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Volume 9 Issue 4 - December 2003

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  • Toronto
  • December
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CHORAL SCENE · by Larry

CHORAL SCENE · by Larry Beckwith I remember as a kid I used to lie awake with the light of a street­ /amp streaming into my room doc ing the math once again and trying to figure out how old I'd be when the year 2000 cdme around. The 21st century seemed so far away at that point. But here we are - unbelievably - on the threshold of December, 2003, with choral concerts abounding once again in the city that loves to sing. Children's choirs, big choirs, gay choirs, chamber.choirs and smaller "consorts" all offer concerts celebrating light ·:.._ whether it's the birth of the Christ, light of the world, or the purification and rededication of the Temple of Jerusalem (Hannukah: festival oflights) or the possibility that lies before us at the Winter Solstice, the longest. night of the year. For one reason or another, year after year, this of view of several different cultures. The St. Nicholas theme continues on December 7 with a performance of Britten's cantata St. Nicholas by the VocalPoint Chamber Choir, with tenor Geoffrey Butler in the title role. Mark Bell's impressive Riverdale Youth Singers contribute the treble parts. Also on the 7th, the Musicians in Ordimiry team up with the Church of Redeember Chancel C\loir .to recreate a Venetian Christmas Vespers service from the 17th centu­ . ry, complete with instrumental, solo vocal and choral elements. And speaking of recreated Vespers services, .on December 12 and 13 the Toronto Consort and Toronto Chamber Choir present a service as it might have"been heard in composer Michael Praetorius' day, congregational warbling and all. is the month of singing; and for The Elmer Iseler Singers team up attending choral concerts and ap- with the Oakville Children's predating the miraculous sound of -Choir for a performance of Britvoices making music together. ten's A Boy was Born on pecember 12 and that same night, the man The Tafelmusik Chamber Choir with the long white beard, infecis busy in December, offering per- tious laugh and ample belly visits formances of Bach's Christmas the Exultate Chamber Singers. I Oratorio at the beginning of the mean Giles Bryant, of course, back month - 3 cantatas per night, with for another Giles- Christmas in additional chorale settings by ear- Tales, where he will regaie the lier German composers .: and Han- audience with Christmas readings,

WALK OF FAME The case for Elmer Iseler by Alison Roy Dr. Elmer Iseler was a pioneer in the world of choral music. It is through his perseverance and devotion to professionalism in choral music that professional and community choirs are flourishing in Canada. He had the knowledge and expertise, fifty y:ears ago, to found the Festival Singers of Canada in 1954, the Ebner Iseler Singers in 1977,, to lead the TorontO Mende~hn Choir beginning in 1964 and bring a professional core to it in 1967. A staunchly proud Canadian, he traveled extensively to every part of Canada, believing that all communities should enjoy the live choral experience, sharing the same sound and enthusiasm with small communities in northern Ontario or British Columbia or Saskatchewan that he took to larger audiences in the United States, Asia and Europe. He brought Canadian content and promoted Canadian composers to foreign ears. He was an educator and coached young conducting students at universities on choral techniques but also on finding their own "voice" in conducting. He is History. It is through his devotion to choral music that this year we are celebrating 50 years of professionalism in choral music in Canada. It is too easy to forget our past, our beginnings and to take for granted pioneers we should acknowledge for making our own achievements possible. His funeral was one testimony to his legacy. He had been involved in the choral world since 1954. He died in 1998. ThecongregationatStJames Cathedral in Toronto was at capacity seating for the funeral. One thousand voices strong, forty four years of trained professional . singers that had all been touched by Elmer as a choral conductor, sang the.hymns in four part harmony and with every nuance that Elmer had once instructed. The police led a large procession of cars from Toronto to his beloved Caledon hills· for the burial. A funeral fit for the ambassador of choral music. Now there is another opportunity to acknowledge him. There is an ongoing petition to have a star on Canada's Walle ofFame presented posthumously to Dr. Elmer Iseler in recognition of his contributions to choral music in Canada, and professionalism in choral music in North America. On the eve of the fiftieth year of his transforming achievement, now is the time! Ifyouareachoral singer, young or old, you· are probably in a choir because of the influence of Dr. Elmer Iseler and probably don't realize it. Visit the Walk of Fame website at www .canadaswalkoffame.com before December 31 which is when nominations for 2004 will close, Add your name to the growing list of supporters of Canadian choral music who honour Dr'. lseler's legacy. Alison Roy is a member of the Iseler Singers and a music teacher with the Toronto District School Board. Her mother, Janet Roy, was a member of the first Festival Singers Choir formed in 1954. Dave Snider Music Centre 3225 Yonge St. PH (416) 483-5825 eMail: snide'rmusic@snidermusic.com www.snidcrmusic.com / One of Toronto's Oldest Music Stores .. , ·With The Best Selection of Pop, Jazz & Broadway Sheet Music in the city I \ - For Beginners aud Professio11als - Come in and browse over 25,000 sheet music publications. We have a wide array of Woodwind, Brass, Keyboards, Guitars and Accessories. Music Lessons offered on site. DECEMBER 1 2003 - FEBRUARY 7 2004 WWW, THEWHOLENOTE.COM by Jason van Eyk After a peak of activity in November, the new music community is taking a small break this December, allowing just enough time to prepare for a full concert calendar in January. In this December/January double-bill, Composer Companions highlights five upcoming new music events, all of which showcase great Canadian musical talent, whether composer or peiformer, or both. As always, we encourage you to attend with one of our accomplished local composers as your own personal concert guide. Waite~ Buczynski Early in December Chrylark Arts & Music presents Canadian composer and pianist Walter Buczynski in a solo piano recital. On December 7th at the Heliconian Hall, Bilczynski will perform a mixed programme ranging from Bach to his own Autumn Collection - 24 Preludes. Like R. M•may Schafer, Buczynski celebrates his 70th birthday this year, with this concert marking the first of many planned throughout the season to celebrate some of his best compositions. For more information, or to purchase tickets, call 416-651-9380. In the middle of the month, The Hannaford Street Silver Band brings in the holiday cheer with a concert that includes original Canadian festive works and classic carols arranged by Canadian composers. On December 16th at St. James Cathe- Gary An Toronto's Center for Clarinets and Oboes SALES * REPAIR * RENTAL dral, the Canadian Children's Opera Chorus and guest conductor Richard Bradshaw will join Hannaford for this annual Christmas celebration. Come sing beloved carols , in great arrangements by Godfrey y , Ridout, Morley Calvert, Howard ·· « Cable and more. A special holiday treat will be the world premiere of Canadian conductor and composer Bramwell Tovey's new Magnijicat for band and choir. For more information, visit their website at www .hannafordband.com or call 416-366-7723. Heading into the New Year, Toronto's new music presenters seem to be saving the best for last, as one dynamic vocal recital and two minife~tivals heat up the cold late-January nights. First, on January 29th at the Jane Mallett Theatre, Music Toronto presents stellar new music soprano Barbara Hannigan and equally talented pianist Linda Ippolito in a prograll1Jlle ranging from the 20th-century modern to a completely brand new work. Hannigan and Ippolito will perform a wide range of songs from Szymanowksi, Schoenberg, Ligeti, Vivier, Andriessen and Ives, as well as give the world premiere of James Rolfe's Six Illuminations based on the poetry of Rimbaud. ' Rolfe composed this song cycle expressly for Hannigan when she was having difficulty finding Canadian repertoire to match the rest of her ambitious programme. Moreover, this world premiere marks a thir- CONTINUES ng Woodwinds Ltd. .,d 1612 Queen Street West (east of Ronccsvallcs)

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Volume 25 Issue 7 - April 2020
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