Years Months Days

Years, Months, and Days

World Premiere

Composed by Colin Labadie, Lyrics by Amanda Jernigan

Commissioned by Inter Arts Matrix as part of A Sense of Place residency at Felt Lab in St. Jacobs, and funded by a music commissioning grant from the Ontario Arts Council

Saturday, May 13, 2017
7:30 pm
St Peter's Lutheran Church
49 Queen Street North,
Kitchener, ON, N2H 2G9

Performed by Menno Singers
Conducted by Peter Nikiforuk

Tickets for this concert are available at or at the door

Also on the program King David by Arthur Honneger, Menno Singers with the Talisker Players.


Years, Months, and Days

In the summer of 2015 poet Amanda Jernigan, composer Colin Labadie, engineer Matt Borland, and visual artist Sarah Kernohan spent three weeks working in St Jacob’s, Ontario, with artistic director Isabella Stefanescu, as part of a project called A Sense of Place.

Various wild and wonderful collaborations emerged from this time; one of them is coming to fruition on Saturday, May 13th, in Kitchener, in the form of the premiere performance of Colin Labadie's new piece for choir, piano, and percussion, called Years, Months, and Days. The text is by Amanda Jernigan, comprising fragmentary meditations on passages from an Old Order Mennonite hymnal called Die Gemeinschaftliche Lieder-Sammlung

Colin Labadie writes: 

A Sense of Place was a means to explore the vernacular landscape of St. Jacobs County – a heavily touristed rural community with a large Mennonite population – through the conception of several distinct but related interdisciplinary art projects. One of the sites we visited was an Old Order Mennonite graveyard. We were particularly struck by the convention of listing age on the headstone by years, months, and days lived. We began to reflect on our own ages, but something about calculating them in those terms was immediate and unsettling. I started writing sketches in which the ages of all four collaborators (in days, months, and year) were used to generate rhythmic and melodic material.  Using numbers connected so immediately connected to our life (and, by extension, death) gave a weight and intimacy to the material that I hadn’t previously found.”

Conceived as an offering, Years, Months, and Days was commissioned by Inter Arts Matrix through an Ontario Arts Council grant. Isabella Stefanescu, artistic director for Inter Arts Matrix connected composer Colin Labadie with Peter Nikiforuk, choir director of the Kitchener-Waterloo-based choir Menno Singers, who took on the task of working with the choir on this newly composed piece.

Menno Singers will perform the world premiere of Years Months and Days on May 13, 2017 at 7:30 at St Peter's Luther Church,49 Queen Street North, Kitchener, ON N2H 2G9.


Also on the program Arthur Honegger's King David. This will be the farewell concert for choir director Peter Nikiforuk, after 19 years with Menno Singers. The concert was made possible by a grant from the Region of Waterloo Arts Fund.