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Norquay woman sings Beethoven with Regina Symphony Orchestra

Candice Nelson of Norquay sang alto in the choir of 98 voices in the choral part in the fourth movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony on May 14, which was the Regina Symphony Orchestra’s season finale.
Candice Nelson RSO
Candice Nelson of Norquay, who was a member of the 98-voice choir that sang in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony performed by the Regina Symphony Orchestra on May 14.

NORQUAY — A Norquay woman sang with the Regina Symphony Orchestra last Saturday.

Candice Nelson of Norquay, who works as the manager of SIGN Positive Impact in Kamsack, sang alto in the choir of 98 voices in the choral part in the fourth movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony on May 14, which was the RSO’s season finale.

Beethoven’s iconic symphony included four guest vocalists and the local choir, all under the baton of Maestro Gordon Gerrard, the conductor.

Performing with the Beethoven Nine Chorus were: Andrea Lett, soprano; Adam Luther, tenor;

Dion Mazerolle, bass-baritone, and Stephanie Tritchew, mezzo soprano.

During the concert, Janina Fialkowska was featured in the popular Grieg Concerto in A minor for Piano and Orchestra.

“We've been practicing since August 2021 and were originally supposed to have the concert in January, but postponed it to May 14 due to COVID-19,” Nelson said. “We had our last practice in December, took a Christmas break, and didn't start up again at the end of April.”

Living in Norquay Nelson drove the 600-kilometre round trip each Sunday for the two-hour practice.

“But I absolutely loved it,” she said. “I'll miss it [now that] it's over.”

Nelson was raised in Edmonton and started singing in the All City Junior High Choir when she was in Grade 4.

“We had an incredible conductor, Garth Worthington,” she said. “Edmonton just named a school after him.

“I also sang in choir and vocal jazz in high school under the direction of Joedy Missal, but after Worthington retired, the bar had been set pretty high and not many other choral experiences could meet it.

“I've sung in church for years and also did backup vocals for Jackie Guy for a couple concerts including a memorable couple days when we opened for Sawyer Brown in North Battleford and Saskatoon, but this is probably my biggest vocal adventure.

“I grew up singing soprano, but I'm singing alto for this. The music is challenging in so many ways! The words are in German which is the obvious first challenge to get all those consonant sounds in, but Beethoven didn't consider the fact that there was a human behind the vocals he was writing! It's really high and really low and really soft then really loud. Then slow then fast!

“Anyway, it's a pretty cool thing in my life,” she said.

Nelson moved to Norquay in 2007 and worked for Sunrise Health Region as a Physical and Occupational Therapy assistant in every facility from Yorkton to the north (Yorkton LTC, Yorkton hospital, Norquay, Invermay, Preeceville, Kamsack and Canora hospitals/health centres). She returned to school and received her bachelor of social work degree in 2017 and has been working for SIGN since 2018.

She lives in Norquay with her husband Douglas and two sons.

“As for what is next in my singing life? I don’t know! If you had asked me year ago if I would be driving 600km each week for choir practice I would have thought you were nuts!

“When COVID hit and things closed, music was something I could keep doing regardless of restrictions,” she said. “I can sing in my head, sing in the car and whistle while I work, so to speak! Music is a bit of self-care for me. I drive a lot for work and sing in the car, sometimes it’s 90s grunge, sometimes it’s ballads, sometimes it’s musical theater songs or songs I grew up singing in choir.

“I think music uses a different part of your brain and it’s good to kick that part in every once in a while. It’s a precious thing, so I’m careful to not abuse it.”

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