Association of Canadian Choral Condutors

Association of Canadian Choral Condutors

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

CHORAL CONCERT, with host Peter Togni Sunday, March 31, 2013 9:00 - 11:00 am, (9:30 - 11:30 NT) on CBC Radio 2

Johann Sebastian Bach is considered by many to be the greatest composer of all time in the western classical music tradition. So in honour of his incredible output the month of April is all Bach on Choral Concert.

This Sunday, March 31st we begin the month one day early with a Choral Concert Easter Sunday tradition: a performance of J.S. Bach’s great Mass in B minor. This year we are featuring a concert recorded in Toronto just this past Saturday with the Elmer Iseler Singers and the Amadeus Choirs of Toronto under the direction of Lydia Adams.

The B minor Mass is noted by scholars as one of the greatest masterpiece of western civilization. It certainly is the culmination of a lifetime of extraordinary work by one of our most respected composers, and this week’s performance is truly extraordinary and not to be missed.

Don’t forget that CBCMUSIC.CA has lots to offer for classical music lovers, You can check out the Choral Concert blog and the 24/7 choral stream plus extensive videos and concerts in all genres.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

CHORAL CONCERT, with host Peter Togni Sunday, March 24, 2013 9:00 - 11:00 am, (9:30 - 11:30 NT) on CBC Radio 2

Choral Concert celebrates the Renaissance

The Renaissance is considered one of the most extraordinary periods in history for choral music. Some of the most beautiful and luminescent music of all time comes from the pen of the renaissance masters.

On this week’s choral concert, Peter Togni will bring you some of the finest performances on disc from this period – with music by Palestrina, Monteverdi, and ThomasTallis.

The centerpiece of the show will be devoted to a new release by the Sixteen, one of the world’s finest choral ensembles, led by Harry Christophers.

Don’t forget that CBCMUSIC.CA has lots to offer for classical music lovers, You can check out the Choral Concert blog and the 24/7 choral stream plus extensive videos and concerts in all genres.

Friday, March 15, 2013

CHORAL CONCERT, with host Peter Togni Sunday, March 17, 2013 9:00 - 11:00 am, (9:30 - 11:30 NT) on CBC Radio 2

A little bit of St Patrick’s day and a lot of Beethoven

This week on Choral Concert you’ll hear Peter Togni  give a tribute to St Patrick’s day, as well as an incredible performance of the great Missa Solemnis by Beethoven in a brand new release with the Collegium Vocale Gent and the Orchestra des Champs-Elysees conducted by Philippe Herreweghe.

On the St Patrick’s day side of things you’ll hear some beautiful Irish music from the Dublin based Anuna, led by Michael McGlynn, as well as the Newfoundland Symphony Youth Choir led by Susan Knight doing an Irish tunes medley by Stephen Chatman.

On the Beethoven side of things you will hear the wonderful Missa Solemnis. This major work of the sacred repertoire, high on the list alongside Bach's Mass in B minor and the Mozart Requiem, is Beethoven's longest work and even he considered it his finest. Conductor Philippe Herreweghe shares this opinion and judges the Missa Solemnis to be one of the great works in the history of classical music. With four superb soloists, a refined chorus and orchestra, Philippe Herreweghe leads us all to a thoroughly transcendental experience.

Don’t forget that CBCMUSIC.CA has lots to offer for classical music lovers, You can check out the Choral Concert blog and the 24/7 choral stream plus extensive videos and concerts in all genres.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Atlantic Voices Choral Composition Contest 2013

Atlantic Voices: The Newfoundland and Labrador Choir of Ottawa is a mixed-voice (SATB) community choir that sings music from and about Atlantic Canada. This is our third Choral Composition Contest, and the choir is looking for quality choral music with an East Coast flavour. We are offering two prizes, a 1st prize of $500 and a 2nd prize of $200, for original choral works by Canadian composers. The winning works will be programmed on Atlantic Voices’ Spring 2014 concert. This competition is open to all residents of Canada, of all backgrounds and all ages. Note:
the winning entrant need not have a particular connection to the Atlantic region.

Contest submissions must fall into one of the following categories:
  • An arrangement of a folksong or set of folksongs from one of the Atlantic Provinces (Newfoundland & Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, or Prince Edward Island);
  • An original choral composition based on a text with an obvious direct connection to Canada’s East Coast. This may include a text by an East Coast writer or a text with Atlantic Canadian subject matter. If in doubt concerning the suitability of a proposed text, please contact for clarification.

All styles of composition will be considered, but one of the judging criteria is the suitability of the work for performance by Atlantic Voices, so entrants are encouraged to familiarize themselves with our choir and particularly with some of our recent concert programmes. In addition, although all submissions will be accepted and adjudicated equally, entrants are strongly encouraged to avoid submitting new arrangements of songs which have already been repeatedly arranged for choral performance or songs which Atlantic Voices has previously performed on multiple occasions. For a list of choral arrangements that Atlantic Voices has performed please visit our website:

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Sh*t Choristers Say: An Interview with the Vancouver Cantata Singers


A calmness falls over the Vancouver Cantata Singers as they prepare to sing their first note. A unison breath is taken, the word “Silence,” emerges, sung with a breathy intenseness.

*an iPhone horn ring tone goes off*

The Vancouver Cantata Singers erupt into laughter as the conductor hops off her stool, apologizes, and silences her iPhone. They laugh but refocus as soon as their conductor returns to signal the downbeat.

The fluctuation between concentration and humor is a natural cycle within the Vancouver Cantata Singers rehearsal. There is a comedic ease and energy amongst the singers and this is reflected in their sound. It was evident as they rehearsed Kristopher Fulton’s 2007 composition for the group, “Promethesus,” where musical lines build rhythmic momentum to a frenetic climax. After finishing a performance of the Brahm’s Requiem the past weekend, I joined them for their Wednesday night rehearsal where they sight-read music for their upcoming concert. On the surface, the Vancouver Cantata Singers appear like any other semi-professional mixed choir. However, they have another social media claim to fame, their viral “Sh*t Choristers Say” video released in January 2012. To this date, the video has almost 250,000 views on YouTube. Following rehearsal, I spoke with Missy Clarkson, Vancouver Cantata Singers Soprano and Board Vice-President, along with Kristopher Fulton, Vancouver Cantata Singers tenor and local Vancouver composer, to get their thoughts on the video.

It all began on a Monday night. Missy reminisces about the start of the project with energetic fervor, as she was discussing the popularity of the memes and “Sh*t ______ Say” videos while at a local Ethiopian restaurant. She realized that there needed to be one done for choristers. “We have to do it. We have to do it now,” she realized in order to capitalize on the social media popularity. Missy began brainstorming quotes and she immediately began video recording quotes at home. However, Missy and Kristopher emphasized that the video was a Vancouver “Cantata Singers project” because choristers stayed after Wednesday night rehearsal and provided “inside jokes that could be applicable to other choristers,” Missy reveals. While working in her day job as a hairdresser and editing the video clips between clients, Missy was able to release the video on Thursday afternoon, which meant the 4 minute video was produced in only 2.5 days. 

“I honestly didn’t think it would go that viral,” Missy states. Their video reached 10,000 views the morning following its release. While there were polarizing comments, they both noted their own positive responses to the video. Kristopher concluded that the video “obviously resonated with people” and, for him, it was the discourse the video generated around choral music. People began commenting on the musical interpretations of other Vancouver Cantata Singers videos and they began to list their own favorite “Ave Maria” arrangements. For Missy, it was when she heard that one conductor made all of his new choristers watch the video as an introduction to the world of choral music: “we can be this global choir community with global inside jokes.”

While the video has resulted in the Vancouver Cantata Singers becoming hyperaware of everything they say during choir rehearsal, Kristopher realizes that the ability to manage passive-aggressive phrases in rehearsal with humor can remove a lot of the animosity. The video, ultimately, has established an online rapport between the choir and the world, “We are that video. We all like joking around, but we also like being really serious and really pulling off serious concerts. Those don’t need to be mutually exclusive either,” Kristopher states with matter-of-fact honesty.

Choral singing with the Vancouver Cantata Singers has both filled a niche in the world of Missy and Kristopher. Missy confesses that “there’s nothing that speaks to [her] in the same way.” Kristopher pauses for a moment and to compose his thoughts: “As you explore the rep and you realize you are making a sound with a group of people who are your friends and later family… you’re a group of people united with a common goal…to make really good music, I think, and hopefully communicate something special to the audience if they’re in the room, if it’s a rehearsal, there’s usually not an audience, so it’s really just for each other.”

The familial comfort in the Vancouver Cantata Singers provided a support network to produce a viral video that was able to connect with so many people. It humorously highlighted a part of the choral realm and, as a result, shows that we are able to laugh at the ridiculous things we say while doing the things we love.

Listen to the full interview below to learn more about Vancouver Cantata Singers choristers, Missy Clarkson and Kristopher Fulton, surprising responses they received to the video, their favorite “Ave Maria,” and meeting Eric Whitacre. As well, hear an aural glimpse of the Vancouver Cantata Singers rehearsal at the end of the interview.

-The Choir Girl

Cantata Singers Interview by misssable

This post is cross-posted on The Choir Girl Blog and Sound + Noise.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

CHORAL CONCERT, with host Peter Togni Sunday, March 10, 2013 9:00 - 11:00 am, (9:30 - 11:30 NT) on CBC Radio 2

Music from the Sistine Chapel – with the Elora Festival Singers

The Sistine Chapel is one of the world’s centers of great music. Composers like Palestrina, Allegri, Victoria and Josquin des Prez created some of the most beautiful music of all time for the choir of the Sistine Chapel.

This Sunday on Choral Concert Peter Togni will bring us music from the Sistine Chapel performed by one of Canada’s finest choirs, the Elora Festival Singers conducted by Noel Edison. Performed in the beautiful Church of our Lady in Guelph, the resonant sounds wrap you up in a tapestry of glorious interweaving polyphonic musical lines.

You will also hear a recent release from Vancouver’s Musica Intima, their 20th anniversary celebration.

Don’t forget that CBCMUSIC.CA has lots to offer for classical music lovers, including the Choral Stream, available 24 / 7. You can also check out the Choral Concert blog plus extensive videos and concerts in all genres.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Sing with Rajaton Workshop: A Photo Story

What do you get when over 200 youth choristers get to sing with a cappella ensemble, Rajaton?

It results in an afternoon of amazing music-making and bonding.

The workshop was hosted by the Alberta Choral Federation as a part of Rajaton's Prairie Tour. The Edmonton portion of their trip is captured in these series of photos:

It's busy backstage at the Winspear Centre on Monday afternoon

Boots, coats, and bags from over 200 choristers lined up backstage

"Butterfly," one of the workshop pieces the choristers got to sing with Rajaton

Rajaton greets the workshop crowd and sings Queen's, "Under Pressure"

The choristers line-up on stage to start rehearsal

Rajaton and the choristers prepare to sing, "We Walk in a Fog"
Rajaton and the choristers singing "Butterfly"

Tickets are ready for the evening!
There is something stunning about that many young voices singing together, united in their love of choral music. If I was 17 again, I would have been right there on stage with them. Alas, it just goes to show that choral music is alive and well in Alberta and across Canada.

-The Choir Girl from (The Choir Girl Blog)

Friday, March 1, 2013

CHORAL CONCERT, with host Peter Togni Sunday, March 3, 2013 9:00 - 11:00 am, (9:30 - 11:30 NT) on CBC Radio 2

This week on Choral Concert we will feature the Vancouver-based Elektra Women’s Choir and their adventurous foray into Farsi poetry.

Elektra has taken many adventurous turns in their music over the past quarter century, and the centrepiece in this concert is no exception – it’s an exotic, thrilling and evocative work by Abbie Betinis called From behind the Caravan: songs of Hafez. It’s set in Farsi, the language of Persia.

The words are by Mohammed Hafez-e Shirazi, the author of almost 400 poems called Ghazals.
Ghazals are lyric poems in the Sufi tradition about longing for truth, love, kindness and ultimately for the Beloved. It’s beautiful stuff.

Abbie Betinis is not Persian, she’s American, but she pushed herself to hear the qualities of these words, to let them evoke sounds and images that express this deep and rich culture. One image that rushed upon her was “a distant memory of being four years old and dancing – joyfully and tirelessly – to music that whirled feverishly around me.”

In this encore edition of Choral Concert, you will also hear a wonderful performance with the Elmer Iseler Singers teaming up with the Canadian Brass from back in 1973, and some incredible Schubert with the Immortal Bach Ensemble.

Don’t forget that CBCMUSIC.CA has lots to offer for classical music lovers, You can check out the Choral Concert blog and the 24/7 choral stream plus extensive videos and concerts in all genres.