Sacred Music for a Sacred Space: a special concert for a special day!

David Richards, Toronto Concert Reviews. The lights dimmed at St. Paul’s Basilica bringing a hush over the capacity audience and suddenly heavenly a cappella sounds began wafting down from the balcony in the rear of the church. Since 2007, the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir has made it a tradition to present a concert of music appropriate for Holy Week in one of the most beautiful churches in Toronto on one of the Christian church’s holiest days, Good Friday. As the choir began to sing, I squelched the temptation to look back; looking upward at the colourful ceiling paintings of the life of Paul was as far as I dared turn my head. I was transfixed in the moment. The words of Behold the Tabernacle of God reinforced the feeling that I was in a ‘sacred’ space.
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Categories: 2017-2018 Season and Media Reviews.

Grammy-nominated Toronto Mendelssohn Choir leader recalls brush with Lady Gaga

David Friend, The Canadian Press Noel Edison didn't expect to rub shoulders with Lady Gaga when he attended the Grammy Awards for the first time, but the chorus master at the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir couldn't resist the opportunity when it arose. At the glitzy celebration for the 2010 awards in Los Angeles, Edison found himself standing near the "Bad Romance" singer. So he stuck out his hand and introduced himself. "(I) said, 'Look, I want to congratulate you — I think you've got a unique sound and a unique approach to this modern-day popular culture,'" he recalls. "We had a nice chat with her big thugs standing around. We had a little vodka together, so that was fun." Edison didn't win the Grammy that year, but he'll have another chance on Sunday as he vies for best choral performance with his choir and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. The Toronto performers share a nomination with British conductor Sir Andrew Davis for his daring take on Handel's "Messiah," which throws in new elements that elevate the composition's theatrical flair.
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Categories: 2017-2018 Season and Media Reviews.

The Art of Honing the Next Great Musical Communicators

Brian Chang, ludwig-van Toronto. The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and Elora Singers under Artistic Director Noel Edison host Connor Doran (Rochester), Alexandra Grabarchuk (Los Angeles), Trevor Kroeger (Cincinnati), Virginie Pacheco (Montreal), and Daniel Parsley (Cincinnati) for the annual Conductors Symposium January 23-27. Free Concert Saturday, January 27, 3 pm, Yorkminster Park Baptist Church, Toronto. “Conducting is a lonely profession,“ said Noel Edison, Artistic Director of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and the Elora Singers, ”[the symposium] is a shot in the arm for conductors.” 2018 marks the 8th year Edison has run this unique conducting program out of Toronto, bringing some of the finest emerging conductors to Toronto from across North America and immersing them in the full artistic and administrative process of successful choral music.
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Categories: 2017-2018 Season and Media Reviews.

Halls Brings TSO Messiah Brilliantly Into Focus

Arthur Kaptainis, Ludwig Van Toronto. In the age of sexed-up and dumbed-down Messiahs, it is good to be reminded how utterly self-refreshing Handel’s masterpiece is when addressed by the right personnel under a conductor with something to say. Such were the conditions that prevailed Monday in Roy Thomson Hall, where Matthew Halls led the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and a crack quartet of Canadian soloists in through a performance that could fairly be called electrifying.
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Categories: 2017-2018 Season and Media Reviews.

The enduring high note of Handel’s Messiah returning in dual Toronto productions

John Terauds, Toronto Star. No one expects a stopgap to turn into a masterpiece. But that’s what happened to George Frideric Handel when one of his collaborators, Charles Jennens, handed him some texts to set to music. Messiah has, since its premiere in Dublin at Easter time 275 years ago, become one of the best-loved pieces of classical music in the English-speaking world. Toronto is no exception, becoming a virtual shrine to Messiah at this time every year. The city’s two flagship orchestras — the Toronto Symphony Orchestra on modern instruments, and Tafelmusik Orchestra on historical ones — present multiple performances every December. The two-hour oratorio, either in part or whole, is also heard in churches, cathedrals, schools and community concerts from the city core to rural villages.
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Categories: 2017-2018 Season and Media Reviews.

Toronto Mendelssohn Choir marks the beginning of the holiday season with glorious sounds!

Dave Richards, Toronto Concert Reviews. For the eighteenth consecutive year, the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir has begun its hectic December schedule of performances with its Festival of Carols. The cathedral-like Yorkminster Park Baptist Church was festooned with twenty-five foot high Christmas trees at either side of the chancel, lit with thousands of sparkling lights. The sounds of the TMC, organist David Briggs, the Canadian Staff Band of the Salvation Army, and the Canadian Children’s Opera Company was glorious. This was indeed the beginning of a month of great music, celebration and festivities. From the opening bars of Bob Chilcott’s arrangement of the Sussex Carol, the energy of the choir’s rhythmically charged singing was joyfully uplifting.
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Categories: 2017-2018 Season and Media Reviews.

Performers Also Work Extra Holiday Hours: Noel Edison, Conductor

Liz Parker, Classical 96.3 Blog. Q: The holidays can be a lot of fun for the fans who love to be entertained – but it’s a lot of fatigue for the performers. What is the hardest thing about performing over the holidays? Be honest. Noel: To be honest, I actually enjoy performing over the holiday season. When you conduct so many choirs, there is so much variety in what you are doing, you never get bored! Now, all the programming that has to happen in October ….that’s tedious!
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Categories: 2017-2018 Season and Media Reviews.

Meet a Member: Anne Longmore, Toronto Mendelssohn Choir

Mike Rowan, Chorus America. Toronto Mendelssohn Choir director of marketing and community outreach Anne Longmore has an unusual dual career—college professor and arts administrator, thanks to a big move. “I worked for a year and a half in Dubai with my family, and taught some marketing classes at Canadian University Dubai where my husband was working,” recounts Longmore. “When I came back to Toronto, I wanted to work in the arts, but also look for an opportunity to teach part-time.” She teaches at Humber College, which offers a post-graduate certificate program in public relations, in addition to her work with TMC. After obtaining her master’s in arts administration and working for some of Toronto’s large cultural institutions, Longmore was happy to combine her personal passion for singing and working for an arts organization that makes a difference in society. She also increasingly enjoys opportunities to lead seminars and webinars where she can share practical advice for those just starting out with a stretched budget or staff. Says Longmore, “I love to help other professionals understand how to make the ideas that you read about actually happen.” Longmore spoke to Chorus America president and CEO Catherine Dehoney about trends in marketing and arts administration programs in our latest edition of ‘Meet A Member.’
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Categories: 2017-2018 Season and Media Reviews.

Toronto Dominates Classical Music Nominees At The 60th Annual Grammy Awards

Michael Vincent, Ludwig Van Toronto. The 60th annual Grammy Awards have announced the complete list of nominees. This year, three Toronto artists/presenters represent the only Canadians nominated over the 10 classical music categories. Soprano Barbara Hannigan is nominated for in the Best Classical Solo Vocal Album category for her 2017 album release, Crazy Girl Crazy featuring music by Gershwin, Berg & Berio with Orchestra Ludwig. The Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Toronto Mendelssohn Choir are both nominated for last year's recording of Handel’s Messiah with Andrew Davis, (conductor) Noel Edison (chorus master) and soloists: Elizabeth DeShong, John Relyea, Andrew Staples & Erin Wall. TSO Messiah album producer, Blanton Alspaugh, also has a nod for producer of the year.
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Categories: 2017-2018 Season and Media Reviews.

The Toronto Symphony Remembers…

Jeff Mitchell, Toronto Concert Reviews. (T)he Toronto premiere of an hour-long work entitled Afghanistan: Requiem for a Generation, by Vancouver-based composer Jeffrey Ryan, with text by Canadian poet Suzanne Steele, who spent time with the Canadian Light Infantry in Afghanistan between 2008 and 2010.  Her “observations of a Canadian battle group’s road to war and that of their loved ones, before, during and after war”, as expressed through her vivid and graphic poetry, set the stage for the dramatic and visceral music composed by Ryan.  The work is written for orchestra, vocal soloists, as well as adult and children’s choruses. Each of the soloists were exceptional, singing music that was not as lyrical or melodic as one often hears in a requiem but that was, at turns, percussive, violent, plaintive and emotionally raw, even at its quietest moments.
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Categories: 2017-2018 Season and Media Reviews.