The TMC has been collecting music scores for most of its 125 year history and has one of the most extensive choral music collections in the country -- more than 400 different works, totalling over 50,000 scores.
History of the TMC
TMC History Tidbits — celebrating 125 years
We celebrated our 125th anniversary with a Gala concert on October 20, 2019 at Koerner Hall. And we took a look back at some interesting and quirky stories from our history – the music we’ve sung and commissioned, the places we’ve sung, the people and events we’ve been involved with over the years.
The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir was founded in 1894 by Augustus Stephen Vogt and has been part of the Toronto and Canadian choral scene ever since.
In our search through our history we've discovered a couple of acclaimed Toronto artists who were also singers in the TMC - Owen Staples and Herbert S. Palmer - and someone just shared with us a painting by our founder Augustus Vogt.
We are proud to be part of the careers of some of the new generation of choral conductors. In 2011 the TMC created the position of Associate Conductor to provide talented and world-class-potential choral conductors at an early stage in their career with coaching, training and mentoring. We've had four Associate Conductors to date.
Legendary Canadian actor and broadcaster Lorne Greene was narrator and MC for WWII fundraising and Remembrance Concerts in which the TMC performed.
This ad, from a 1939 concert program, is for a musician's typewriter. Look at the price - $70 in 1939 would be $1222 in 2019 dollars!
We were fascinated to learn that John McCrae attended our very first concert on January 15, 1895. Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD is best know for writing the famous war memorial poem In Flanders Fields.
In 1909 the TMC travelled to Chicago to sing three concerts with the Theodore Thomas Orchestra. The 228 members of the choir were brought to Chicago on two special Pullman trains of seven cars each, leaving Toronto Tuesday evening, arriving in Chicago Wednesday morning.
It's easy to add some TMC choral music to your day -- stream some of the music we've posted on YouTube. There are many videos and playlists to choose from - English Cathedral Greats to Christmas carols and music, to music by Canadian composers.
In the early years of the 20th century, the Choir brought a number of stellar American orchestras to Toronto for concerts, including the Theodore Thomas Orchestra of Chicago (which became the Chicago Symphony Orchestra).
A popular song performed by the TMC many times during its first years was Scots Wha Hae, a patriotic song of Scotland with lyrics by Robert Burns.
The founder of the TMC, Augustus Stephen Vogt, served as organist-choirmaster at Jarvis Street Baptist Church from 1888–1906, where his choir became known for its a cappella singing. In 1894, in founding the TMC, Vogt drew many of the choristers from his Jarvis Street Baptist Choir.