Transported: New Ears Respond to Sacred Music in a Sacred Space

As a first time choral concert-goer, I truly did not know what to expect walking into St. Paul's Basilica that Wednesday evening. I was immediately taken aback by the beauty of the church, however it was soon taking second seat to the beautiful music of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir.
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Categories: 2015-2016 Season, Media Reviews, and New Ears Project.

Toronto Mendelssohn Choir Soars!

David Richards, Ontario Arts Review. Good Friday at St. Paul’s Catholic Church was the perfect day and place for a concert by the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. The choir made wonderful use of the church’s magnificent acoustics, not to mention the elaborately decorated sanctuary. The concert of sacred music in such beautiful surroundings, on this special day, made the spirits soar. If Good Friday was meant to send a message of peace, hope and love to mankind, then the Mendelssohn Choir was an inspirational messenger.
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Categories: 2015-2016 Season and Media Reviews.

TMC announces two pop up concerts for 2016

The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir invites Torontonians to take a musical break during their work-day. Members of the Choir, led by Grammy-nominated conductor Noel Edison, will perform 20-minute a cappella performances in two interesting downtown spaces: Brookfield Place and the Ryerson University Student Learning Centre.
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Categories: 2015-2016 Season and Media Releases.

Toronto Mendelssohn Choir takes on Haydn’s magnificent Creation, April 27th

“Haydn’s music is the sorbet of life. It’s fresh – not over-played, not over-worked” says Artistic Director Noel Edison of his decision to program Franz Joseph Haydn’s The Creation this season. The TMC performs this work, with orchestra and guest soloists, at Koerner Hall on April 27th.
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Categories: 2015-2016 Season and Media Releases.

Some Habits Are Hard to Break

Some Habits Are Hard to Break   When you’ve spent your life in pursuit of excellence in choral music, the habit can be difficult to kick. Indeed, many TMC Alumni don’t want to. Alumni member Janice Schuyler Ketchen, however, has taken her choral habit to a new level, in her new home in Port Dover. Having begun her choral music career in 1979 in the Ontario Youth Choir, Janice subsequently spent over 30 years in the TMC as a chorister and Board member. She recalls incidents from many TMC tours that she helped organize, including half of the Choir missing the Dover ferry to Belgium in Europe in 1980 and trying to cross the Austrian/Czech border as a choir from Canada during the SARS outbreak in 2003 (they eventually did). From 2012-15, she was an active member of the Alumni Singers. So when Janice moved to the charming Niagara-area village Port Dover last year, she was not prepared to give up her choral lifestyle, but she hoped to avoid commuting back to a big city to do so. While there were several choirs within an hour’s drive of her home, Janice hoped for something a bit closer to home. It turns out that she was not the only member of her community looking to make choral music closer to home. Flyers posted on bulletin boards, in the library, at grocery stores and at the post office garnered Janice 35 singers all of whom had moved to the area from larger centres, and all of whom missed their choral music days. This was a far cry from the eight or so voices Janice had hope to attract for score-reading and wine sipping, but with this many good singers–many of them former music teachers and professional performers, including Bruce Arthur, another TMC alumni member–what else could she do but form a choir? With these 35 singers from all over Norfolk County, the Lynn Valley Voices rehearses weekly on Wednesday evenings at Trinity Anglican Church in Simcoe. Since forming last fall, the fledgling choir has performed its Christmas program at local seniors’ centres and nursing homes, and was featured at the opening of the Lynedoch Arts Centre. They have also won first place awards in the recent Norfolk Musical Arts Festival in two categories: Community (SATB) Choir and Community Choir (Treble voices). The choir’s repertoire includes excerpts from some of the major oratorios
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Categories: Voice and Winter 2016.

From the Executive Director’s Desk – Winter 2016

Welcome to the March issue of Voice of Mendelssohn. This month, we features stories on three individuals from our community; alumna, chorister and emerging conductor. The stories are heartwarming as they illustrate the impact that the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir has had on their lives; in one case challenging a young conductor to greater achievement, in another, sharing the gift of choral music with others, and in the third, inspiring a chorister to make a gift to inspire young composers in their creativity.
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Categories: Executive Directors Desk, Voice, and Winter 2016.

The Debbie Fleming Prize for Choral Composition

When Debbie Fleming joined the TMC in 1956, she was hoping to improve her sight-singing skills. But over her 40-years in the Choir, she gained much more than that! “It wasn’t long before the incredible music that we sang, from Bach to Stravinsky, seeped into my heart and soul, and made the choir into one of the most joyful experiences of my life,” she says, ” The friends I made, the great musical moments written by the masters and singing with the Toronto Symphony were just a few of the things I loved about the TMC.”
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Categories: Voice and Winter 2016.

Returning to the Classics and Conducting Under a Microscope: Camaraderie, Choral Music, and Canadian Beer

Returning to the Classics and Conducting Under a Microscope: Camaraderie, Choral Music, and Canadian Beer There comes a point in the career of a musician when the classes are over, the degrees are earned and the work becomes the inevitable focus of our professional lives. The decision to continue learning in any capacity rests solely in our hands. It is comforting to know that when that decision is made, there exists a program such as the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir’s Choral Conductors’ Symposium. Along with four peers of impressive and vastly varying skills, I had the great privilege to be accepted to participate in the Symposium. From local and abroad, we gathered for the week, sequestered for long days of score analysis, in-depth discussions, humbling rehearsals, and a general geek-out over choral music, choral recordings, choral conductors, choral festivals …. While the latter may only appeal to a select few choral music devotees, for my part, it was a revitalizing homecoming. My graduate work at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Music had been firmly planted in choral/orchestral conducting; however, my current work is as a musical director for live theatre and music theatre education. I have retained associations with a few local “classical” choirs, but the chorus I conduct is a member of the Barbershop Harmony Society and requires an entirely different approach to music making than any organization with whom I’ve worked. I mention all of this simply to state that as someone who does not spend their time in “classical” choral music, the welcome I received from my fellow participants, Maestro Edison, and TMC team was staggering. I was exactly where I needed to be. The deconstruction began without haste – each of us bringing to the table unique experiences that shaped our current method of music making (otherwise expanded as: the analysis, the gesture, the rehearsal, and the performance). The atmosphere was gracious; ideas being shared without judgment or one-upsmanship. The real “fun” occurred during the rehearsals, first with the Elora Festival Singers and later with the entire TMC. Like a loathed cough medicine, the systematic attention given to one’s faulty techniques is distasteful to the core. Being laid to waste in front of former classmates and peers – people with whom you’ve shared grand stages, people who have been under your baton at some point, people you have split tipsy cab rides home with after performances
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Categories: Voice and Winter 2016.

Winter 2016 Voices from the Choir

At the core of the TMC community, of course, are the 132 choristers engaged in championing choral music in Canada. We talked with a couple of them about what the TMC community means to some of them, how they came to join us, and how they connect with their choir community.
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Categories: Voice and Winter 2016.