMU Holds 2012 PIT Youth Conference

March 8, 2012 – Canadian Mennonite University’s (CMU) Peace-It-Together (PIT) Conference takes place on campus March 9 to 11, 2012. CMU welcomes high school students from youth groups all across Canada to stay at CMU and to share and discuss peace and justice issues with one another. The theme of this year’s PIT conference is “Jesus: The Peace that Matters,” focusing specifically on what the story of Jesus teaches us about peacemaking.

“It is exciting to anticipate youth from across Canada coming together to discuss Christian peacemaking,” says Harry Huebner. “Giving attention to Jesus is important in a world where we do not seem to know the things that make for peace.”

The Peace-It-Together Conference is a great opportunity for youth to learn from a variety of speakers, make friends, and see what CMU is all about. The Conference will be filled with activities of worship, discussion, singing, drama, games, and workshops.

Worship sessions and workshops will focus specifically on what the story of Jesus teaches us about peacemaking. The speakers, all CMU professors, will consider topics such as food, politics, and power, and ask how concerns around these topics can be shaped by the story of Jesus.

The worship session leaders include Kenton Lobe, Instructor in International Development Studies; Justin Neufeld, Lecturer in Philosophy; and Irma Fast Dueck, Associate Professor of Practical Theology. Focusing their sessions on the temptations of Jesus by the devil, PIT’s worship leaders will explore how the peace Jesus offers is true peace, respecting human freedom and the power of God, and how the peace the world offers is false peace.
Other highlighted weekend events include CMU’s get-to-know-you game called “Walk-a-Mile,” jam sessions, a drama presentation titled “Gadfly” by Theatre of the Beat, art workshops, movies, Variety Night, and sports activities. The PIT conference is hosted by students and allows youth to integrate into the CMU community and meet some CMU professors and staff.

PIT is an opportunity for youth to explore what CMU is all about and learn about peace in the process. Peace and justice are integrated into the core of the CMU institution and this conference helps to nurture a vision for peacemaking among the youth in Canada.

Events General News News Releases

Ministry Quest Attracts Diverse Student Group

March 5, 2012 – Sharing and hearing call stories in small groups became powerful experiences for a diverse group of 21 Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) students, gathered for CMU’s Fourth Ministry Quest Retreat on January 20 – 22, 2012 at St. Benedict’s Retreat and Conference Centre, just north of Winnipeg.

Attending the weekend retreat were 10 students from Mennonite congregations and 11 from other denominations—Baptist, United, Alliance, Presbyterian, Alliance, Pentecostal, and Non-Denominational congregations.

“They quickly developed a level of trust with each other that allowed them to bare their souls and wrestle with life questions under the guidance of five wise and gifted resource persons,” says Abram Bergen, CMU’s Director of Church Relations.

Joining in the Retreat were CMU faculty, Irma Fast Dueck and Dan Epp-Tiessen; Pastor Dan Unrau, Fraserview MB Church in BC; Jon Isaak, Director of the Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies; and Pastor Mary Anne Isaak, River East MB Church in Winnipeg.

“The growing need in the church is for more dedicated and effective congregational and mission leaders,” said Abram Bergen, CMU’s Director of Church Relations. “One way CMU is meeting this need is through Ministry Quest, a weekend retreat designed to help students gain greater clarity and confidence as they determine whether and how God is calling them into ministry.”

“How Christians hear God’s call has always been something I have struggled with,” commented Lee Hiebert, from First Mennonite Church in Kelowna, BC. “I’ve never been sure if it was supposed to be an audible voice in some kind of divinely inspired dream, or simply a direction that was inescapably apparent.

“Hearing the call stories from Dan Unrau, Mary Anne Isaak, and Jon Isaak allowed me to see the differences in the way God calls people. There is no distinct formula, but there are places we can look to for understanding,” said Hiebert. “One of the main themes that I came away with was that God calls us through the voices of His people. It is through listening to the faithful Body of Christ that we can begin to see the ways that God calls us.

“Since the retreat, I have begun to put much more faith in the affirmations that have and do come from the people around me,” he added. “Looking back on my own story, there seems to be a distinct direction that God has been opening to me through the people He has placed in my life. While I do not have a full picture of God’s will for my life, I do have a better understanding about how I can pay attention to the ways He is directing me.”

Danielle Bailey, from New Life Baptist Church, Stonewall, Manitoba, found herself eager to explore the idea of being called. “I felt open to learn and seek revelation from God on this topic. While at the retreat, I didn’t receive a lot of new information, but rather, a new way of thinking and speaking about previous ‘calls’ I have experienced,” said Bailey. “This framework was helpful. Leaving the retreat, I found my ‘call’ to student leadership at CMU reaffirmed and plan on deepening my involvement on student council committees next year.”

“I had several questions going into the Ministry Quest Retreat,” reflected Gabrielle Lemire from McIvor MB Church, Winnipeg. “Am I called to vocational ministry? How do I understand being called? Am I ‘allowed’ to be interested in ministry? Am I ‘allowed’ to say I want to do vocational ministry? Do I even want to do vocational ministry? What wisdom do my peers and teachers have to offer me with regard to this topic? What were/are their experiences?

“At the retreat, I learned how to relate understandings of ‘call’ and ‘recall’ to my current life experience. I was reminded to look for where I am called right now, in this time and place. God’s calling does not merely dictate future life choices, but also what I choose to invest in right now and what I have done so far. As a result, I feel at peace about my uncertain future because I know that God has guided me this far and is with me presently.

“My plans as a result of this weekend are to invest with confidence in places/things I feel called to,” said Lemire. “I would like to go into the future with confidence knowing ‘Emmanuel’ God is with me, regardless of where I go or what job I get.”

Students requested follow up conversations after they returned to campus. A few such conversations happened less than two weeks later with CMU’s Pastor-in-Residence, Doug Klassen, from Foothills Mennonite in Calgary as he opened students to “the Practice of Ministry” and “What Does our Pastor do Anyways?”

During their debrief, the resource leaders reflected on how this had been a holy time for them, as well, as they too had learned much from each other and from the students, and consequently enlivened their own call and vocation.

Article by Kim Penner and Abram Bergen

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Seedy Saturday Marks Gardening Season at CMU

March 2, 2011 –  Volunteers from Friends of Gardens Manitoba, Canadian Mennonite University, the Winnipeg Community Garden Network, and Seeds of Diversity Canada joined together to present the 12th annual local version of anational phenomenon.

“Seedy Saturday is a gathering of gardeners,  held every year in late winter, to celebrate the local gardening community and the start of a new growing season,” says CMU’s Kenton Lobe, Instructor in International Development Studies. “Seedy Saturday brings together gardeners of all ages, farmers, seed growers and seed savers, native plant enthusiasts, conservation groups and horticultural societies, for a day of great connections and new ideas.”

Vendors, displays, and a varied program of speakers offer abundant inspiration. “The heart of Seedy Saturday is the seed swap where people share their cherished seeds and the stories that go with them,” says Lobe. “There are lots of seeds for sale, too.”

Canadian Mennonite University
Saturday, March 3, 2012         

Program Speakers:

Special Guest Speaker Lisa Mumm on OSGATA vs. Monsanto
Organic seed growers are seeking protection through the courts against Monsanto’s patent infringement lawsuits. The introduction of genetically modified (GMO) seed has drastically changed the way farmers save seed and grow our food. Lisa Mumm, a Saskatchewan farmer and seed grower, will give us an update on the issue and the recent court proceedings she attended in New York City.

Patrick Elazar “The Benefits of Raised Bed Vegetable Gardening”
Designing a garden with wide raised beds offers many advantages to both plants and gardeners. With a little history, a lot of pictures, and a wealth of personal experience, urban agriculture enthusiast Patrick Elazar will inspire you to try this method in your garden to increase your yields, improve your soil, and extend your harvest.

Patrick Elazar has degrees in Agriculture & Middle-east studies. He has farmed, market-gardened & been a district agrologist before taking his current position as a marketing rep for the Canadian Wheat Board. Passionate about food and gardening, Patrick was affiliated for many years with the Lindsay Street community garden and is currently a member of Slowfood Manitoba.

Shirley Froehlich “Native Plants and the Web of Life”
Look beyond the beauty of your garden to its critical role in preserving local biodiversity, and choose plants to create a sustainable dynamic community in your backyard ecosystem. Growing native plants greatly expands the variety of life your garden can sustain, and they bring unique beauty to your landscape.

Shirley Froehlich owns Prairie Originals in East Selkirk, working with Manitoba gardeners to create beautiful, environmentally friendly gardens with prairie wildflowers and native plants.

Anna Weier “Growing Alternative Food Systems”
Manitoba has an abundance of visionary people and exciting ideas. Anna Weier of MAFRA will share the stories of recent projects they have supported in urban, rural and northern Manitoba aimed at increasing the local production of healthy food. These include establishing school gardens in Brochet and St Theresa Point, a Dauphin project connecting seniors and youth through canning and preserving workshops; the North Point Douglas community oven, and Fruit Share’s new guide to backyard fruit in Manitoba.

Manitoba Alternative Food Research Alliance is composed of universities and community organizations across Manitoba. They provide funding to people developing alternative food systems that provide local, fresh, healthy, culturally appropriate, fairly produced and affordable food.

 Video “Queen of the Sun: What are the Bees Telling Us?” is a profound, alternative look at the global bee crisis from director Taggart Siegel. Taking us on a journey through the catastrophic disappearance of bees and the mysterious world of the beehive, this engaging and ultimately uplifting film weaves an unusual and dramatic story of the heartfelt struggle of beekeepers, scientists and philosophers from around the world including Michael Pollan, Gunther Hauk and Vandana Shiva. Together they reveal both the problems and the solutions in renewing a culture in balance with nature.

More information at:
Contact: 204-231-4321

Events General News News Releases

CMU to Host Major Futsal Tournament

Copa de la Paz (Cup of Peace) offers new way to strengthen friendships through sports

On January 20 to 21, CMU will host its inaugural Copa de la Paz (Cup of Peace) Futsal Tournament in the Loewen Athletic Centre.
“This is a major event for us as we make efforts to increase the soccer opportunities for our CMU soccer programs as well as the other collegiate programs in Manitoba,” says CMU Director of Athletics Russell Willms.

Developed in South America, Futsal, or fútbol de salon, (hall or indoor football) is played by teams of five players, with one member of the team being a goalkeeper on an indoor court, where walls are not in play. The rules create an emphasis on improvisation, creativity, and technique as well as ball control and passing in small spaces.

The tournament will feature men’s and women’s teams from University of St-Boniface, Providence University College, Red River College, and the hosting teams from CMU. Local Premier Development League club, WSA Winnipeg, has also committed support by providing a raffle prize-pack that includes a pair of season tickets to its upcoming 2012 PDL campaign, joining other tournament sponsors Home Run Sports and Little Caesar’s Pizza.
“We are happy to have the soccer community behind us in this way and we hope that this tournament will lead other Manitoba colleges and universities to get involved to host similar events,” adds Willms.

CMU is hopeful that the Copa de la Paz will also promote continued development of  sportsmanship, friendship, and camaraderie amongst the Manitoba players. “We often say at CMU, ‘Peace is at the heart of everything that we do.’ It is out of this campus focus that the Cup of Peace has taken its name. It is our hope that this tournament will be a means by which new friendships can emerge among our athletes through sports.”

Day passes are available at the gate for $3 for Adults and $2 for Students.


Friday, January 20
6 PM                  Red River v. St-Boniface (Men)
7 PM                  CMU v. Providence (Women)
8 PM                  Red River College v. St-Boniface (Women)
9 PM                  CMU v. Providence (Men)

Saturday, January 21
10 AM               CMU v. Red River (Women)
11 AM                 CMU v. Red River (Men)
12 PM                 Providence v. St-Boniface (Men)
1 PM                  Providence v. St-Boniface (Women)
2 PM                  St-Boniface v. CMU (Women)
3 PM                  Red River v. Providence (Men)
4 PM                  Red River v. Providence (Women)
5PM                   St-Boniface v. CMU (Men)
7PM                   Women’s Championship Final
8PM                   Men’s Championship Final

Competing in the Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference, CMU plays in a league comprised of nine universities and colleges in Manitoba and Minnesota.  CMU is also a member of the Association of Christian College Athletics (ACCA).

CMU Blazer teams compete in soccer, volleyball, and basketball from September to March, playing MCAC league games as well as a number of tournaments with universities and colleges in Canada and the US.

Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) is an accredited Christian university offering undergraduate degrees in the arts, music, music therapy, theology, and church ministries, and master degrees in theological studies and Christian ministry. CMU is a member of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC). 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 Outtatown, CMU’s adventure and discipleship program. Visit
News release posted January 18, 2011
For Blazers Athletics information, contact:
Athletics Director Russell Willms

Canadian Mennonite University, 500 Shaftesbury Blvd. Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada R3P 2N2

Events News Releases

Plans for Fall Festival 2011 Announced

Exciting Weekend of Activities Slated for September 30 to October 1

CMU invites the public to experience two exciting days on campus and get a taste of university life during its Fall Festival 2011, being held September 30 and October 1 at 500 Shaftesbury Boulevard, Winnipeg.

“Fall Festival – replacing CMU’s traditional Homecoming – affords a wonderful opportunity to connect with our university community and participate in variety of exciting events.  Come, visit our campus, experience our faculty in action, glimpse the vibrant student life at CMU, and share in the program, vision, and potential of our university,” says Vice President External Terry Schellenberg.  “Everyone – students, alumni, friends, donors, community members – is welcome to be part of a renewed weekend that will connect and inspire.”

The weekend opens Friday with a celebration to honour CMU’s 2011 Blazer Distinguished Community Service Award winner Ray Dirks along with winners of the 2011 Blazer Distinguished Alumni awards, Lois Coleman Neufeld (MBBC ’80), Judith Klassen Neufeld (CMBC ’97), David Loewen (MBBC ’61), and Robert Wedel (CMBC ’69).

Following the award presentations, guests gather at 7:30 p.m. to explore the issue of human rights in an evening presentation of words and music.  CMU offers a thought-provoking lecture for the public, entitled “It’s Not Only about You” by faculty member Paul Doerksen, followed by a response from faculty member John Derksen. Woven into the presentation will be music of the Quartet for the End of Time, by Olivier Messiaen.

Visitors with an interest in athletics can watch the exhibition volleyball games in the Loewen Athletic Centre from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday.

Activities on Saturday get underway with the challenging MennoCross bike races, 11 to 5 pm. Racers ride a course that twists and turns around CMU’s north campus.  In addition to the competitive class, there are races for beginner and intermediate riders as well as kids. Registration details are available online.

Alumni reunions take place in the afternoon, as well as an alumni choir rehearsal for the evening performances.

Beginning at 3 p.m., a variety of activities get underway, with games, a children’s “bouncy house,” dunk tank, and a pie auction included in the festival’s offerings.  Visitors – and especially parents of students – may be interested in taking tours of CMU’s student residences and campus buildings and grounds.

Of particular interest to guests, from 4 p.m. to 5:15 p.m., will be the presentation of five short “Faculty Samplers” in two time slots.  The “samplers” will offer a taste of the passion and expertise of CMU’s faculty. Dietrich Bartel presents Music as Wellness; Gordon Zerbe’s sampler is Walking the Streets of Paul’s Philippi, Virtually; Candice Viddal offers A Hymn to God’s Glory:  Physics and the Spiritual Dimension; Tim Rogalsky presents Logic Unlocks Pauline Puzzles! Mathematics as a key to understanding the letters of Paul; and a workshop presentation by David Balzer explores The Art of Communicating in Church and Society or why I think our storytelling should be ‘pathetic.’

CMU invites guests to stay for a free BBQ supper followed by an evening celebration service at 7 p.m. featuring the wonderful voices of CMU Alumni and Student choirs conducted by faculty members Janet Brenneman and Rudy Schellenberg, along with student sharing and a short address by CMU’s President, Gerald Gerbrandt.

CMU’s full weekend schedule can be viewed online at  and on our Facebook Page Canadian Mennonite University, Fall Festival tab. You can also follow CMU_Alumni on Twitter.

Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) is a Christian university in the Anabaptist tradition, offering four Baccalaureate degrees with majors in a wide variety of areas. CMU offers programs in arts and sciences, as business, communications, peace and conflict transformation studies, music, music therapy, theology, and church ministries.  CMU also offers Master of Arts degrees in Theological Studies and in 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 program.

CMU is a member of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC).

For CMU information, contact:
Nadine Kampen,
Communications & Marketing Director
Tel. 204.487.3300 Ext. 621

For event information, contact:
Eleonore Braun, CMU Alumni Coordinator
Tel. 204.487.3300 Ext. 605
500 Shaftesbury Blvd.
Winnipeg, MB  R3P 2N2


Great Line-up of Authors at CMU Spring Literary Festival

Keynote Speaker Warren Cariou One of Eleven Guest Authors on Campus in May 2011
Canadian Mennonite University’s Spring Literary Festival, an event held in conjunction with the School of Writing at CMU, this year features eleven authors from across the prairies, visiting the CMU campus between May 9 and 13, 2011.

Guest authors on Monday, May 9 are Winnipeg’s Charlene Diehl, Ian Ross, and Deborah Schnitzer. On Wednesday evening, May 11, Edmonton’s Marina Endicott, Winnipeg’s Christina Penner, and Saskatoon’s Lloyd Ratzlaff will be speaking.

Literary Festival Keynote Speaker Warren Cariou

Keynote speaker this year is Winnipeg’s Warren Cariou, who will share his insights and stories on Friday, May 13.

Cariou has published two books, the memoir Lake of the Prairies and the fiction collection The Exalted Company of Roadside Martyrs. He has also co-directed two films about Aboriginal people in Western Canada. His address is entitled “Life into Stories and Stories into Life.”

Warren Cariou
Cariou is Canada Research Chair in Narrative, Community, and Indigenous Cultures at the University of Manitoba, where he also directs the Centre for Creative Writing and Oral Culture.

Special Publication Celebration at 2011 Festival
Writers Di Brandt, Diane Driedger, Joanne Epp, and Sarah Klassen will be part of a May 10 special event celebrating the publication of Tongue Screws and Testimonies: Poems, Stories, and Essays Inspired by the Martyrs Mirror. This anthology, edited by Kirsten Eve Beachy, contains numerous poems, creative essays, and fiction associated with the Anabaptist tradition.

Tongue Screws and Testimonies is for the young woman who remembers hiding behind the couch at her grandparents’ house to look at Jan Luykens’ engravings, and who still gets chills thinking about it,” says Beachy, a professor at Eastern Mennonite University in Virginia. “It’s for the man who, drawn into a Mennonite congregation in middle age, is trying to get a grasp of Anabaptist history. It will serve as a conversation starter with theologians of many traditions who are concerned with the difficulties of living faithfully.”

Based on the Martyrs Mirror, a book published in 1659 by Thieleman J. van Braght that graphically relates the accounts of more than 4000 Christians of many generations who were tortured and killed for their faith, Tongue Screws and Testimonies explores the relationship between faith and martyrdom, showing how stories from the Martyrs Mirror connect with the authors’ lives.

The anthology, published by Herald Press, features both new and established writers, including Rudy Wiebe, Di Brandt, Jeff Gundy, Jean Janzen, Julia Kasdorf, John Ruth, and Rhoda Janzen. John D. Roth, professor of history at Goshen College, calls the collection “a witness to the collective memory and spirituality of a people. Read it to be informed, stirred, and possibly even provoked.”

May 9-12 events begin at 7 pm each evening; the May 13 keynote event begins at 7:30. The CMU Spring Literary Festival events are free and open to the public, and all take place in the Great Hall on the north side of the CMU campus. Festival readings are made possible with the support of the Manitoba Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts through The Writers Union of Canada.

Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) is an accredited Christian university offering undergraduate and graduate degrees. CMU is a member of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC). Located in Manitoba, CMU has over 1,700 students at its Shaftesbury Campus in Southwest Winnipeg, at Menno Simons College in downtown Winnipeg, and enrolled through Outtatown, CMU’s adventure and discipleship program.

For more information on the Spring Literary Festival and featured speakers, visit
Or contact The School of Writing at CMU

For CMU information contact: Nadine Kampen, Communications and Marketing Director Tel. 204.487.3300    Toll free 877.231.4570
Canadian Mennonite University
500 Shaftesbury Blvd.   Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada R3P 2N2


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)

For information, contact:
Nadine Kampen, Communications & Marketing Director
Tel. 204.487.3300  Ext. 621


Performance of The Mikado Transported Audiences

Far Off Destination Brought to Life on Stage

In the past, attendants of CMU Opera Workshop productions have been transported to the streets of New York to witness a gang war in West Side Story and have visited many other places through various performances.  This year, they were transported to Japan for the CMU student production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado: The Town of Titipu, performed March 3-6 in CMU’s Laudamus Auditorium.

The Mikado is a comic-opera about a minstrel, Nanki-Poo, who had banished himself from the town of Titipu because of his love for the already engaged maiden, Yum-Yum. Nanki-Poo returns when he learns that Yum-Yum’s fiance has been sentenced to death for the capital crime of flirting, and hilarity ensues upon his return.

According to David Klassen, the producer and director of the production, the process of transforming CMU into a Japanese courtyard and the students of Opera Workshop into executioners, maidens, elderly women, and leaders of towns involves a great deal of research.

Says Becky Hill, who played Pitti-Sing, “It’s been a really fun process to learn all that and then putting it all together with the make-up and the hair and the wardrobe – you suddenly feel as if you are the character,” she said.

For Nathan Thorpe, a CMU student and an audience member at The Mikado for one of the performances, it was difficult to remember that some of the cast members were his friends, not actually executioners and leaders of Asian towns.

“I caught myself thinking, ‘Wow, these actors are really good! Oh, wait… These are people I know,’” he said.

Though the process of transforming CMU into a Japanese town and its students into elaborately dressed Japanese characters was difficult, it was worth it, Klassen said.

“It’s quick and it’s a lot of hard work for everyone involved, but at the end of the day, when you have a production like this that the students can be equally as proud as I am, it’s highly gratifying,” he said.

Article by Rachel Bergen, CMU Communications & Media Student

Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) is a Christian university offering undergraduate degrees in the arts and sciences, business, communications and media, peace and conflict resolution studies, music, 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 program. CMU is a member of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC).

For information and photographs, contact:
Nadine Kampen, Communications & Marketing Director
Tel. 204.487.3300  Ext. 621


CMU Celebrates 10th Anniversary with Spring Concerts

Choral music lovers and supporters of Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) are invited to celebrate CMU’s 10th anniversary at two spring concerts being held to commemorate the occasion.

Westminster United Church, one of Winnipeg’s heritage buildings, will host a concert on Saturday, March 26, at 7:30 p.m. The second concert will be held in Gretna, MB, at Mennonite Collegiate Institute’s (MCI) Buhler Hall, on Sunday, March 27, at 3:00 p.m.

“Since this is our 10th anniversary, we felt that we would do something special for both constituencies,” says Dylan Tarnowsky, Development Associate at CMU and event lead for the Westminster concert.

Both events, based on the theme “Hope, faith, life, love,” will feature four CMU choral ensembles—the 40-voice CMU Singers, the 20-voice CMU Chamber Choir, the 50-voice CMU Women’s Chorus, and the 30-voice CMU Men’s Chorus—as well as various solo instrumentalists.

“The concerts will highlight CMU’s choral tradition, not only of the last 10 years, but also the longstanding traditions of both Canadian Mennonite Bible College (CMBC) and Concord College/Mennonite Brethren Bible College (MBBC),” says Rudy Schellenberg, Associate Professor of Music and co-conductor of CMU’s choirs.

“Invigorating choral partnerships provided strong links between CMBC and Concord College/MBBC long before CMU was imagined, and helped paved the way for CMU,” adds Cheryl Pauls, Associate Professor of Piano and Music Theory. “The choral art continues to bring diverse voices together and to thrive in the CMU era.”

In honour of the anniversary, renowned Ontario composer Jeff Enns was commissioned to write a special celebratory piece for the CMU Singers and Chamber Choir to perform together. The piece, “What Does the Lord Require of You?,” is based on a Micah 6.8-themed text penned by California Mennonite writer/poet Jean Janzen.

The Westminster concert is a ticketed event; $20.00 for adults and $10.00 for students. Tickets are available at CMU’s reception desks, at the door, and online at

“I’m looking forward to hearing our choirs sing in that magnificent space,” Tarnowsky says of the Westminster concert. “The acoustics are supposed to be incredible. This will be a ‘night on the town’ for Winnipeggers who love choral music to come and experience CMU through song.”

There is no admission charge for the MCI concert; however, there will be an opportunity to contribute to the work of CMU. This concert will also include some additional programming to include personal reflections and multimedia presentations related to the 10th anniversary, as well as refreshments.

“The MCI event is a time to bring CMU to Southern Manitoba, to reaffirm our connection with our supporters in this region of the province, and to celebrate how much we’ve achieved together in 10 years,” says Tarnowsky. “I think the event will be a wonderful blend of personal reflection, special music, and insight into all the innovations that CMU brings to the higher education ‘table’ in Manitoba.”

Schellenberg says a highlight of both concerts will be hearing and participating in a great variety of outstanding choral music, both new and familiar. “Singing together, whether in the congregation or the choir, is a profound participatory experience,” he says. “It unites us in a common purpose and faith in God that few other expressions can.”

For more information about CMU’s 10th anniversary spring concerts, please go to or call 487-3300 x607.