Bringing singers together

For five Saturdays every season, beginning in our 1999/2000 season, the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir has been inviting those who love to sing, from across the GTA, to attend choral workshops where they can sing through major repertoire with guest conductors and members of the TMC. In addition to leading participants through a variety of music from great oratorios to opera choruses, our guest conductors share their insight into the music, discuss the composer’s artistic vision and give historic context for when the composition was created. Between TMC members, regular attendees and new participants, Singsation Saturdays usually attract about 100 singers at each session. A special treat at some sessions is hearing TMC professionals singing the solo parts.

The workshop participants come from all ages and backgrounds and represent choirs and singing groups from all over the city. Plus people who just love singing and enjoy the challenge of a morning of sight reading some of the most wonderful choral repertoire with professional conductors.

We do our best to bring in conductors that will cover a breadth of different musical traditions and a wide variety of composers. Here is a list of some of the works we have sung in the past few years of workshops:

  • Palestrina and Byrd Masses
  • Handel’s Israel in Egypt
  • Jenkins’s The Armed Man
  • Brahms’s German Requiem
  • Schubert’s Mass in G
  • Morten Lauridsen’s O Magnum Mysterium
  • Gilbert & Sullivan choruses
  • Rachmaninoff’s  Vespers
  • Derek Holman compositions
  • Traditional gospel and spiritual pieces
  •  A cappella jazz and traditional South Indian music
  • Choral compositions by Ruth Watson Henderson, Eleanor Daley and Lydia Adams
  • Opera choruses
  • Pieces drawn from the Judeo Hebraic tradition
  • Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms

Our guest conductors are a who’s who of top conductors in Toronto and beyond: Brainerd Blyden Taylor, Karen Burke,  Sandra Horst, Howard Dyck, Stephanie Martin, Giles Bryant, Mark Sirett, Kerry Stratton, Ivars Taurins, Patrick Wedd, John Tuttle, Ruth Watson Henderson, Ross Inglis, David Fallis, Kelly Galbraith, David Bowser, Mark Vuorinen, Caron Daley, Peter Mahon, Jurgen Petrenko, Jennifer Min-Young Lee, Hilary Apfelstadt, and more.

Singsation Saturday workshops are held at Yorkminster Park Baptist Church in Cameron Hall from 10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on five Saturdays throughout the season. The cost is $10 per person per session.  Scores are given out to everyone as they arrive and participants are encouraged to sit in their voice section. There is a break half way with refreshments which give participants a chance to meet the conductor and socialize with other choristers. All singers are welcome, hope to see you there! Visit our Singsation Saturday webpage for this season’s schedule.

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