From Russia with Music: A Study of the Mennonite Choral Singing Tradition in Canada


152 pages
Contains Illustrations, Index
ISBN 0-920534-08-2






Reviewed by Nora D.S. Robins

Nora D.S. Robins is co-ordinator of Internal Collections at the
University of Calgary Libraries.


In recent years, Mennonite activity in the field of music has received growing recognition. Dr. Bergs work, the first comprehensive study of the Mennonite choral singing tradition in Canada, covers the period from 1870 to 1960. From Russia with Music had its beginnings in 1979, as a doctoral dissertation for the University of Washington. It has now been reworked into an informative and readable history.

The first chapter outlines the development of Mennonite choral singing. Choral singing began among Russian Mennonites as a witness to spiritual renewal and as a means of evangelism. Since then choirs have formed an integral part of worship in Prussian-Russian Mennonite churches.

The major part of the book chronicles the development and growth of choral activities in Canada, primarily in Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan. Due attention is paid to church and school choirs, and to the individual singers, musicians, and conductors who played such an important part in developing the tradition.

Bergs study provides a wealth of information and will be of interest to anyone interested in the religious, social, and musical aspects of choral singing among the Mennonites in Canada.

The book contains numerous black-and-white photographs and a reasonable bibliography in the form of “Notes” to chapters.


Berg, Wesley, “From Russia with Music: A Study of the Mennonite Choral Singing Tradition in Canada,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 25, 2024,