Manitou's Jackson Hacault came back from the National Youth Choir of Canada trip to Montreal this month touring the province and performing at the Podium Choral Conference.  

"There were four of us in each province that were able to be a part of this program. I was representing the bass section of Manitoba. It was very intensive rehearsals for the first week. We had very short lunch breaks, very short breaks, and we rehearsed for 10-hour days. What really stood out to me was that camaraderie between each of those sections. It wasn't just a grueling rehearsal each day, but it was getting to know different people from different provinces. I really thoroughly enjoyed it."  


The choir members were billeted out as they travelled the area before returning to the province's capital for the final performance at the conference. 

"And then during our time as required, we got to attend several workshops. We attended a workshop on getting over nerves and then we got to just converse with people, we got to tour around Montreal a little bit. I had a lot of different foods. I met a lot of very, very talented people, very interesting people, a lot of conductors, composers, musicians. It was a very big deal for a small-town Manitou guy like myself." he said with a chuckle. 

Hacault with a choir

He said while travelling around the province in the bus, it was very early mornings and very late nights performing one a day for five days in various places.  

The final performance was in a big church in Montreal in front of a packed audience. 

"Oh, it was unbelievable. For the first time, singing music in the tunnels in the university. That was the first time, where we just picked a song and said, 'Hey guys, let's sight-read this.' and then we recorded it and sang it within like 5 minutes and just the echo of the sound. It was just unbelievable. And even in the big churches, you're surrounded by people who know what they're doing, know how to make a big sound, and who know how to project, and how to listen to each other, watch the conductor. That's awesome just to see the people who have the same level as you and the same ideas as you, singing beautifully in such a big church. That's unbelievable."   

Choir outdoors

Now that he is home, he looks back on the change in him from the beginning to the end. 

"I looked back on it now; I wasn't actually going to do it. I auditioned on the last day possible that you could audition. I'm like, 'I'm not going to really enjoy this, even if I do get in.' But, you know, I got that confirmation letter and I'm like, 'Hey, mom, I got it.' And she's like, 'Oh, well, great job, dude.' And then I'm like, oh, I wasn't too excited to begin with. But then as soon as I got into that university and saw people with the same interests as me and the same ideas as me. And then now I come back home, I really need to encourage this for other people because the experience is unforgettable."  

He is currently a student at the Brandon University and has already incorporated what he learned into his student teaching practicum.