OUR COMPOSERS

 

Helen Litz

 

Helen Litz (b Wilms). Conductor, arranger, composer, adjudicator, b Winnipeg 7 Jun 1932; diploma (Manitoba Teachers' College) 1962.

Litz studied voice with Gladys Whitehead. She performed with Robert Shaw and Helmuth Rilling in the Mennonite Festival Chorus. Having obtained a background in music education, Litz dedicated her life to working with children. "Her intense pursuit of excellence, matched by her attention to the 'total child' in her choirs, has brought delight to and admiration from countless listeners around the world" (GeorgeWiebe, Canadian Mennonite Bible College, 2000).

Litz founded the Mennonite Children's Choir of Winnipeg in 1957 and as of 2004 continued to be its conductor and music director. Under her direction, the choir has earned an international reputation of excellence. The Dos Music Publishing Company stated that, "Helen Litz and the internationally acclaimed Mennonite Children's Choir have become an institution whose musical contribution cannot be measured." Litz is also active as an adjudicator and clinician, has served as guest conductor for such groups as the British Columbia Provincial Honours Choir, and has given workshops across Canada and the USA, including a special 1990 workshop for the Music Educators' National Conference in Washington, DC.

Litz's arrangement of "This is my home" by Brian Gibson and Bob Buckley, the theme song from the Canadian Pavillion at Expo 86, was published by Lenel in 1989 and later by Leslie Publications of Waterloo. Her other choral compositions have been published by Chorister's Guild, Dox, and Lenel. In 1989 she was commissioned by the Manitoba Choral Association to write "Let Bells and Carols Ring" for the 89 Chorfest. In 2002 Litz, along with instrumentalist Annette Hay, wrote and arranged (for choir, flute, oboe, violin, cello, and bass)Dona Nobis Pacem, set to Caccini's melody. This was a 45th-anniversary project for the Mennonite Children's Choir of Winnipeg, with royalties supporting the Mennonite Central Committee Peace Project for all children. The music was chosen for the Honors Junior High Choir (more than 300 children) of the American Choral Directors' National Convention in New York City.