Welcome to VOCA Chorus of Toronto
Welcome to our home on the web! Here you will find information about upcoming concerts and events, as well as details about our artistic staff, guest artists, and past concerts. If you haven’t already done so, please join our mailing list so you’ll be the first to know when we have something new to share.
VOCA’s First Virtual Choir Recording!
MAY 2021: Like so many choirs across the globe, VOCA has had a challenging year. We deeply miss singing together in-person. But we’ve been very fortunate to hold weekly sessions on Zoom all season, keep our choral community strong, learn new musical skills, do a ‘deep dive’ into some of our repertoire, enjoy a myriad mix of invaluable warm-ups provided by our 6 wonderful leads … and more.
At our recent (and first online) Spring Cabaret, we presented a wide array of roots, jazz, classical, pop & musical theatre selections to an audience of almost 300 people.
We also featured a very special finale that night, and a first for VOCA: our choir’s virtual choir recording of Morten Lauridsen’s “Sure On This Shining Night”, his stunning setting of James Agee’s exquisite poetry. We spent many weeks working on this ‘choral adventure’, and are very proud of the results. (We currently have over 6,200 views!) Heartfelt thanks to 60 choristers, all of VOCA’s professional staff (artistic director Jenny Crober, accompanist Elizabeth Acker and our 6 section leads), and Jamie Drake (Opus 32 Design) for his superb technical production work.
We hope you enjoy our choir’s first virtual choir recording!
What people are saying about us…
— Donald Patriquin (2011)
— Stephen Hatfield (2012)
— Larry Beckwith (2014)
Winter/Spring 2022 Update
Like performing arts organizations worldwide, the VOCA Chorus of Toronto and other choral ensembles continue to be affected by COVID-19. Although the pandemic is still with us (2 years later), we would like to share a message of optimism.
On Monday, September 13, 2021, VOCA held its first rehearsal of the 2021-2022 Season at our regular venue, Eastminster United Church – a significant event for our choir, as it was our first live, in-person rehearsal since the March 2020 lockdown! We held several in-person rehearsals at Eastminster, along with all of our artistic staff (artistic director Jenny Crober, accompanist Elizabeth Acker and 6 professional section leads). It is very difficult to find the words to describe the feeling of profound joy (and relief) in being able to finally sing together again, in-person, in real time!
We were also able to live stream these in-person rehearsals to almost 20 choristers online. The feedback from both our in-person and online singers has been very heartening indeed.
The health and safety of our singers and audience members remain our top priority, and our plans will continue to be guided by up-to-date health protocols. We’ve put in place numerous, stringent health measures for our in-person sessions: all choristers must be fully vaccinated, sing with masks and use distanced seating, amongst other safety protocols. These rigorous risk-mitigation strategies are in accordance with public health recommendations. Our choir is also ready to amend our COVID policy and rehearsal options, including requiring booster shots for any upcoming in-person sessions.
This past Fall, VOCA held two online events: a Cabaret/Fundraiser, “Love Stories” in November, and a seasonal celebration, “Seasonal Snapshot” in December.
Due to the virulent Omicron variant, the beginning of 2022 found us back online, holding Zoom sessions focussing on warmups and a variety of musicianship skills, in addition to sectional and full group coaching. We were thrilled to return to in-person rehearsals in late February.
We held our 12th Annual (& 2nd Online) Spring Fall Cabaret/Silent Auction on Sat., Mar. 5, presenting a variety of acts by numerous choristers and all of our professional staff, including a several selections in tribute to Stephen Sondheim. (See more details, below.)
We held a wonderful late March Spring Retreat – our first live event in 2 years – in Grand Hall at the Estonian House on March 26. This included an inspirational workshop with guest clinicians, composer Andrew Balfour and percussionist Jamie Drake, in preparation for the world premiere of Andrew’s exquisite Anang (A Star) at our upcoming “Star Songs” concert.
And what a wonderful feeling it is to – finally! – be well on our way towards the performance of our long-awaited, live, in-person “Star Songs” concert, to be held on Saturday, April 30 at Eastminster United! (See more details, below.)
All best wishes to you and yours for 2022!
“STAR SONGS” Spring Concert
Saturday, April 30, 2022
On Saturday, April 30, 2022 at 7:30 pm, the VOCA Chorus of Toronto will – finally, after 2 years! – be performing our long-awaited “STAR SONGS” in-person at Eastminster United Church (310 Danforth Ave. at Jackman/Chester subway).
VOCA’s first live performance since December 2019 will feature a variety of classical contemporary, jazz and musical theatre selections celebrating stars and the night sky.
We’re truly thrilled that our concert will be presenting a world premiere of the exquisite “Anang (A Star)” by the renowned Cree composer Andrew Balfour (http://cameratanova.com/16/about-us/artistic-director/). Other featured composers/songwriters will include Eleanor Daley, Morten Lauridsen, Bart Howard, Ēriks Ešenvalds, Paul Halley, Kurt Weill and Frode Fjellheim.
Our fabulous guest artists will be Shawn Grenke, organ (https://esgunited.org/music-leadership/); Colleen Allen, sax (https://www.colleenallen.ca) and Jamie Drake, percussion/drums (https://jamiedrake.ca/bio).
Date: Saturday, April 30, 2022
Time: 7:30 pm (*Doors will open at 7:00 pm.)
Venue: Eastminster United Church, 310 Danforth Ave., Toronto (Chester Subway)
Tickets: $30.00 General Admission; $15.00 Students https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/star-songs-tickets-305601481257
Artistic Director: Jenny Crober
Guest Artists: Colleen Allen, sax; Shawn Grenke, organ; Jamie Drake, percussion Section Leads: Dallas Chorley, soprano; Alex Hetherington, mezzo; Kevin Mulligan, Eli Theocharidis, Walter Mahabir, tenors; Parker Clements, James Coole-Stevenson, baritones
Flyer, MailChimp Design: Jenny Crober
Other Promo & Publicity: Jenny Crober & Naomi Shewchuk
*COVID-19 CONCERT PROTOCOLS:
VOCA is thrilled to welcome you to our live performance, after a 2 year wait! The health and safety of our audience members, choristers and volunteers remain of highest priority to us. Limited tickets will be sold, and all audience members and volunteers will be required to wear masks upon entry and while inside the church, and to show proof of vaccination upon entry. We thank you in advance for your cooperation.
ROY THOMSON HALL
Postponed: New Date TBD
12th Annual Cabaret / Silent Auction
Save the date for Saturday, March 5, 2022 at 7:30 pm (Zoom doors will open at 7:00 pm) for the VOCA Chorus of Toronto’s 12th Annual (& 2nd Online) Spring Cabaret / Silent Auction Fundraiser!
Our Cabaret was a virtual delight, featuring a wide variety of musical theatre, jazz, pop and classical selections presented by numerous, multi-talented VOCA choristers, along with all of our professional staff: artistic director Jenny Crober, collaborative pianist Elizabeth Acker, soprano Dallas Chorley, mezzo Alex Hetherington, tenors Kevin Mulligan and Eli Theocharidis, and baritones Parker Clements and James Coole-Stevenson. Our evening included numerous selections in tribute to the brilliant composer Stephen Sondheim, and concluded with a performance by our choristers.
Co-hosts Emily Vick Agnew & Tom Roedding will masterfully led us through a magical evening of music-making, quizzes & camaraderie.
Our annual Silent Auction featured an assortment of items, including yoga sessions, one-of-a-kind crafts, scrumptious home-baked goods, concerts and music coaching and sessions (including a house/garden concert featuring violin and piano), an opportunity to conduct a carol at a VOCA concert!… and much more. Bidding began on Mon., Feb. 21, and ended on Sun., Mar. 6.
Date: Saturday, March 5, 2022
Time: 7:00 pm – ‘Doors Open’; 7:30 – Cabaret Begins
Tickets: $25.00; Raffle Tickets – $10.00 (See “Add-ons”)
Artistic Director / Event Coordinator: Jenny Crober
Collaborative Pianists / Coaches: Jenny Crober & Elizabeth Acker
Co-hosts: Emily Vick Agnew & Tom Roedding
Silent Auction Organizers: Chrissy Doig, Dagmar Schroeder, Lee Martin, Betsy Wimbs, Mark Gold & Leslie Sinclair (with Ellen Richardson, Jennifer Crawford & Judy MacDougall)
Online Silent Auction Facilitator: Mark Gold
Eventbrite Facilitators: Naomi Shewchuk with Jenny Crober
Zoom V-Jay: Andrew Wolf
Flyer: Naomi Shewchuk with Jenny Crober
Other Promo & Publicity: Jenny Crober
“Seasonal Snapshot” Celebration
“Love Stories” Cabaret/Fundraiser
We also presented a look at a portion of one of VOCA’s in-person rehearsals. We were thrilled to be finally singing together again – even fully masked and physically distanced – after almost 20 months away!
Artistic Director, Collaborative Pianist: Jenny Crober
Date: Friday, November 5, 2021
V-Jay: Andrew Wolf