OpenText Life

Humans of OpenText: Vicci Jenkins and Michelle Stevens

Meet Vicci and Michelle, OpenText™ friends and colleagues from Waterloo, Canada. They met through their love of singing and have shared many stages together in a variety of prestigious choir performances across Southern Ontario. Read their Humans of OpenText story below to learn more about this talented duo!

Where did your love of singing come from?

Vicci: I sang in choirs as a child at school, winning the Cheltenham Music festival when I was in Junior school and for the Birmingham Youth Opera Company in my teens. Sadly, I stopped singing when I went to university, and didn’t start back up again until 2013. When I moved from Luxembourg to Canada in October 2016, one of the first things I looked for was a choir – and that’s where I met Michelle.

Michelle: In my childhood, I remember my aunts and my mum singing with me often. Also, I used to watch Canadian children’s entertainers Sharon, Lois and Bram, and the Fred Penner show on the TV. Growing up, I was always in different choirs, and music was just always around. One of my favorite memories was playing Buttercup in HMS Pinafore in an elementary school production. I stopped singing in university, but started again just a few years later in 2007.

How long have you been singing in choir together?

Michelle: I was singing at the Grand River Voices when we first met. Vicci arrived just after Canadian Thanksgiving and by the following Friday she was singing in a concert with us.

Vicci: Last year, we both got into the Grand Philharmonic Choir, which was really exciting as we get to perform regularly at the Centre in the Square with the KW Symphony. We’ve also had the opportunity to perform in Cambridge, Ontario and Hamilton, Ontario!

What’s your favourite part about singing in a choir?

Michelle: Feeling that you’re part of a community and building something greater than yourself. Music is able to communicate so much regardless of the language you are singing in – that connection you make with the rest of the choir, musician and audience feels amazing.

Vicci: For me, singing in a choir becomes magical when you reach that point of losing yourself in the music – it kind of takes over your whole body, and you feel the resonance of everyone around you. They say that your heartbeat synchronizes with the rest of the choir as you are breathing and singing together, and you really do feel the connection. You are a part of a team – all supporting each other, and all working to realize the vision of your conductor.

Vicci (continued): I also really like how you can develop really strong friendships in a choir. I still have really good friends from my choir in Luxembourg, and there’s wonderful people in the Grand Phil Choir from all walks of life.

Why is music such an important part of your lives?

Michelle: Music grounds me. It provides me the connections I need in my life during a tough year, and keeps me moving forward. Music is a part of my daily life – listening, playing or singing.

Vicci: My parents instilled a love of music in me. I also play the flute, piccolo, and at a basic level, piano and cello. But singing is something you can do anywhere, with no need for any equipment. Whereas auditions for flutes come up rarely in orchestras, you can sing in a choir pretty much anywhere and to any standard.

Vicci (continued): For me, playing and singing music helps me in my work, too. To perform, you are a part of a team – some of you have different roles, and in a choir, a number of you have to blend your voices in the same role. The conductor leads you to perform in the way they want the performance to be, communicating through actions and sharing emotions with you to achieve their vision. I take many things I learn from choir and apply them to my work and project management skills.

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Emma Schmidt

Emma works in the Employee Communications team. She loves bringing people together and playing a part in making OpenText a great place to be.

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