Alumni profiles: Matheus Tuhafeni Michael

As part of our preparations for our 20th anniversary weekend (June 4-5, 2016), we present a small series of alumni profiles, celebrating the profound and enduring role Kokopelli plays in the lives of many of its choristers.

Michael TuhafeniMatheus Tuhafeni Michael
Swakopmund, Namibia
Exchange chorister to Kokopelli, 2009

I first met Kokopelli on their second tour to Namibia. I was a member of Mascato Coastal Youth Choir at the time, and we had beautiful concerts together.  In 2008 Scott Leithead returned to Namibia on sabbatical, working with Mascato and other choirs around Namibia. During that trip, Scott also formed the nin’jazz ensemble, which I joined.

At that point I was still in high school. I had many ambitions for my life, but my great-grandmother who raised me had just passed away at that time and I was living alone. I became a bit lost in my own world.

When I came to Canada in 2009 on exchange to Kokopelli, it was the first time I had spent an extended period away from Namibia and in particular Swakopmund, my hometown. In Canada, everything was very new and exciting, and I met great people everywhere I went. Until that point in my life I had always been very shy, but the exchange put me in a position where I was not only representing myself, but Mascato and Kokopelli as well. In those six months, I learned a lot about myself, people, and community through music.

I’m currently studying towards a BA Music at The Free State University in South Africa. The turning point came when I rejoined Kokopelli for its 2013 tour of South Africa and Swaziland. One night after a performance I had a chat in Scott’s room, with Cieran and Mxolisi and Scott. When I left that room, my life was on a new path (I never told them this). For this and many more life opportunities I can thank my Kokopelli family and Scott himself.

Since then, I have earned a diploma in Tourism, Travel and Hospitality management from the International University of Management and an Advanced Diploma in African Performing Arts from the College of The Arts. In 2015 I represented the College of The Arts at the Singing and Dance symposium for African folk music and dance held in Nanjing, China and later that year got invited to tour with Spirit ensemble to China, taking part in the 15th Nanjing Arts and Culture Festival.

I really want to take this opportunity to thank everyone from Kokopelli. You have played a big role in shaping my life. Ondapandula (“I’m thankful” in Oshiwambo).

Alumni profiles: Keith Rempel

As part of our preparations for our 20th anniversary weekend (June 4-5, 2016), we present a small series of alumni profiles, celebrating the profound and enduring role Kokopelli plays in the lives of many of its choristers.
Keith RempelKeith Rempel
Kokopelli member 03/04–Dec. 2006’
Nuf Sed member03/04–04/05
TIME bassist 03/04–10/11

When I first moved to Edmonton in 2003, Kokopelli and the TIME Association jazz choirs became a huge part of my life. It was my first time living on my own, but the open and supportive nature of the Kokopelli community made the transition much easier. Within a few months I made several lifelong friends. Choir parents regularly offered me rides, home-cooked meals, and in some cases a temporary home.

The lessons I learned in Kokopelli have been invaluable to my career as a freelance bassist. The vocal instruction offered by the choir helped me become a better harmony singer. This has been a great asset to me in a number of bands. In addition to vocal technique, my time in Kokopelli taught me a lot about acceptance and working with others.

I still live in Edmonton, making my living as a professional musician. I play a wide variety of music, including jazz, Latin, and folk. Music has taken me everywhere from Santiago, Chile, to Gravelbourg, Saskatchewan. It has given me the means to support myself in a career that I love.

Without the encouragement of Scott Leithead and the Kokopelli/TIME choir community I may never have made the life-altering decision to study music at Grant MacEwan. I am forever grateful for my good memories and enduring friendships rooted in the Kokopelli organization.

Kokopelli caps season with three national awards

 
The Kokopelli Choir Association is thrilled to have capped off its successful 2014-15 season with a trio of prestigious national awards.
 
In June, Kokopelli was named Canada's top mixed-voice youth choir in Choral Canada's 2015 National Competition for Canadian Amateur Choirs. Then, in July, Kokopelli was awarded "Best performance by a community choral group 19 & up" at the 45th National Music Festival. Our children's choir, Kikimasu, placed second in its category, "Best performance by a community choral group 12 and under."
 
The awards cement Kokopelli's reputation as one of Canada's elite choir associations. They also provide a perfect launching point for our exciting 2015-16 20th Anniversary season!

Open house rehearsals!

Parents and young choristers! This spring, Kokopelli Choir Association invites you to sit in on an actual rehearsal. See what our organization is like, and watch the rehearsal process. It's a fun, no-pressure opportunity to see if our choirs are right for you.
 

 
Kokopelli Open House
Ages 15-23 (as of fall 2014)
Monday, June 2, 2014, 7-9 p.m.
McDougall United Church (10025 101 St)
 
In addition to observing a rehearsal, interested singers will have the chance to sing along with Kokopelli members, meet our artistic director Scott Leithead, and learn more about what it means to be a Kokopelli member!
 

 
Shumayela Open House 
Ages 12-16 (as of fall 2014)
Tuesday, May 27, 7-9 p.m.
Holy Spirit Lutheran Church (11223 51 Ave)
 
In addition to observing a rehearsal, interested singers will have the chance to sing along with Shumayela members, meet director Kim Denis, and learn more about what it means to be part of the Kokopelli family! Parents/guardians will receive more information on the choir and our organization too.
 

 
Kikimasu Open House
Grades 4-6 (as of fall 2014)
Wednesday, May 21, 6:15-7:15 p.m.
Holy Spirit Lutheran Church (11223 51 Ave)
 
In addition to observing a rehearsal, interested singers will have the chance to sing along with Kikimasu members, meet director Carmen So, and learn more about what it means to be part of the Kokopelli family! Parents/guardians will receive more information on the choir and our organization too.
 

 
Tamariki Open House
Kindergarten to Grade 3 (as of fall 2014)
Thursday, May 22, 5-6 p.m.
Edmonton Moravian Church (9540 83 Ave)
 
In addition to observing a rehearsal, interested singers will have the chance to sing along with Tamariki members, meet director Ms. Rachel Beach, and learn more about what it means to be part of the Kokopelli family! Parents/guardians will receive more information on the choir and our organization too.

Kokopelli Academy

Koko-Academy-Facebook
 
Kokopelli Academy is presenting two mini-courses—conducting and arranging—open to anyone. A great opportunity for any choral enthusiast who wants to expand their horizons or boost their skills!

Introductory Elements of Choral Conducting 

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