History
St. Peter’s Adult Chorus, a community choir for mixed voices, was established at St. Peter’s College,
Muenster, Saskatchewan, in September 1967 under the direction of Al Gerwing. At the time, he was a member of St. Peter’s Abbey and was known as Brother Thomas Gerwing. His vision in forming the group was to stimulate and foster choral singing in the area and to develop an appreciation for choral literature among participants and audience alike. He recruited 19 Sopranos, 16 Altos, 12 tenors, and 14 baritones, drawing from the towns and farms within approximately a forty-five kilometer radius of Muenster. Norma Weber (Berscheid) was the pianist and when duet piano was required, Jack Nieman also accompanied. Rehearsals were held twice a month on Monday evenings and the first concerts were May 3rd and 5th, 1968, in St. Peter's College gymnasium.


Over the many years of existence,  the choir has presented music, both  sacred and secular, from masses to motets, madrigals to musicals. The repertoire transcends time - from the earliest church music, through Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque periods, to Classical choral works. Romantic art songs and opera, as well as folk songs, jazz, "pop" and contemporary 20th century music.  Works were frequently sung in the original language of composition.


Performance highlights include Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, Choral Opus 125, with the Regina Symphony and Philharmonic Choir, the premiere performance of Alexander Peloquin's Colonie Fantasia, the Peloquin Mass, Schubert's Mass in G, selections from Handel's Messiah and Elijah


The choir, along with St. Peter’s College, have hosted several music groups, including The Vancouver Chamber Choir, directed by Jon Washburn, St. Michael's Boys Choir, of Toronto, Memorial University Chamber Choir, St. John's, Newfoundland, and the University of Saskatchewan Greystone Singers.  In addition, our concerts have featured such local artists as Henri Loiselle, baritone,  organist Gregory Schulte, the University of Saskatchewan Woodwind Quartet, the New West Brass, to mention but a few.


The choir, now simply St. Peter's Chorus, has received various awards locally and provincially from the Saskatchewan Music Festival Association, and has competed nationally for the City of Lincoln Trophy.  We are deeply indebted to our directors over the years, who have made such achievements possible, especially Bro. Thomas, (Al Gerwing), Dennis Schaeffer, and Maxine Moore, our current director.  Their extensive knowledge, enthusiasm and profound patience have contributed greatly to the success of the choir, and the enjoyment of its members.  We have also been blessed by our talented accompanists, from Norma Weber (Berscheid), Janice Fouhse,  to today's Denise Germain.


With the continuing support of St. Peter's Abbey, St. Peter's College, Saskatchewan Choral Federation and Saskatchewan Lotteries, it is our hope that St. Peter's Chorus will continue to build on its strengths, as it presents a wide range of choral music for the enjoyment of all.


Thanks to Marlynn Rogstad for compiling this history.

 

Al Gerwing (Brother Thomas), founding director,

Fall 1967-Spring 1975

Read Al’s obituary

Read Thomas Yu’s tribute

The Al Gerwing Foundation