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.

Thousands of scores share office space with TMC staff

Thousands of scores share office space with TMC staff

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.

Singing painters

Singing painters

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.

Associate Conductors – Where are they now?

Associate Conductors – Where are they now?

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.

Lorne Greene, TMC & WWII

Lorne Greene, TMC & WWII

Legendary Canadian actor and broadcaster Lorne Greene was narrator and MC for WWII fundraising and Remembrance Concerts in which the TMC performed.

a music typewriter

a music typewriter

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!

John McCrae attended our first concert

John McCrae attended our first concert

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. 

TMC travels to Chicago in 1909 in style

TMC travels to Chicago in 1909 in style

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.

Enjoy TMC selections on YouTube

Enjoy TMC selections on YouTube

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.

Scots Wha Hae

Scots Wha Hae

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.

Jarvis Street Baptist Church

Jarvis Street Baptist Church

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.