Wiebe, George

George (David) Wiebe. Choral conductor, teacher, hymnologist, b Gretna, Man, 25 Dec 1927; Teaching Certificate (Vancouver Normal School) 1949, B Christian Education (Canadian Mennonite Bible College) 1953, AMM 1955, ARCT 1957, M MUS (Southern California) 1962, D MUS (Indiana) 1980. Wiebe began his formal music training in Winnipeg in 1953 with Benjamin Horch (conducting) and Gladys Whitehead (voice). He spent the summers 1954-5 at San Diego State College working under Julius Herford and Robert Shaw, and in 1964 he spent a sabbatical in Germany at the Nordwestdeutche Musikakademie and the Westfälische Landes-Kirchenmusik-Schule studying choral and orchestral conducting with Alexander Wagner and Martin Stefani. In 1954 he began to teach at the Canadian Mennonite Bible College, and remained there in 1991.

Wiebe has been a leader in the burgeoning renaissance of male choral singing among Mennonites in Canada. In 1965 he began to conduct the Mennonite Oratorio Choir, which has performed major choral/orchestral works with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra including the Bach St Matthew Passion, St John Passion, and Mass in B Minor, Brahms' Requiem, and Bernstein's Chichester Psalms. He has directed the Faith and Life Male Choir (from 1984) in concerts and tours, and has worked on the organization and musical preparation of the Mennonite Festival Chorus (from 1985). In addition he has adjudicated choirs and directed workshops and choral and hymn festivals nationally and internationally. He has been appointed to hymnal committees for the Gesangbuch der Mennoniten (1961), The Mennonite Hymnal (1967), and The Hymnal (1992), and has prepared Choral Directing (1968), the English translation of Wilhelm Ehmann's Die Chorführung.

Wiebe is married to Esther Wiebe (b Plum Coulee, Man, 18 Mar 1932), who began teaching at the Canadian Mennonite Bible College in 1954, and is a composer and arranger of many anthems and collections of church music.

See also Mennonites.