Exchange: A day of choral community workshops



February 3, 2024 from 10:00AM – 6:00PM
Yorkminster Park Baptist Church

Please join the TMChoir and others from the Toronto choral community for a day of interactive workshops, masterclasses and lectures on a variety of topics centred around choral music, vocal music and musical community building. Facilitators come from across our choir communities and musical community.

This one day event will include events for every choral music enthusiast, from the armchair music fan to active choral singers of every level. All are welcome!

We’re pleased to host this event in partnership with our friends from Pax Christi Chorale and the Orpheus Choir of Toronto.



10:00am – Full group with keynote presenter Tracy Wong
11:00am – Workshops begin
1:00pm – Lunch break
2:00pm – Workshops continue
5:00pm – Full group with keynote presenter Tracy Wong





Workshops – Topics & Speakers

Keynote presenter

Dr. Tracy Wong, Composer-in-Residence

We are so pleased to announce that choral conductor, music educator, composer, vocalist, and pianist Tracy Wong will lead participants through her newest composition.


Demystifying Conducting

Jean-Sébastien Vallée, Toronto Mendelssohn Choir Artistic Director

Join TMChoir Artistic Director Jean-Sébastien Vallée to explore the artistry and craft of choral leadership with our workshop, “Demystify Conducting.” This session is designed to unravel the complexities of conducting, offering participants a comprehensive understanding of the conductor’s role. Through interactive discussions and practical activities, participants will gain insight into the conductor’s techniques, gestural communication strategies, and the collaborative dynamics that shape a choral performance.

Explore Chinese Choral Repertoire

Elaine Choi, Pax Christi Chorale Artistic Director

Come for a reading session and explore the rich history of Chinese choral music with Pax Christi Chorale Artistic Director, Elaine Choi. As a group, we will sing through some repertoire by Chinese composers, learn about Mandarin & Cantonese choral diction, and understand the brief history of choral tradition in Asia.

Listening and Community Building through Improvisation

Thomas Burton, Orpheus Choir of Toronto Artistic Director

Choristers will explore different free improvisation techniques in order to expand their ability to connect with their fellow singers in rehearsal and performance. Emphasis will be placed on one on one connections between participants, pitch and melody memory, and the importance of risk taking.

Mindfulness for Singers

Lindsay McIntyre, DMA

How can we sing together more mindfully? In this workshop, TMSinger Lindsay McIntyre will discuss mindfulness and its benefits for musicians, music performance anxiety (MPA) and its root causes, transformational examples from participants in her recent research study, and practical tools and exercises for participants to incorporate mindfulness activities into their own musical practice.

Building your Choral Toolbox

Emily Parker, Professional Chorister and Conductor

Join TMChoir Musical Assistant and TMSinger Emily Parker as you strengthen your skill as a choral musician by expanding the tools you have at your disposal. Learn shortcuts to better sight-reading, the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), diction onsets and offsets, how to utilize subdividing, effective and efficient note-taking, and more.

Alexander Technique for Choristers

Paul Genyk-Berezowsky, Certified Teacher of the Alexander Technique

Would you like to uncover greater vocal freedom and ease, but old habits seem to hold you back? In this workshop,under the guidance of Alexander Technique Teacher, TMChoir Musical Assistant and TMSinger Paul Genyk-Berezowsky, you will begin practising a process for developing greater self-awareness and presence in the moment of performance (and rehearsal, practice, etc.). We will explore singing as an activity of the whole self. Discover strategies for sitting/standing through long rehearsals/performances and take home practices you can use to help promote greater ease of movement in daily activities.

The Global Chorister

Nicholas Nicolaidis, Professional Chorister and Conductor

TMChoir Musical Assistant and TMSinger Nicholas Nicolaidis has been a chorister across the globe, from South Africa to Canada. Learn about navigating the singing tools required to be able to participate in and contribute towards the art of choral singing in a new country or environment, no matter where you go.

The Anatomy of “Blend:” Vowels and Vocal Colours

Jordan Scholl, Speech Language Pathologist

Vowels are the primary colours of the voice. When we understand their composition and how they interact with the sounds and spaces around them, we can learn to create our own unique vocal colours and even “colour match” with singers around us. In this workshop, we’ll explore and practise how vowel sounds are created and how to use an understanding of vowel shapes to our advantage as choral singers. Whether the goal is to blend, to stand out, to project, or to soften, we’ll discuss the tools needed to feel more confident and in control of the art we make with others.

Jordon Scholl

Connecting Through Our Musical Selves

Hannah You, Accredited Music Therapist

Why do we sing? Music therapist Hannah You will guide you through all the elements of music that help us to connect to the music and share this connection to our musical selves with our audience.


For TMCommunity

Lesley Emma Bouza, Community Engagement Coordinator

While completing her degree in saxophone performance at the University of Guelph Lesley discovered the potential of her singing voice and has never looked back. She then went on to study voice at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama before returning to Canada to become an active Toronto based musician. Some of Lesley’s career highlights include Lesley Sings Joni, a Joni Mitchell tribute concert, Steve Reich at 80 with Soundstreams, Dido and Aeneas at Carnegie Hall with Les Violons du Roy, and a tour of Taiwan as a member of the Swingle Singers. In addition to being a busy performer, Lesley is an accredited music therapist.

Read Lesley’s full biography.

Lesley Emma Bouza

Justin Jalea, Community Engagement Advisor

Human rights activist, conductor, and JUNO-nominated tenor, Justin Jalea is an internationally sought-after consultant for projects that seek positive social change through the arts. In his dual role of musician/activist, Justin has collaborated with organizations such as Americans for the Arts, the National Guild for Community Arts Education, the Young People’s Chorus of New York City, and the United Nations. Justin is a seasoned choral artist having sung with professional choirs throughout Canada and the United States, including the Canadian Chamber Choir, the Choir of St. Andrew & St. Paul, Pro Coro Canada, Luminous Voices, and the Choir of Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York.

Read Justin’s full biography.

Justin Jalea