It Runs In Families – Winter 2015

It Runs In Families We often talk about our TMC family in a figurative way, and to be sure, the Choir is a pretty close-knit community. The figurative TMC family extends not only to choristers and staff, but also to the extended circle of family members, alumni, subscribers, donors, and audience members who support our music. An impressive number of members of our figurative choir-family share their TMC experience with members of their real-life families. At the moment, the TMC membership includes Andrew and Joel Slonetsky, father and son, respectively; sisters Lynne and Erin Smythe and Catherine and Julia Barber; and husband and wife Tim and Katherine Reibetanz. Chorister Barry Clegg is the only member of his family currently in the TMC; however his entire family has been associated with the choir in one way or another. Barry is married to Leslie Cooper, who is an active member of the TMC Alumni; his daughter Alison sang in the TMC for a couple of years, and daughter Joni performed with the TMC as a member of the Toronto Children’s Chorus and sang with the TMYC for a year before moving away. In fact, it’s possible that there wouldn’t be a Clegg-Cooper family if it were not for the TMC. Recounts Barry: My wife Leslie and I became family because of the TMC! Twenty years ago, we were assigned to the same TMC Valentine’s Quartet. The Quartets were a fund-raising venture based on Debbie Fleming’s clever arrangements of romantic words and music (e.g. the “How-I-love-ya Chorus”). Leslie and I had been in the choir for years without knowing each other, but after we sang for a few Valentine’s Quartet clients, the Valentine magic turned itself on us. Yet more TMC families can be found among the TMC alumni. Marjorie Wiens, a longtime TMC member took some time off from her TMC involvement when her daughter Jennifer Taverner was little. Marjorie says that she should have known that Jennifer would someday be involved: “I was pregnant with her at the time of a Beethoven’s Ninth performance at Massey Hall. I guess the vibrations from the orchestra and choir prompted her to kick her way through every performance. You might say she became a singer that week!” (Jennifer notes that she has heard this story a lot). Years later, in 2003, having been back in the TMC for a while, Marjorie found herself at
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Categories: Winter 2015.

Symposium 2015: Emerging Conductors Join the TMC Community – Winter 2015

Symposium 2015: Emerging Conductors Join the TMC Community The middle of winter, after the holiday season, traditionally affords few opportunities for joy or mirth. In the world of choral music, it’s often a fallow time: exhausted from the relentless good cheer of the holiday concert season, many secular choirs will not see another performance until the spring. So the final week of January is the perfect time to invite five emerging conductors to wintry Toronto for an intensive week of workshops and rehearsals culminating with a free community concert. This year marked the fifth annual Choral Conductors’ Symposium. Participants came from all over North America, from Toronto to Wyoming, and worked closely with Noel, the Elora Festival Singers, and the TMC. Conductors arrived with a variety of backgrounds and learning goals. The Symposium is a project dear to the heart of Noel Edison, TMC Artistic Director. It’s rare, he says, for emerging conductors to have the opportunity to work with choruses of this calibre, and it’s nice to come together for intense weeks. Noel’s hope, he says, is to instill in the Symposium participants a new dream of where excellence can lie. The fundamental points that Noel emphasizes are the intensity of the work, the demands of the scores, the professionalism of the ensembles, a sense of sharing with others and of benefiting from the experience of a master clinician. There is no note-teaching at a Symposium rehearsal: he chooses repertoire from the TMC library that choristers may have encountered before or can sight-read during the week of rehearsals. Susan Farrell, of Edmonton Alberta, brought an impressive resume and unique background: among her many conducting engagements, Susan, is the Artistic Director of the Braille Tones and Semitones choirs which serve adults and children with special needs in Edmonton. Christopher Dent, of Grove City, Ohio recently completed two years as Interim Director of Music at Broad Street Presbyterian Church in Columbus, Ohio, and was conductor of the University Chorus at the Ohio State University—Marion campus. With a background in trumpet, Christopher received his Master’s in Choral Conducting from Ohio State University. He arrived with some pretty specific goals, in addition to a desire to work with the choirs and Noel: Knowing the artistic reputation of the TMC and Elora Festival Singers and more specifically, Noel, I felt that this would be a symposium that I would be able to learn much
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Categories: Winter 2015.

From the Executive Directors Desk – Fall 2014

On October 15th the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir celebrated its 120th anniversary. Soloists, choir, orchestra, and TMC supporters new and old came together to celebrate one of the longest-serving choral organizations in Canada. Think about it – when the TMC was formed, Toronto’s population was around 200,000; church spires dominated the skyline and paddle steamers filled the harbour. Massey Hall had just opened, and the Evening Star, a precursor to the Toronto Star was just a few months old.
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Categories: Executive Directors Desk and Fall 2014.

Whats Coming Up – Winter 2015

Whats Coming Up February 2015 Saturday, February 28, 10:30 am Singsation Saturday Conductor, Tony Browning conducts the Brahms Requiem. Yorkminster Park Baptist Church, 1585 Yonge St. More information March 2015 Tuesday, March 10 & Wednesday, March 11 7:30 pm  Passio Church of the Holy Trinity 10 Trinity Square More information Wednesday, March 11 5:30 pm Pre-Concert Dinner Trios Bistro Restaurant in the Eaton Centre Marriott Hotel 525 Bay Street $35 Alumni/$45 TMC Community Members Phone Kimber (416-598-0422, ext 221) to reserve a place. April 2015 Friday, April 3 7:30 pm Sacred Music for a Sacred SpaceSt. Paul’s Basilica 83 Power St. More information Saturday, April 18 10:30 am Singsation Saturday Conductor Timothy Corlis will conduct his own works.Yorkminster Park Baptist Church, 1585 Yonge St.  More information Monday, April 27 5:00 pm Pop-up Concert: Creating Secular Sanctuaries Brookfield Place 181 Bay St, Toronto Wednesday, April 29 1:00 pm Pop-up Concert: Creating Secular Sanctuaries Toronto Reference Library 789 Yonge St., Toronto TMC Events Calendar
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Categories: Winter 2015.

Celebrating a Heritage of Excellence – Fall 2014

For a living, growing, vibrant institution, a significant anniversary represents an occasion to not only celebrate the past, but also consider the present and future. For its 120th Anniversary Concert the TMC paid tribute to its heritage of excellence with a stunning classical concert, TMC Conductor Trading Cards, and a party with cake for all. But we didn’t just look backwards: our live webcast of this concert, and a pre-concert fund-raising reception demonstrated the TMC’s commitment to a legacy of changing lives through beautiful choral music.
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Categories: Fall 2014.

A History in Logos – Fall 2014

Administrative and Box Office Manager Kimber Jonah assembled all of the logos the TMC has used over its history. Can you match the logo to the year it was introduced?
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Categories: Fall 2014.

Measuring our Impact – Fall 2014

If you were at the TMC’s opening Mozart and Haydn concert, you received a bright orange card in the concert program asking you to complete an online survey about your concert experience. This survey is part of a two-year 21-choir intrinsic impact research project being conducted by Chorus America and managed by the respected arts research firm WolfBrown. The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir is the only Canadian choir participating in this North-America-wide project.
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Categories: Fall 2014.

The New Ears Project – Fall 2014

The critics who review our concerts and audience members who take the time to tell us how they liked us are often “classical music people”: experienced aficionados of Classical music, who know what to expect from a concert. We love these people, and cherish them, and we feel that we have a pretty good idea of how to make concerts an enjoyable experience for them. Attracting new audience members presents a challenge for any classical music ensemble, but especially for an ensemble whose performances typically run only one evening.
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Categories: Fall 2014.

The Mighty Rhino Reviews the TMC’s Mozart and Haydn performance – Fall 2014

It’s not difficult to understand why even longstanding and tremendously accomplished choirs like the TMC occasionally worry about how to appeal to new generations of patrons; classical music is pigeonholed in the culture as a niche pursuit with an aged, lily-white target audience. But the labels are largely unfair, and with performances this inspired and beautifully put together, it’s hard not to have hope for the future.
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Categories: Fall 2014.

Voices from the Choir – Fall 2014

Voices from the Choir We asked choristers about their connection to the TMC’s heritage of excellence. Ngaio Potts, Soprano Susan Worthington, Alto Sam Broverman, Tenor Barry Clegg, Bass Ngaio Potts, Soprano How long have you been in the choir? Two years, but this is actually my second time in the choir. I first joined the choir the same year Noel did and sang with the TMC for four years the first time. How did you come to join the TMC?   I always loved the pieces that the TMC was performing and wanted to get back involved in singing great choral works. I was jealous of sitting in the house listening vs. being up there with everyone. How would you describe your connection to the TMC’s heritage of excellence in choral music? Being involved in music and part of a choir has always been a big part of my life. I grew up singing in choirs like the Ottawa Youth Choir and the Ontario Regional Youth Choir. I left home to get a music degree, then came to Toronto where I joined the TMC the first time. There is something about singing with the TMC that brings choral music to another level—the professionalism and the speed at which we work is exciting. How would you describe the TMC’s musical legacy? The TMC has such a rich history that I feel it has become an institution in the city that we should all be proud to be a part of. The choir is not only known across Canada but around the world for the caliber of the singing. I think it is important that we work together to keep choral music, and the TMC, going strong for generations to come. Choral music can be inspiring, emotional and powerful; the TMC lets people experience a range of emotions, to be moved by the music. The streaming of selected concerts is helping to get the TMC out there by letting more people nation-wide experience the joy of choral music. Are there (or have there been) any times when you feel especially connected to a tradition of music making in the TMC? Can you describe those times?   For me it is the holiday concerts. The festival of carols and the tradition of singing the Messiah with the TSO really make me feel like we are part of something bigger. So many people incorporate
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Categories: Fall 2014.