8 years ago

Volume 3 Issue 8 - May 1998

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  • Toronto
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  • Choral
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  • Musical
  • Yonge

?' 1 r~~ · HORAL

?' 1 r~~ · HORAL liAPPENINCS AND HIGHLIGHTS BY LARRY BECKWITH ~ Dr. Elmer Iseler - a tribute I am happy that choral music-making continues apace right through the month May, with many exciting events happening all over the city all month long. Our Choral Quick Guide on the right hand side of this page is as always a short cut to the extensive choral component in WholeNote's concert [stings. And as always we urge you to get out to as many concerts ·as you can. [lather than devote this page to recommending choral concerts to attend, this month, I want to take the opportunity to pay tribute to the memory of Dr. Elme'r Iseler, · who passed away April 3 at his home in the Caledon Hills. Elmer Iseler 'Yas a great figure in Canadian choral music and we in Toronto were lucky that he chose to make this city his home base. The local press regrettably down-played his long and distinguished career, choosing rather to focus on the occasional controversy that swelled up around him years ago. Elmer began his career teaching music in various Toronto high schools in the 1950s and early 1960s. He founded the Festival Singers, Canada's first professional choir, in 1954, giving concerts at the Stratford Festival in 1955. The choir quickly developed a strong relationship with the CBC and was heard often on the radio. A defining moment for Elmer and the choir - and indeed choral music in Canada - came with their connection with Igor Stravinsky. They contributed fo an 80'h birthday celebration in 1962 and Stravinsky was so impressed that he chose the choir to record some of his choral works in 1965 for CBS Qater SONY Records). These recordings are of a very high quality and we can all be proud of a fortuitous and timely coming-together pf composer and. performers. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s the Festival Singers toured North America and Europe extensively. They commissioned ahd premiered dozens of important new Canadian compositions, many of which have attained the status of "classic". For various reasons Iseler left the Festival Singers in 1978 and formed the Elmer Iseler Singers which continued Iseler's tradition of high quality musicmaking, most especially in my memory with their thrilling performances at the Sharon Festival in the 1980s. From 1964-97, Iseler was the conductor of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and gave countless fine performances of the pillars of the choral repertoire, from Bach to Penderecki. Iseler~s talent was formidable and his energy and passion were always apparent. At his magnificent funeral St. James Cathedral on April 7, it was refreshing to hear· stories of Elm er Iseler, the human being: hockey fan, grandfather, fisherman, gardener. Clearly, he made a difference in many people's lives, and he certainly furthered the cause of choral music in this country in a great way and for this we will always remember him. In Ezra Schabas' fascinating biography of Sir Ernest MacMillan, Elmer Iseler is quoted as saying that he wouldn't be · "swinging a baton if it wasn't for the great knight of Canadian music." In many respects, Toronto's finest choral conductors - including Lydia Adams, Jean Ashworth Bartle, Robert Cooper, Noel Edison, David Fallis and countless others - owe a debt to Elmer for a certain amol!nt of "paving" that he did, preparing the way for another generation of baton-swingers, by setting such a high standard for choral performances. It is my sincere hope that Elmer be remembered for his musicianship, vision and dedication, and that any wounds that have been inflicted by the untimely actions of a few bureaucrats not diminish or fracture in any way the strong, united choral community that we enjoy in this city. A special celebration of the life of Elmer Iseler will take place at St. Patrick's Church in Toronto on May 8 at 8 p.m. Call 483-5549 for details and tickets. The Ontario Choral Federation's Choral Carnival is a day-long event on May '30, including concerts, workshops, reading sessions, the Leslie Bell Competition for choral conductors, games, food, and much more. Please call me at 363-7488 for more information. Larry Beckwith is the General Manager of the Ontario Choral Federation Choral Quick Guide •May 1 8pm: Exultate Ch. Singers •May 2 7:30, May 3 3 :00! Toronto Children's Chorus •May 2 8pm: All the King's Voices •May 2 8pm: Oakville Choral Soc. •!\(lay 2 8pm: Oriana Singers •May 2 8pm: Toronto Chamber Soc. •May 3 3pm: Amadeus Chamb. Sing. •May 3 3pm: Echo •May 3 3pm: Penthelia Singers. •May 3 3:30: Music at St. George's •May 3 4pm: Tor. Classical Singers •May 3 4:30: Music at St. Ahne's •May 3 7:30: Victoria-Royce Choir •May 4 8pm: lstituto ltaliano di Culture/Association •May 5 7:30: Amadeus Choir & Harlandic Male Voice Choir, Belfast •May 8 7:30: Niagara Children's Chor. •May .8 8pm: Elmer lseler Singers •May 8 8pm: Sacred Music Society Choir & Etobicoke Symphony •May 8 & •May 9 8pm: St. Cyprian's •May 9 7p'm: Vox Finlandiae •May 9 7pm: Polish Canadian Society •May 9 7:30: Peel Choral Society •May 9 7:30: Tor. Welsh Male Voice · •May 9 8pm: Beii'Arte Singers •May 9 8pm: Burlington Civic Chorale •May 9 8pm: Concertsingers •May 9 8pm: Darbazi and Friends •May 9 8pm: Pax Christi Chorale •May 11 12pm Amadeus Choir •May 14 7:30: Donaghadee Male Voice Choir & York Regional Police •May 17 3pm: Ensemble Quivis •May 17 4:30: Mu,sic at St. Anne's •May 20 7pm, 21, 22, 23 8pm, 24 3:30: Tafelmusik · •May 20 7:30: Toronto Choristers •May 23 7:30: Bach Children's Chorus & Bach Chamber Youth Choir •May 23 7:30: Tor. Welsh Male Voice .Choir & Mississauga Children's Choir •May 23 8pm: Brampton Fest. Singers •May 24 2pm: Les AMIS •May 24 7pm: Bloor St. Utd Church Choir, Bloor St. Gospel Chorus •May 25 8pm: Jewish Music - Toronto /Eimer lseler Singers •May 29 7:30: Etobicoke Youth Choir •May 29 8pm: Toronto Camerata •May 30 2, 8pm: Canadian Singers. •May 30 7:30: Tor. Welsh Male Voice •May 30 8pm: Aradia •May 30 8pm: Etobicoke Centennial •May 30 8pm: Tallis Choir •May 31 3pm: RCM Children's Choir •Jun 2 8pm: Jewish Music- Toronto •Jun 3 8pm: Toronto Choral Society •Jun 5 8pm: Orpheus Chqir, Toronto •Jun 6 8pm: Toronto Camerata •Jun 7 2pm: Tor. Children's Chorus •Jun 7 3pm: Toronto Camerata •Jun 7 3pm: Choirs of the Church of St. Mary Magdalene. •Jun 7 7:30: Amadeus Choir •Jun 7 7:30: Celebration Of Praise Concert of gospel music, Ben Heppner, tenor; 380-voice choir including members of Toronto area churches and All The King's Voices TORONTO'S ONLY COMPREHENSIVE MONTHLY CLASSICAL & CONTEMPORARY CONCERT LISTING SOURCE

The £/mer !se/er Singers The Elora ~he King's Stngers lncnn'"' Friday July 24, 1998 The Centre at Triniry--St. Paul's 427 Bloor Street West, Toronto 8:00p.m. llckets: S30 each + BST Avalable at: Tbe Sound Poat 93 Grenville Street, Toronto (4181 323-1838 EL~ RA FESTIVAL AC~N(.'OM! : ~·;t~•n ! ! O( (•I•' U> f TORONTO For more information on the concert, or to order tickets, please call ( 416) 483-5549 TORONTO'S ONLY COMPREHENSIVE MONTHLY CLASSICAL&< CONTEMPORARY CONCERT LISTING SOURCE

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