8 years ago

Volume 12 - Issue 8 - May 2007

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An intriguing and

An intriguing and delightful conversation Ihad recently got me thinking about the challenges ofmaking a living as an entrepreneurial musician withsomething to say in 2007.We tend to take our musical organizations -big and small - for granted and assume that theyare healthy and solid and will be with us forever.Yet, many of the leaders of these organizationsare subsidized, in a way, by institutions,thereby allowing them to do the important workthat they do with their concert-giving outfits.A perusal of the sensational WholenoteCanary Pages this month brings one into contactwith the plethora of choral organizations thatstrongly contribute to the cultural and spiritualwell-being of the Greater Toronto Area. And thestaggering fact is that the artistic leaders of mostof these organizations do it in their "spare time". -I first noticed the phenomenon of the churchorganist with a desire to lead a secular concertgivingoutfit back in the early 1980s, when Iwas a part of the Deer Park United ChurchChoir under William Wright. Having a first-rategroup of paid and volunteer singers in hischurch choir and a goal to perform the largerchoral works ofJ.S. Bach, William decided toform the Toronto Bach Society. On the eveningof the inaugural presentation of the first threecantatas of the Christmas Oratorio (with BenHeppner as the tenor soloist, no less), theaudience was lined up around the block to get inand the church was jam-packed with hundredsmore people than one would see at a Sundaymorning service.I spoke to Mary Legge, who is steppingdown as the dir.ector of the Penthelia Singers attheir 10th anniversary concert on June 3 at theGlenn Gould Studio. The choir has rehearsed andperformed at Mary's church- RosedalePresbyterian - for the past nine years. Mary tellsme, "At a recent Celtic Christmas concert of thechoir's, which was sold out, one of the peoplefrom the church looked at the crowd and said,'How do you do that?"'She goes on to say that the church hasalways been "very supportive," Pentheliarehearsal space and room for their library, andit's clear that she reciprocates that support byworking with young people in the congregationand by maintaining the handbell choir at thechurch, on top of being its paid organist and choirWholeNote CANARY PAGESWelcome to The WholeNote's fifth annual choral directory - the 2007 Canary Pages! something tocelebrate, as these pages overflow with an abundance of rich and varied choral programs. The short storiesof nearly 140 choirs are captured here and on our website. These stories traverse the Province, spangenerations, and encompass centuries of music and culture. Roughly 10,000 individuals are involved, in awide range of organizational and artistic roles, and most of them freely contribute their time and talents tomaking their music. And through it all, like a golden thread, runs an incredible dedication and commitmentto supporting local causes and charitable initiatives. These pages are a wonderful testament to theimportance of music in our community. Enjoy!Speaking of ChoirsBy l.Arry BeckwithMary Leggedirector.In the west end of the city at St.Wilfrid's Anglican Church, James Wellsplays the organ and leads the choir inSunday services. He has recently formed asecular choir called voxworks, thatperforms a program exploring therelationship between words and vocalensemble music on May 5 and 6.At the Church of St. Mary Magdalene(and Calvin Presbyterian Church beforethat), Stephanie Martin is in charge ofpreparing the music for weekly Sundayworship services. Her community choir, PaxChristi Chorale, gives two major concerts ayear and their performances pack GraceChurch on-the-Hill to the rafters.Wayne Strongman, a veteran opera andchoral leader in Toronto, has maintained anassociation with Rosedale United- Church,and been its organist and choir director formany, many years, in addition to his manyother duties and projects. John Tuttle'sExultate Chamber Singers make their homeat St. Thomas' United Church, and rehearseand perform there, almost as a communityoutreach project. They give a concert ofworks by Bach and Buxtehude at thechurch on May 11.Other examples of this phenomenon thatspring to mind are Brainerd Blyden-Taylor,who was associated years ago with St. Paul'sAnglican Church, and is now based at St.Timothy's. He now directs the celebratedNathaniel Dett Chorale, which gives a concerton May 25 at the George Weston Hall.The composer Eleanor Daley is another;she accompanies, writes music and is themusic director at Roselawn United Church.WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COMPaul Jenkins, mainstay of the Toronto Consortand ubiquitous harpsichordist and tenor soloistabout town, is the organist at BlessedSacrament Catholic Church.Noel Edison, director of the TorontoMendelssohn Choir-who give a performanceof Mendelssohn's Lobgesang on May 5 - andartistic director of the Elora Festival, has beenthe organist and choirmaster at St. John'sElora for many years, and is found there mostThursday nights rehearsing the church choirfor Sunday services.Becca Whitla can be found most Sundaymornings directing the music at the Church ofthe Holy Trinity and yet she and her husband,Alan Gasser, are active in many of the city'sprogressive choral groups, such as the EchoWomen's Choir, who give a special concert onMay 6 entitled Working in Harmony.So Mary Legge isn't the only churchorganist and choir director to found and directa "secular" choral organization by any means:We wish her well in her retirement from thePenthelia Singers, a special choir that formedout of alumni from the Claude Watson programat Earl Haig Secondary School, including thelikes of Michele DeBoer, Suba Sankaran andAlice Malach, who has been accompanying thechoir and is now taking over its directorship."I just jump at the words 'choral music',"says Mary. "They make my heart soar."Obviously, this is also the case with audiencemembers across the city, and this is a fact thatchurch leaders must recognize, as they supportand encourage their music directors to housesecular choir within the walls of theirchurches.This is a special month at WholeNote, withthe publication of the Canary Pages. Inaddition to what I have mentioned here, thereare numerous other exciting choral concertstaking place. I encourage you to search thelistings for the ones that appeal to you.Larry Beckwith has authored WholeNote sChoral Scene column since November 1997at which time he made it his mission· to"gently nudge WholeNote readers in thedirection of intriguing choral evenis in andaround Toronto ... [with}. .. one or two tripsbeyond the city limits from time to time. "MAY 2007

AcHILL CHORAL SocIETYACS is a mixed 85-voice communitychoir of accomplished amateursingers, under founding director A.Dale Wood, that delights audiencesin Alliston, Beeton, Caledon, Orangeville,Shelburne and Tottenham.Founded in 1982, the choir attractshigh calibre guests and accompanists.Extensive repertoire includesclassical and contemporary music,and tours have taken us to England,Holland and Ireland. 25th Anniversarycelebrations begin early November2007 with a spirited concertfor our troops and their familiesat Base Borden. In November,our Christmas concert series willpremiere a commissioned work byA. Dale Wood. Concert series: Novemberand April. Rehearsals:Wednesday evenings in Hockley.Auditions: twice annually.Jerry Black 905-880-8111jblack@routcom.comwww.achill.caALExANDER SINGERS AND PLAYERSWe started in 1987 as a summerchoir and under the enthusiasticdirection of Angela Hawaleshkahave evolved to enjoy near"professionalstatus; indeed, many membershave gone on to successfulprofessional careers. Under astrong educational mandate, membersgrow in their ability to sing awide variety of musical styles, frommasses and opera to spirituals, carolsand Hebrew songs. Our highlyacclaimed spring productions haveincluded The Merry Widow, DieFledermaus, Fiddler on the Roof,Most Happy Fella and G&S operettas.Rehearsals start in Septemberfor our December concerts. Allare welcome to join our FestivalChoir.Angela Hawaleshka 416-324-1259hawaleshka@sympatico.cawww.alexandersingers.comALL THE KING'S V DICESAll the King's Voices is a mixed~voice semi-professional communitychoir that sings works from awide variety of genres. Founder andconductor David King is assistedby six highly trained section leadsin providing professional leadership.Next season's concerts includeRequiems by Mozart andFaure (with orchestra), Joy to theWorld (carols from Worcester Cathedral)and Spring, The SweetSpring (featuring the music of StevenChatman). The choir rehearseson Tuesday evenings at WillowdaleUnited Church, 349 Kenneth Avenue.David King also offers vocaltechnique and sight singing coursesto any singers wishing to improvetheir skills.David King 416-225-2255allthekingsvoices@canada.comwww.allthekingsvoices.caAMADEUS CHOIRFounded 32 years ago, the AmadeusChoir is the I 00-voice, semi-professionalchoir-in-residence at the TorontoCentre for the Arts. DuringArtistic Director Lydia Adams'stwenty-two years as conductor,Amadeus has grown into one ofCanada's preeminent choral groups.Rehearsals are Tuesday evenings atChurch ofThe Ascension, 33 OverlandDrive, Don Mills. Membershipauditions are in May/June each year.The 2007/08 season includes theChoir's annual four-concert series,single performances, run-outs andrecording sessions, and featuresperformances of works by composerssuch as John Rutter, RuthWatson Henderson, Mendelssohn,Vaughan Williams, Arvo Part, PeterTiefenbach, Imant Raminsh andmore.Judith Young 416-446-0188amachoir@idirect.comwww.amadeuschoir.comANGEL CHOIR OF TORONTOA children's choir open to ages 8 to14 within the Chinese community,this is an independent non-profit organizationestablished in March2006. The choir mainly sings traditionalsongs with a positive, bright,and benevolent mood. The goal ofthe choir is to stimulate and enrichthe musical culture and to connectvarious other communities throughperformances. The Music Directoris Maestro Matthew Jaskiewicz,who has extensive experience inchoral and orchestra conducting.Rehearsals are Fridays 7-9pm at St.Timothy Catholic School, 25 RochelleCres, Scarborough.choirch@yahoo.cawww.angelchoir.caANNEX SINGERS OF TORONTOAnnex Singers of Toronto is a vibrantcommunity choir with a growingreputation for performing diver~eand exciting music. We present formalconcerts in December and earlyspring, and a light-hearted, themedcabaret at the end of May, as wellas community appearances. Wewelcome new members with abroad range of vocal experience.Rehearsals are held weekly on Mondaysat 7:30 pm at St. Thomas' AnglicanChurch Hall, 383 HuronStreet, beginning the second Mondayin September. The leadership ofDirector Maria Case brings a dynamicapproach to all of our repertoire.Richard Partington 416-968-7747margaret.rice@sympatico.caBACH CHll.DREN's CHORUS ANDBACH CHAMBER YOUTH CHOIRBCC is an auditioned choir of 180singers, founded in 1987 by ArtisticDirector Linda Beaupre, a wellknownToronto conductor and clinician.BCC has four choirs at differinglevels: three treble choirs forages 6-16 and an SATB choir forchanged voices and girls aged 16 andup. Choirs rehearse weekly in eastScarborough, perform twice yearcly at the Toronto Centre for theArts, and appear regularly at Torontoevents. Each choir participatesin weekend festivals, workshopsand concerts with otheryouth choirs and world-renownedclinicians. BCC has released foursolo CDs and won provincial andnational choral.awards.Jane Greenwood 416-431-0790bachchildrenschorus@bellnet.cawww.bachorus.orgBACH ELGAR CHOIR OF HAMIUONThe Bach Elgar Choir of Hamiltonis the leading symphonic choir inthe Hamilton/Burlington region andthe second-oldest choral organizationin Canada. The choir has performedmany premieres includingVerdi's Requiem, Hei:iry Gorecki'sMiserere and Ruth Watson Henderson'sThe Magic of God's World.This season the choir presented theCanadian premiere of JohannMichael Haydn's Missa in honoremSanctae Ursulae . Now enteringits 103rd year, the Bach ElgarChoir is celebrating a joyful newbeginning with its inspiring conduc-tor, Howard Dyck, and looks forwardto a fascinating and excitingfuture. For an audition call 905-527-5995 or send an email.Roberta Wood 905-52.7 -5995bachelgar@bellnet.cawww.bachelgar.comBACH FESTIVAL SINGERSBFS is a multi-generational ensembleof accomplished musicians dedicatedto choral singing as a sourceof musical inspiration, community-makingand social action. Withdistinctive repertoire conducted byArtistic Director Doreen Rao, theBach Festival Singers will serve asa chamber choir for the InternationalBach Festival under Principal GuestConductor Helmuth Rilling, as asymphonic chorus for selected performanceswith the TSO (includingthe St. John Passion in fall 2007) andin concert collaborations at the Universityof Toronto. Membership isawarded by audition. RehearsalsMonday evenings at the Faculty ofMusic.Vera Broekhuysen 416-978, TO BLUES CoMPANYThe Bach to Blues Company is aStouffville-based mixed voice choirdedicated to performing beautifulchoral music from a wide range ofperiods and styles. Proceeds fromconcerts go to charitable causes thatare often locally based. Since 1998,we have raised over ,000 forcharity. We are currently lookingfor additions to the alto, tenor andbass sections. Practices take placeevery Tuesday 7:30-9:30pm at theUnited Church, 34 Church Streetin Stouffville.Ann Gage 905~9-2684sing@bachtoblues.comwww.bachtoblues.comBELL' ARTE SINGERSCelebrating its 20th anniversary in2007 /08, Bell' Arte was founded in1988 by Dr. Lee Willingham and agroup of enthusiastic colleagues. The ·season generally consists of a threeconcertsubscription series togetherwith guest appearances with otherensembles. The choir has establisheditself in all genres of repertoireand styles through concerts,recordings, and broadcasts. TheBell' Arte Singers participate in specialbenefit concerts as well as donatinga portion of concert proceedsto charity. Rehearsals are held Sat-MAY 2007WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COMWhbleNote CANARY PAGES

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