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Volume 13 - Issue 7- April 2008

Choral Sceneby Allan Pu

Choral Sceneby Allan Pu IkerThe arrival of spring brings with it the results of a winter of workby a multitude of choirs. That there are twenty-five choral concertslisted in all of April and sixteen in the first week of May is indicativeof the crescendo in choral activity at this time of the year and ofwhat to look forward to in the May listings. The forty-one concertslisted in this issue, nevertheless, contain an astonishing variety ofmusic, ranging from the Tallis Choir's May 3 program of musicfrom 16th and early l 7th Century England, to All the King's Voices'all-Chatman contemporary Canadian program on April 26, to theArt of Jazz Community Voices with jazzman Jon Hendricks on April24, with a great deal in between.Within this plethora of wildly diverging programming, however,there are connections asserting the fundamental unity of music andthe unity of the impulse to bring the air around us to life with vibration.The Creation, for example, Franz Josef Haydn's great contributionto the choral repertoire, was composed late in life during asojourn in England, the country of Byrd, Weelkes, Gibbons, Tomkinsand Dering, (whose compositions, written two centuries earlier,are on the Tallis Choir's May 3 program).The Creation is listed three times in this issue: April 13 inBrantford with the Grand River Chorus and the Brantford SymphonyOrchestra, May 2 and 4 in Toronto with the Toronto MendelssohnChoir and the Toronto Classical Singers respectively. Thelatter two concerts take place across the street from each other -May 2 (Mendelssohn) at Yorkminster Park Baptist Church and May4 (Toronto Classical) at Christ Church Deer Park (the size of thetwo choirs, amusingly, mirroring the scale of the two churches).The tenor soloist on May 4 is Lenard Whiting, who on April 13will be conducting his own choir, Ensemble Tryptych ChamberChoir, in a program of English choral music, Intimations of Immortality.And the conductor of All the King's Voices, mentionedabove, is David King, who, besides being a conductor, is also along-time member of the bass section of the Elmer Iseler Singers.He will therefore be performing in the April 12 TSO New CreationsConcert of the music of Messiaen. Since he is also a member of theAmadeus Choir, he will be singing with that organization on May 3.Returning yet again to the Tallis Choir, its conductor, Peter Mahon,is also a member of the Tafelmusik Choir, which is performingMozart's Requiem beginning on May 7.I wrote last month about the departure of David Fallis and hisreplacement in the Toronto Chamber Choir by Mark Vuorinen. (Myapologies, by the way, to Mark for misspelling his last name in theprevious column.) I have just learned that yet another veteran choralconductor, Lee Willingham, isleaving his choir, the Bell'ArteSingers, which he founded twodecades ago. On May 3 the choiris presenting a combination 20thanniversary celebration and farewellconcert.We owe the strength of our choraltraditions here, at least inpart, to people who have comehere from other countries withstrong choral traditions. One ofthese is Wales; on April 12 theToronto Welsh Male Voice Choruswill sing in a fundraiser atSt. Barnabas Church on DanforthA venue, and on April 20 theBurlington Welsh Male VoiceChorus will perform as guests ofthe Weston Silver Band. TheVesnivka Choir, an all-womenBOSLEYREAL ESTATEOOSm' ""' ESTATE LTD., r.E,CTORPETER MAHONSales Representative416-322-8000pmahon@trebnet. cornwww.petermahon.comChoral on a grand scale: Toronto Mendelssohn Choirensemble, which ably represents the Ukrainian choral tradition, willbe joined by the Torontonian Ukrainian Male Chamber Choir in aconcert of Ukrainian folk songs on April 13 . On April 11 and 12the Toronto Danish Choir and the Toronto Swedish Singers will joinforces in a program that combines European art music with Scandinavianfolk music.I was pleased to see how many children's and young people'schoirs are listed in this issue. The York University Men's Choirgives a noon-hour concert on April 2, three University of Torontochoirs perform with the High Park Choirs on April 5, the BachChildren's Chorus is in Newmarket on April 6, and over a thousandchoristers and instrumentalists from Toronto schools perform atMassey Hall on April 10. Also performing this month and early nextmonth are the Guelph Youth Singers and the Georgian Bay Children'sChoir on April 26, the Amabile Youth Singers with the GeraldFagan Singers and Fanshawe Chorus London on April 27, theGrand Philharmonic Children's Choir on May 3 and the Bach Children'sChoir with the Amadeus Choir on May 3.The Elora Festival Singers, one of two local professional chamberchoirs, has a busy month ahead with performances on April 20in St. Catharines, April 25 in Elora and April 27 in Toronto . Theirprogram for at least the second and third of these concerts will becompositions by Brahms, Schubert, Schumann and Reger, challengingrepertoire that might be described as choral lieder.A wonderful winter's worth of effort, indeed.MUSIC DIRECTOR OPPORTUNITY!The Scarborough Bel Canto Choir is looking for a MusicDirector, effective September, 2008, to build on the strong platformestablished by our recently retired founder, John Watkins. The choir,established in 1993, is a 40-member strong SATB group with a lovefor a wide range of repertoire, from Broadway tunes to choral classics.We perform two concerts per year, one in early December, andanother in early May. The Christmas concert is typically a mix oftraditional Christmas music and popular seasonal fare, while"anything goes" for the spring concert. Rehearsals run fromSeptember until early December, and then from January throughearly May. They take place Tuesday nights from 7 :30 p.m. to 10:00p.m. al St. Nicholas' Anglican Church, near Warden Ave. andKingston Rd. in the south-west corner of Scarborough.We're looking for an enthusiastic, experienced Music Director whocan both embrace our traditions and take us along some new roads.Formal credentials are welcome, but if you're a "natural" with a moremodest music education background, we'd like to hear from you too.If you'd like to learn more about joining our choral community,please give David Ramsay a call al 416-703-5749 and/or email aresume to dsramsay@rogers.com. www.belcantochoir.com18 WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COM APRIL 1 - MAY 7 2008

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