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.

General News News Releases

10th Anniversary Celebrations

October 2010 Event Featured Reflections on CMU’s First Decade

Canadian Mennonite University kicked off its 10th Anniversary year with an October 29 celebration in the CMU Loewen Athletic Centre. Friends, faculty, staff, alumni, and students gathered to celebrate the realization of an exciting vision – to establish a Christian university in the heart of Canada, open to all, founded on Anabaptist beliefs and traditions.  A young university had come of age.

“As we mark 10 years of operation, the atmosphere at CMU is remarkably different from that of the early years,” said CMU President Gerald Gerbrandt. “Student numbers have grown dramatically; committed faculty, working as a team, offer expertise in a growing number of disciplines; CMU’s financial support remains stable; and internal structures have matured.  And, as a member of the Association of Canadian Universities and Colleges of Canada, CMU is recognized by sister universities nationwide.”

CMU was founded through the coming together of Concord College, Canadian Mennonite Bible College (CMBC), and Menno Simons College (MSC), growing on the spirit of cooperation and a shared vision to create a Christian liberal arts university offering full university accreditation.

Gerbrandt noted that CMU’s Menno Simons College is increasingly recognized as the premier centre for peace and justice studies in Canada; CMU’s unique Outtatown program provides an amazing blend of international experiential learning; and Shaftesbury programs have grown to include business, communications, the sciences, and pastoral leadership development. “CMU is successfully established as a small, faith-based university serving the Mennonite church and the broader society,” he said.

“The 10th Anniversary Celebration was permeated with a deep sense that we have cause for gratitude,” said Vice President External Terry Schellenberg, who served as master of ceremonies for the October event. “As Helmut Harder suggested in his Blazer article, The Emergence of a Mennonite University, the coming together of three colleges into one university and the faithful growth that has followed have not been inevitable – indeed, we might call it a ‘miracle.’”

“CMU’s commitments– educating for peace and justice, learning through thinking and doing, engaging in generous hospitality and radical dialogue, and modeling invitational community – are alive and well,” said Schellenberg.

Vice President Academic Earl Davey noted that CMU lives out of a commitment to be a university community that seeks God. “CMU provides a place in which one can expect to experience a transformation of heart and mind, a place in which the pursuit of God is the work of the one and the many,” said Davey. “What a gift it is to experience this common pursuit in both the extraordinary and ordinary of academic life.”

John Derksen, Associate Professor in Conflict Resolution Studies, reflected on the significant work of Menno Simons College which he described as being ‘smack at the intersection of the church and the world.’ “With my students,” said Derksen, “I get to teach and learn about peace – peace with God, peace with oneself, peace with our neighbours, and peace in the world. How much richer can this get, than to engage with the youth of the world, the leaders of tomorrow, on the biggest questions of life?”

Paul Kroeker, Dean of International Programs and Outtatown Director , viewed the celebration as an opportunity to examine God’s blessing and seek God’s guidance for the years to come. He reflected on the ways in which CMU’s core commitments are mirrored through the vision and mission of CMU’s Outtatown Discipleship School.

Associate Professor of New Testament Sheila Klassen Wiebe and Assistant Professor of English Sue Sorensen reflected on some of the special qualities that lie at the heart of CMU’s ethos – seeking God, nourishing transcendence, fostering community, and loving one another.

Also speaking at the event was founding Board member and long time CMU supporter Art DeFehr who was personally involved in establishing CMU. He reflected that CMU has a future overflowing with possibilities. “Many contributed to CMU’s creation 10 years ago,” said DeFehr. “There was strong and visionary leadership inside the institutions, the Boards, in the denominations, and from individuals. Those involved in the negotiations and the design for CMU were successful in the creation of a legacy with possibilities well beyond the present.”

In closing the October anniversary program, Schellenberg acknowledged the contribution of alumni and current students to CMU’s success. “Their giftedness, integrity, and faith are making a difference for good,” said Schellenberg. “Indeed, they embody the mission upon which CMU is grounded, seeking to ‘inspire and equip women and men for lives of service, leadership, and reconciliation in church and society.’”

For further information and reflections, refer to CMU’s Special 10th Anniversary Edition – CMU’s The Blazer, Fall 2010.  Refer to CMU’s Events listings for details on other Anniversary events.

Student Projects Video

10th Anniversary Celebration video

On October 29, 2010, Canadian Mennonite University kicked off its 10th Anniversary year with a celebration in the CMU Loewen Athletic Centre.  Friends, faculty, staff, alumni, and students gathered to celebrate the realization of an exciting vision – to establish a Christian university in the heart of Canada, open to all, founded on Anabaptist beliefs and traditions.  A young university had come of age.

Student reporters, Bia Tielmann and Nathaniel Willsie, from CMU’s Media Workshop class were there to capture some of the excitement.  Enjoy their creative retelling of  the evening.