HORAL SCENE BY lARRY BECKWITH A PLUG FOR us April means new beginnings for the organization Wlder whose banner I write this co!Wllll. As of April 1, the Onti!fio Choral Federation becomes Choirs Ontario, commencing a new chapter in its life as the arts service organization and voice of choirs and choral music lovers in the province of Ontario. On that date, we also move into a new office at 112 St. Clair Avenue West, Suite 403. (We will be , sharing that space with the Royal Canadian College of Organists). Choirs Ontario has a membership of approximately 360 choirs and 400 individuals across the provirice. Members receive our newsletter, Dynamic, and have access to oUr music library and considerable resource materials, including workshop grants. Perhaps most importantly, members' fees help to support tl1e valuable progranlllles and services Choirs Ontario provides. 1l1ese include the Ontario Youth Choir - this year conducted by London-area conductor Ken Fleet -and the Children's Choir Camp, whose conductor in 1999 will be Jeannette Steeves. Choirs Ontario· is a vibrant organization looking ahead to a bright future.' With a growing membership, we can only be stronger, so I invite all WholeNote readers who Jove and care about choral music to join Choirs Ontario and be part of a truly positive force in the city and the province. For more information, write to me at Choirs Ontario, ll2 St. Clair Avenue West, .Suite 403, Toronto, Ontario, M4V 2Y3, or e-mail me at email@example.com. Our website address is www.choirsontario.org. And our new numbers, after April I, will be (416) 923-1144 (phone) and (416) 929-0415 (fax). liEINruCHS HONOUR lsELER On April 7, the University of Toronto will rumo\Ulce the incumbent of the Elmer Iseler Chair in Conducting in the Faculty of Music. This position was created by the generous endowment of the Vern and Elfrieda Heinrichs Foundation. The Heinrichs are responsible for supporting Cru1adian choral music to the ttine of millions of dollars over the years. 1l1e Iseler Chair at U ofT will ensure a vibrant choral music progrrumne at Canada's largest atld most prestigious music school, as well · as celebrating Elmer Iseler, the man who did so much to build this co~try's choral scene. The University will also hpst a Tribute to Elmer Iseler on April 10, featuring the U ofT Symphony, MacMillan Singers, Iseler Singets and conductors Sir David Willcocks, Lydia Ad.runs atld Doreen Rao. 1l1e next day, Willcocks and Adruns lead tl1e · Iseler Singers in Great HY1m1s of the World. CONCERTS CATCHING MY EYE 1l1e following weekend, the Orpheus Choir continues its brilliru1t progrrumning with a concert entitled A Time of Fear, A Time of Peace, with music by Bloch and Haydn. 1l1e Amadeus Choir, conducted by Lydia Adruns, presents the rarelyperfonned Ha11del oratorio Solomon on April 18. 1l1is is one of Handel's most inventive and powerful choral works and Adruns is to be commended for tackling it. Oil the same evening, the Victoria Scholars present 1l1e French Connection with all sorts of great French, Swiss and Canadiru1music' for men's choir. April 24 is busy night for choirs. 1l1e Toronto Chrunber Choir, conducted by David Fallis, presents Songs of the Angels with glorious music by a whole range of composers from Hildegard of Bingen to Healey Willatl, including a new piece by Christos Hatzis. 1l1e choir will also be launching their new CD 1l1e Voice of My Beloved, which I happen to know is a very special recording. Cantores Celestes, directed by the effervescent Kelly Galbraith, celebrates tl1eir 1Oth aru1iversary with an abundance of guest perfonners. Pax Christi Chorale, conducted by Stephanie Martin, offers 1l1e Time of Singing atld All1l1e King's Voices sing gypsy songs by Braluns, Kodaly and others. HARRY SoMERS 1l1ere are many other choral e~ents happening in April (see Choral Quick Picks, below) but I wru1ted to touch on another matter: the music cmmnunity was saddened by tl1e death of Hany Somers, last month. There were many eloquent tributes and a memorial celebration is promised very soon. Choral music lovers must never forget the vitally important contributions tllat Somers made to tl1e repertoire atld I speak here not only of the · witty atld entertaining Five Songs of the Newfoundland Outports. I have noticed a slightly disturbing trend lately of many choirs somehow taking the easy way out when progrrumning contemporary Canadian works. Not that the Outports songs are not challenging or satisfying. I simply 'mean that there is so much more to Harry Somers than iliose clever ditties. I urge conductors to look up Kyrie, 1l1e Wonder Song, Gloria, Tirree Limericks, Crucifixion and a beautiful short motet God the Master of fuis Scene. 1l1ey may seem insurmountable at first, but so is all great, complicated music. Somers was a brilliant, deeply inspired composer atld it now falls to us to keep his memory alive. And a final note: the Yip's Children's Choir are sending a contingent to the International Choral Festival in China in August and are looking for participru1ts between the ages of 12 atld 18 to swell the rrulks. Interested choristers are asked to phone Hilda Cheung at 905-513- 0955 x228. Larry Beckwith is the General Manager of Choirs Ontario CHORAL QUICK PICKS April 02 4pm St. Paul's Choir 7:30pm Metropolitan Festival Choir and Orchestra 8pm St. Anne's Choir 8pm Toronto Mendelssohn April 03 _ 7:30pm 1 000-voice chorus 7 :30pm St. Christopher's Anglican Church Choir 8pm Guelph Chamber Choir April 09 7 :30pm Canterbury Cathedral Choir 8pm Mohawk College Singers 8pm University of Guelph School of Fine Art and Music Choral Concert April 10 8pm Elmer lseler Singers; University of Toronto Choirs 8pm Toronto Camerata April 11 3pm, 8pm Toronto Camerata 4pm Saint Andrew Chorale 7pm Elmer lseler Singers April 12 8pm Glenn Gould Professional TORONTo's ONLY COMPREHENSIVE CLASSICAL & CONTEMPORARY CONCERT LISTINC SOURCE School Choir April 15 2pm High Park Girls' Choir 7:30pm Choirs from Toronto District School Board April 16 7:30pm Annex Singers of TorontoNoices 8pll) Men of The Deeps April 17 3:30pm Tapestry Chamber 8pm Toronto Camerata 8pm John Laing Singers - 8pm Orpheus Choir of Toronto; Sidgwick Scholars; Temple Emanu-El Choir 8pm Penthelia Singers April 18 4:30pm St. Anne's Choir 7:30pm Amadeus Choir 8pm Victoria Scholars . April20 12:15, 8pm: Men of the Deeps April24 7:30pm Canadiim Orpheus Male 7:30 & April 25 3pm Toronto Children's Chorus, Training Choirs I, II, & Ill; Prague Philharmonic Children's Choir; The Alabama Boychoir; Ottawa Central Choir 8pm All the King's Voices 8pm Cantores Celestes 8pm Pax Christi Chorale 8pm Toronto Chamber Choir; Amadeus Chamber Choir April 25 2pm Etobicoke Youth Choir 7pm Elmer lseler Singers April26 8pr:n Men of the Deeps April 28 7pm Male Singers of South Ostrobothnia - JUSSI Choir; Veterans' Choir from Finland April 29 8pm Nathaniel Dett Chorale April 30 7:30pm Gentlemen & Boys of St. Simon-The-Apostle 8pm Gallery & Ritual Choirs of Church of St. Mary Magdalene April 30 & May 01 8pm Te Deum Singers May 01 7:30pm Oakham House Choir of Ryerson Polytechnic University 8pm Choir of Grace Church onthe-Hill May 02 2pm La Jeunesse; Hampton Avenue; Lachan; Contagious; Nathaniel Dett Chorale 4pm Gallery & Ritual Choirs of Church of St. Mary Magdalene 4pm Toronto Classical Singers May 03 8pm Metropolitan Toronto Police AssoCiation Male Chorus ' May04&05 8pm Centre Wellington Singers May 05 8pm RCM Repertory Chorus (Adult Community Choir) May 07 ·apm Exultate Chamber Singers 8pll) Toronto Mendelssohn Choir
Jmgles to vocal Jazz because it affects the pitch and was an obvious and highly therefore the blend." TI1e jazz satisfying one. From 1982 to harmonies demand precise 1984 shr had a group called intonation in order to really "Sing-co-op&" (pr. syncopate), resonate. "TI1e arrangement is which sang Gene Perling . also very important" she also arrangements. Then around 1990 points out. She let me hear she started to listen to Singers recordings of a couple of her own Unlimited and to Take 6, even recent arrangements, full of before their CDs became tantalizing harmonies, clever commercially available here. She counter melodies with even more wa~ so impressed by Take 6 that clever words and a relentlessly she sat with the CD and wrote out regular string-bass style bass line all the parts for one of the songs. that is sung. TI1en, at a party, she ran into TI1e sigi1ificance of the Words an old friend, arranger Jolm is something that Debbie has Herberman, and after they got been stressing more now than she talking about vocal jazz arrange- used to: "Ifl had been working · ment, they decided to get sqme with Noel [Edison] before our singers together to make a demo Christmas CD it would have been . of their arrangements so they different," she says. "Noel insists could sell them to a publisher. on understanding and bringing But rehearsals started to sound so out the meaning and significance good that they all--Fleming, of the words" she says of the new Herbennan and the singers-- conductor of the Toronto thought they should do something Mendelssolm Choir, of which she more. TI1ey applied for an has been a member for twenty- Ontario Arts Council grant, and five years. got it! TI1e result: the Christmas Jingle, vocal jazz chart with CD, "All I Want for Christmas", Hampton, an anthem at St. Patti's, released in October 1997. an oratorio with the Mendelssolm While vocal jatz isn't exactly a and the TSO--it seems she leams new art fonn - it got started in from everything she does. the 1940's in the U.S. with such Hampton Avenue plans to groups as the Andrews Sisters, make a second CD and to do the Mills Brothers and the more perfonning, including, they Modemaires - it has an intoxicat- hope, some touring. ing feeling of newness about it. It is no accident that it began in the big band era, because the voice parts sound like instnunental lines sung with words- big band music for voices. In fact Debbie says the way she leamed vocal jazz arranging was by writing out the "hom" parts for the Bill Beecroft Band, a wedding band that she sang with for many QUMS years. "I think of the voices as QUINTET homs" she cmmnented. TI1e John Edwards-theorbo instmmental quality of the writing coupled with the jazz vocal music of the hannonies, filled with 17th century dissonances that are generally either avoided or saved for key RedeeMER lurneRAN CHuRcH moments in most classical choral I b9J BlooR ST. W. music, makes it a very demanding genre for the singers. All the singers in Hampton Av.enue are (KEElE SubwAy) 0/$] SRS.OR srudENTS 9"j superb musicians and established professionals in the music , business. "Pitch is everything" Debbie says of what they do. "TI1e si11gers can't even use vibrato, Lydia Adams ConduCtor Monica Whicher Soprano Rebecca Whelan Soprano Catherine Wyn-Rogers Mezzo-soprano Albert Greer Tenor with full orchestra SOLOMON Oratorio by G.F. Handel (1748) Sunday, April18, 1999 at 7:30p.m. George Weston Recital Hall Ford Centre for the Performing Arts TICKETS and Tickets may be obtai'ned:by visiting the Ford Centre box office' or by phoni~~ ·TicketMaster at (416) 870-8000.