Welcome to the TWELFTH edition of The WholeNote’s annual Canary Pages, as we continue to provide an opportunity for Southern Ontario choirs to introduce themselves to individuals of all ages seeking opportunities to sing, in every genre and at every level of skill and commitment. The 123 choirs in our directory this year cover an incredible range: choirs that have thrived for decades, new groups breaking energetically into the scene, powerful choruses of hundreds of voices, small and intimate chamber choirs, children’s choirs, choirs enhancing worship and choirs connecting communities across the province. So, if you are new to the region, a lapsed chorister looking to start up again, on the hunt for new choral challenges or thinking of taking the plunge for the first time, this is the perfect place to start. And if a choir you are involved with missed the deadline for this print edition, it can still apply to the online directory year round.
THE 2014 CANARY PAGES TEAM
PROJECT MANAGER Karen Ages
Project Editor Sara Constant
Proofreader Adam Weinmann
Layout & Design Susan Sinclair
Website Bryson Winchester
Cover Photography Emily Ding
The Achill Choral Society began as a community choir in 1982, drawing members from an area northwest of Toronto. We gather Wednesday evenings to rehearse repertoire. Our membership is around 85 and we are a mixed, auditioned adult choir. Each Christmas and spring, we perform concerts in the churches and halls of our communities, including Alliston, Beeton, Bolton, Bradford, Caledon, Caledon East, Orangeville, Shelburne and Tottenham. We are led by A. Dale Wood. His lifelong musical career also includes directing the Georgetown Choral Society and Georgetown Children’s Chorus, as well as teaching lessons in piano, voice, organ and composition. Thanks to the commitment and vision of our director, the choir maintains an excellent standard of performance, attracting guest soloists and accompanists of the highest calibre.
With its upcoming 40th Anniversary Season, the 85-voice Amadeus Choir, under the brilliant direction of conductor Lydia Adams, has evolved into one of Canada’s pre-eminent choral groups. The choir’s 2014/15 season includes, among others, great works by Brahms, Mozart, Jestadt, Robinovich and Watson Henderson. Collaborations with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Bach Children’s Chorus and the Elmer Iseler Singers will make this an unforgettable season of music! Rehearsals take place Tuesday evenings in Don Mills; performances happen throughout the city. Membership is by audition, with auditions held in May/June – please phone or email the choir office.
The Annex Singers of Toronto is a vibrant community choir delivering an eclectic repertoire with spirit and sophistication. Now in its 35th season, the 60-voice choir performs classical and contemporary repertoire, including premieres of Canadian works. The Annex Chamber Choir is a 20-voice ensemble drawn from the larger choir, presenting works from the chamber repertoire. Director Maria Case’s dynamic leadership and programming continue to invigorate the choir, attracting new members and wider audiences. We typically present two formal concerts each year and close the season with a cabaret. Experienced singers should contact our membership coordinator through our website to arrange an audition. We rehearse Monday evenings at St. Thomas’s Church, 383 Huron St.
The ASLAN Boys Choir is a premier performing ensemble, based in mid-town Toronto. We welcome boys aged 7 to 13 and their families to participate in our choir and community. Concerts, practices and an array of social activities all contribute to a stimulating musical experience with like-minded boys. The 2014/15 season includes performances with the Boys Choir of Basel, the Pax Christi Chorale, the Salvation Army band and others. We also have regular visits from guest musicians. Tryouts are held regularly for admission to ASLAN. We simply look for a pleasant singing voice, an engaged and inquisitive mind and a love of music. Rehearsals take place on Tuesdays from 4:30pm to 6:00pm during the school year.
The Bach Chamber Youth Choir, now in its 19th season, is an award-winning SATB choir for boys with changed or changing voices and girls, aged 16 years and up. Under artistic director Linda Beaupré, BCYC has earned first place awards at the local, provincial and national levels of the Canadian Federation of Music Festivals, and this year earned the Elmer Iseler Award for Best Choir at the Toronto Kiwanis Festival. As the senior level of the Bach Children’s Chorus, BCYC will perform at the two annual concerts at the Toronto Centre for the Arts. Additional performances will include a cabaret-style concert and a benefit concert. BCYC rehearses Sunday evenings at a church on Danforth Ave., at Chester.
Bach Children’s Chorus, now in its 26th season, is an award-winning organization of three treble-voice choirs and one mixed voice choir (Bach Chamber Youth Choir – see separate listing). Led by founder and artistic director Linda Beaupré, an award-winning Toronto conductor and clinician, these choirs have a membership of 200 young people, aged 6 and up. Training is offered in vocal technique, sight-singing and theory. BCC rehearses weekly in Scarborough, performs as a Company-in-Residence at the Toronto Centre for the Arts and appears regularly at Toronto events. Each choir participates in weekend festivals, workshops and concerts with other youth choirs and world-renowned clinicians. BCC has released six solo CDs and has won provincial and national choral awards.
Directed by Linda Meyer, the Bel Canto Singers is a 40-voice, community-based SATB choir that provides good music, fun and fellowship. Auditions to determine voice range are required. We perform two concerts per year, fall and spring. We also sing in seniors’ residences and at fundraisers for other organizations. Repertoire is varied and includes folk, movie music, swing, spirituals, Broadway and classical selections. Rehearsals are 7:30pm to 10pm, Tuesdays, at St. Nicholas Anglican Church, Warden and Kingston, Birchcliff.
Directed by Brenda Uchimaru, Bell’Arte Singers is a choir of advanced amateur singers, music educators, music students and professionals who value the community created by making music together and sharing this music with others. The choir performs a mix of global and traditional choral repertoire from all periods and integrates into its performances the work of other artists through dance, multi-media and storytelling. The choir performs three concerts per season. Rehearsals are Saturday mornings from 10am to 12:30pm at the Toronto Mennonite Centre on Queen St. E., in the beautiful Beach neighbourhood of Toronto.
Bravado! is not your ordinary community choir. With its unique performance style of accessible music from across the globe, Bravado! offers its audiences a rare and unforgettable choral experience. Founded in 1996, this 34-voice auditioned SATB choir, under the leadership of long-time member and local musician Scott Boyer, presents an eclectic repertoire from traditional and sacred to jazz, pop and rock. All pieces are performed from memory, allowing the choir to be more interpretive and to better connect with the audience. The result is dynamic entertainment with a focus on musical excellence combined with the visual appeal of staging or choreography. Each year, Bravado! presents Christmas and spring shows, and also performs at private functions and fundraisers.
In its 46th season, the CCOC consists of six choruses for ages 3 to 19 and is the only permanent children’s opera company in Canada to regularly commission and produce operas for children. Led by renowned educator, conductor and opera singer Ann Cooper Gay, the company prepares young people for the vibrant world of opera by offering musical and dramatic training and professional experience. Members regularly perform with the Canadian Opera Company and other major professional organizations. Rehearsals are weekdays after school in the downtown area. Auditions are held May to June. A non-auditioned in- and after-school workshop program was launched in 2008 as part of the OPERAtion KIDS outreach arm of the CCOC.
Cantabile Chamber Singers is a choir of 16 to 20 voices founded in 2006 by artistic director Cheryll J. Chung. The choir performs eclectic and challenging repertoire spanning six centuries. We support living composers through new commissions and the performance of contemporary choral works. Last year the choir was featured in Chorus America's Voices magazine. We have participated at the Mondial Choral-Loto Festival in Laval, Quebec, where we were warmly received by audiences, the festival, participating choirs and clinicians. In July 2013, we performed at the bi-annual international Festival 500 in Newfoundland! Contact us for an audition as a singer, a soloist or to submit a newly written choral work. Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @CantabileTO.
Since 1996, the Cantabile Choirs of Kingston, under the leadership of Dr. Mark Sirett, have thrilled local and regional audiences in performances of a diverse range of choral repertoire from Canada and around the world at an unrivalled standard of performance. Over the years, Cantabile has grown to include seven choirs and over 250 voices. Cantabile provides musical education for choristers and audiences through this high standard of performance and quality choral literature. Cantabile’s choral season of five themed concerts, which often include invited guests of national and international acclaim, attracts a sold-out audience. In the fall of 2014, Cantabile launches its 19th season, “Postcards” – musical letters and notes from family, friends and loved ones, from home and far away. Join us!
Cantemus Singers, conducted by Michael Erdman, perform mainly renaissance and early baroque repertoire. Our 16-voice group gives equal time to secular and religious compositions of the period in a variety of languages. We present three programs a year, in late fall, mid-winter and spring. Although we are primarily an a cappella ensemble, we occasionally join forces with ensembles/players of period instruments. Our choristers are a mix of enthusiastic, well-trained amateurs and semi-professionals, all sharing a common interest in early music. Rehearsals are Wednesday evenings through the season at Morningside-High Park Presbyterian Church in the West End. Membership is by audition.
Cantores Celestes is an auditioned women’s choir celebrating its 26th season. Perform with the best instrumental musicians in Toronto! Repertoire includes medieval, baroque, romantic, classical-contemporary, Celtic, gospel, bluegrass and Eastern European music. The choir has released six CDs, has performed live on CBC Radio, has donated over $40,000 to charities and was featured in three ﬁlms. It has toured New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Ontario and New York City. Season concerts include June 7, 2014 (Perth On), December 6, 2014 and April 18, 2015. Auditions are held in May, June and August.
The Caribbean Chorale of Toronto, a registered, non-profit group established in 1993, has a membership of 40 representing several Caribbean islands. Our repertoire covers a range of musical styles. We have performed at a number of venues in the GTA, including at benefits for charitable organizations and fundraising events. We sponsor the Caribbean Children’s Foundation and the Sickle Cell Association of Ontario, as well as the Rosetta Batson Bursary, which assists students of Caribbean descent in pursuing tertiary education. We will be celebrating our September 2013 20th anniversary with a service and a gala in May, 2014. The Chorale welcomes new members, as well as sponsors of its work and ministry.