Welcome to The Canary Pages - The WholeNote’s 17th annual directory of Ontario choirs.

2408 CanaryCoverWe hope you’ll enjoy browsing these profiles where choirs introduce themselves, in their own words.There’s so much to sing about! Are you are new to the region, maybe a lapsed chorister looking to sing again, a chorister on the hunt for new challenges? Are you secretly thinking of joining a choir for the very first time? This is the perfect place to start your search. There are choirs that have been around for decades, and groups new to the scene. There are choruses of hundreds of voices, small chamber ensembles, children’s and youth choirs, auditioned choirs and those open to all, for every level of skill and commitment. Whether you want to sing or listen, there’s a whole rich world of choral music just waiting for you to discover and enjoy.

Missed the Canary Pages? If a choir you thought should be here isn’t, it’s not too late! Choirs are added year round to our online Canary Pages at thewholenote.com/canary. For more information contact canary@thewholenote.com or phone Karen Ages at 416-323-2232 x26.


PROOFREADING: Danial Jazaeri
WEBSITE: Kevin King

Click the cover to view our 2019 Canary Pages book, as it appeared in the May 2019 Issue, or browse profiles published in an online format below. For a complete list of all profiles, click here.

canary sitelinkMarg Cunningham

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Uxbridge Chamber ChoirThe Uxbridge Chamber Choir is an amateur SATB choir under the direction of founding conductor Tom Baker. Since 1983, the choir has brought unique performances of the great choral masterpieces, from the Renaissance to modernity, to the rural community of Uxbridge and the surrounding area. Together our enthusiastic singers develop and express their musical talents, often collaborating with local professional vocalists and instrumentalists. Recent performances include Tedesco’s Romancero Gitano, Beethoven’s Mass in C, Gjeilo’s Sunrise Mass, Mozart’s Requiem, Monteverdi’s Vespers, Bach’s St. John Passion and Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, Faure’s Requiem and Durufle’s Requiem.

Membership is by a non-threatening screening process at the first rehearsal. Rehearsals are Monday nights, September to May in Uxbridge.

canary sitelinkNykola Parzei

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Vesnivka Choir was established in 1965 by founding artistic director Halyna Kvitka Kondracki. This award-winning women’s ensemble has delighted audiences around the world with its rich repertoire of Ukrainian liturgical, classical, contemporary and traditional folk music. The choir’s regular concert season comprises three major concerts, one of which is its ever-popular annual Christmas concert. Vesnivka, together with its partner the Toronto Ukrainian Male Chamber Choir (TUMCC), are often accompanied by professional soloists and chamber ensembles of area musicians. Vesnivka also sings at Christmas and Easter Liturgies. Singers are welcome; rehearsals on Tuesdays, 7:30pm to 9:30pm (4 Bellwoods Ave., Toronto). Male singers are welcome to join TUMCC; rehearsals on Mondays, 7:30pm to 9pm (2445 Bloor St. W., Toronto).

canary sitelinkTaylor Sullivan

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The Victoria College Choir has been a fixture of the Vic community since the move to Toronto from Cobourg in 1892. Though it has seen many different forms and incarnations over the past century, musical life at Vic has been consistently dominated by the chorus. The present Vic Chorus was established in 1991 as a non-audition, community-wide chamber choir open to students, faculty, alumni, and staff. Our concerts are held regularly in the gothic setting of the Victoria College Chapel. Often involving various guest artists, these concerts present a wide range of choral musical selections, from classical to contemporary, global, operetta and more! We rehearse in the Goldring Student Building at Victoria College on Tuesdays starting at 5:15pm.

canary sitelinkJerzy Cichocki

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A past winner of the Canada Council Healey Willan Grand Prize, CBC Radio National Competition for Amateur Choirs, and one of Canada’s finest male choral ensembles, the Victoria Scholars treat audiences to a wide range of music, from Medieval plainchant and works from the baroque, renaissance and romantic eras through to contemporary and newly commissioned works from some of Canada’s best-known composers. Along with an annual three-concert series in Toronto, the Scholars have toured nationally and internationally, perform regularly with international vocal soloists, and have released five acclaimed recordings, including most recently in January 2016, Songs of Love. If you are an experienced musician with excellent sight reading abilities and would like to join us for the upcoming season, please contact us today.

canary sitelinkEllen Dowswell

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Village VoicesVillage Voices, a diverse, mixed-voice 70-voice community choir based in Markham, entered its 30th season in September 2018. Directed by Oksana Vignan, the choir presents two major concerts annually and sings at seniors’ residences and special community events, performing repertoire from the classics to contemporary music. Village Voices has collaborated with other Ontario choirs and as guest artists of instrumental ensembles such as the Markham Concert Band and the Kindred Spirits Orchestra. The choir’s musical skills are honed regularly through special workshops with outstanding choral musicians. “Joy of Singing” (May 4, 2019) is Village Voices’ 30th anniversary concert and features an eclectic repertoire, from the swing of “Moonglow” to the tenderness of “The Ground,” by Ola Gjeilo.

canary sitelinkCharlotte Burrage

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VIVA Youth Singers of TorontoVIVA!’s seven choirs for ages four through adult offer members the opportunity to achieve artistic excellence in a singer-centred, collaborative choral community, featuring youth mentoring programs and the TD Bank Group Inclusion Program.

VIVA!’s choirs include: the Preparatory Chorus (ages 4-6); the Junior Choir (ages 6-10); the Main Chorus (ages 9-18); the Senior Treble Chorus (ages 14-18); the SATB Chamber Choir (youth and adults); the non-auditioned VIVA! Community Choir (SATB) and the Everyone Can Sing (ECS) Chorus, for singers with disabilities.

This season VIVA! members have been exploring the relationship between singing, song-writing and wellness. For our 20th anniversary next season, we will explore the stories of Ovid’s Metamorphoses through an ambitious multi composer commissioning project.

canary sitelinkJenny Crober

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The VOCA Chorus of Toronto is a dynamic, auditioned ensemble that performs eclectic repertoire (including arrangements by our artistic director, Jenny Crober) in collaboration with some of Canada’s finest artists. Each season consists of two major concerts, a cabaret, two retreats (with guest clinicians) and community performances. Rehearsals are Mondays at Eastminster United (near Chester subway). On Saturday, April 27, we will present “Earth, Sea & Sky II,” a celebration of Earth Week, featuring Paul Winter’s Missa Gaia, Andrew Balfour’s Ambe, and works by Paul Halley, Matthew Emery, Sarah Quartel, Ola Gjeilo and others. Director: Jenny Crober. Accompanist: Elizabeth Acker. Guests: Alana Bridgewater, vocalist; Colleen Allen, sax; Shawn Grenke, organ; Roberto Occhipinti, bass; Mark Kelso, drums/percussion; Juan Carlos Medrano, percussion.

canary sitelinkRon Cheung

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Entering into the choir’s 24th season, Voices has firmly established itself as one of Toronto finest chamber choirs and it has received awards and recognition from across Canada. As part of the 2019-20 season, the choir will perform Britten’s Ceremony of Carols for our Christmas presentation in December, followed by our annual Lenten concert in March, and ending with a concert of music set to great poems and writings. To end our current season on Sunday, June 9, the choir will present a matinee concert featuring G. F. Handel’s Coronation Anthems and music by Joseph and Michael Haydn. Voices rehearses from September to June on Wednesday evenings from 7:30pm to 10pm at St. Thomas’s Church, 383 Huron Street, Toronto. Auditions are available throughout the year.

Wayne Gilpin

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Wayne Gilpin SingersBeautiful melodies, rocking sax solos, edgy new jazz arrangements of Handel’s Messiah – if any of this appeals to you, read on. The Waterloo-based Wayne Gilpin Singers is an auditioned (a singer-friendly audition, we promise!) chamber choir that sings a wide variety of music, including contemporary Christian, gospel, show tunes, spirituals and more. Resident composer/accompanist Andrew Gilpin pens unique arrangements for an ever-expanding Jazz Messiah, an annual event that twins Handel’s beautiful melodies with modern rhythms and musical styles. Also featured in concert are talented guest artists on bass, drums and saxophone, providing an unforgettable musical experience for both audience and choir.

canary sitelinkTaylor Strande

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We are a mixed-voice, secular community choir serving Roncesvalles, Parkdale, the Junction and surrounding communities. Our group performs 2 major concerts per season as well as guest appearances at other community events, such as Roncy Rocks and the Roncesvalles Community Tree Lighting Ceremony. Music is a mix of contemporary choral, folk tunes, and musical theatre, with a few pop tunes thrown in. Our vibe is fun and social, with a focus on community engagement and shared music-making. We have a mix of seasoned choristers and novices, and there are no auditions. We value the diversity of gender, age, race, ethnicity, ability, sexual orientation, gender identity, education, and political perspective and are open to all. Rehearsals take place on Monday evenings 7:15-8:45pm at Roncesvalles United Church.

canary sitelinkAllison Brown

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Windsor Classic ChoraleFounded in 1977 by director emeritus Richard Householder, the Windsor Classic Chorale has become a core component of the local arts community. Now under the direction of Dr. Bruce Kotowich, the Chorale continues to grow musically and to enjoy collaborations with many other local organizations and solo artists, performing at a wide variety of different venues throughout Windsor-Essex and beyond, including a performance at New York’s Carnegie Hall just last year. The choir is made up of teachers, librarians, administrators, lawyers and accountants. We are working professionals, busy parents and retirees. What brings us together is our love for choral music and the belief that it expresses the deepest parts of our humanity. We believe in using music to connect with each other and with our community.

canary sitelinkSandi Horwitz

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Yorkminstrels Show ChoirThe Yorkminstrels Show Choir is an SATB choir, founded in 1974 as an arm of The Yorkminstrels musical theatre company. We sing mostly Broadway music, with oldies, contemporary and seasonal songs added to the mix. With our repertoire, costumes and movement, the show choir has evolved into a unique group. We take entertainment into the community, doing occasional concerts throughout the season at seniors’ residences, and for condo/church/synagogue groups and fundraisers. Rehearsals are held on Wednesday evenings at Cummer Lodge in North York, from September through June. A simple audition is required; note-reading is not essential. We are a warm, fun-loving and welcoming group, so if you enjoy singing, learning harmony and performing, we invite you to join us!

canary sitelinkMark Oracion

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Experience the magic of music and release your child’s musical artistry through choral music! A unique musical education is offered to youth in the Durham Region in a supportive and challenging environment. Five distinct choirs include three non-auditioned ensembles for ages four to 14, an auditioned treble choir for ages 10 to 15, and an auditioned SATB choir for ages 14 and older. Repertoire which develops musical skills and vocal technique embraces all styles and genres and often includes choreography. In addition to winter and spring concerts and regular appearances; these proud choral ambassadors have enjoyed recent tours to Ireland and China. Young Singers was founded in 1992!

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