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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 well over 6,000 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!

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What people are saying about us…

“What a thrill that concert was – ALL of it!… I was in seventh heaven during the performance of Magnificat for Turning… a SUPERB performance… brought tears to my eyes.”

 

Donald Patriquin (2011)

 

“I listened to Winter Solstice with pleasure… stellar work with those opening chords… the quality that delighted me most was the sense of narrative… I think it is one of the most ‘loving’ premieres I have ever had…

 

— Stephen Hatfield (2012)

 

“That was a very special concert tonight … a completely inclusive, unpretentious, deeply moving experience.”

 

— Larry Beckwith (2014)


January 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, attended by approximately 40 choristers, 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 have put in place numerous, stringent health measures for our in-person sessions: all choristers must be fully vaccinated, sing with masks, use pre-assigned, distanced seating, and rehearse for reduced time periods, amongst other safety protocols.  These rigorous risk-mitigation strategies are in accordance with public health recommendations. Our choir is also prepared to amend our COVID policy and rehearsal options as needed, including requiring booster shots for any upcoming in-person sessions.

Due to the virulent Omicron variant, we now find ourselves back online this January, holding Zoom sessions which focus on a variety of vocal warmups, body work, musicianship skills and other tips, along with sectional and full group repertoire coaching. We look forward to the day – hopefully in the not-too-distant future – when we’ll be able to safely sing in-person again.

VOCA held 2 online events this past Fall: a Cabaret, “Love Stories” in November, and a seasonal celebration, “Seasonal Snapshot” in December.

We hope to see you at our upcoming events: our 12th Annual Spring Fall Cabaret/Silent Auction, held online on Sat., Mar. 5, and our long-awaited (and hopefully live!) “Star Songs” concert on Sat., Apr. 30 at Eastminster United

All best wishes to you and yours for 2022!


“LOVE STORIES” Cabaret/Fundraiser

On Friday, November 5, join co-producers Jenny Crober & Emily Vick Agnew for “LOVE STORIES”, our online Fall Cabaret/VOCA Fundraiser.

Our cabaret will feature a wide variety of jazz, pop, musical theatre & opera selections, presented by all of VOCA’s professional vocal leads along with special guests, accompanied by piano, guitar & accordion. 

Joining Emily Vick Agnew, soprano and Jenny Crober, piano will be VOCA’s leads Dallas Chorley, soprano; Alex Hetherington, mezzo; Kevin Mulligan, tenor; Eli Theocharidis, tenor; Justin Welsh, baritone and Parker Clements, baritone, with guests Lee Clapp, tenor; Jacques Arsenault, tenor, accordion; Liam Crober-Best, tenor, guitar and Tevra Plamondon, soprano.

*Rafflesmusical quizzes and chats with performers are some of the other activities we’ll be presenting that evening. (*You can purchase your raffle tickets when you buy your ticket for admission. There will be a prize for our local audience members, and another for those from outside Toronto.)

We’ll also be presenting a look at a portion of one of VOCA’s in-person rehearsals. We’re thrilled to be finally singing together again – even fully masked and physically distanced – after almost 20 months away!

Co-producers: Jenny Crober & Emily Vick Agnew

Artistic Director, Collaborative Pianist: Jenny Crober

Date: Friday, November 5, 2021

Time: 7:30 pm

Tickets: $20 (https://www.eventbrite.com/x/love-stories-fall-cabaret-voca-fundraiser-tickets-189750999347)

V-Jay: Andrew Wolf

Flyer Design: Jenny Crober (image: Andrea Andrade)

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“SEASONAL SNAPSHOT”

On Friday, December 17, the VOCA Chorus of Toronto presented an online seasonal celebration, “Seasonal Snapshot”, a presentation of our choristers performing – following strict pandemic protocols (masked, distanced, fully vaccinated) – both in-person and via livestream.

Our video event featured a variety of seasonal selections, including works by Ola Gjeilo, Eric Whitacre, Pablo Sosa, James Gordon, Irving Berlin, Mel Torme and others. We included a carol sing with our audience members, who joined us from near and far – from locales across Ontario, as well as other provinces and countries.

Artistic Director: Jenny Crober

Collaborative Pianist: Elizabeth Acker

Section Leads: Dallas Chorley, soprano; Alex Hetherington, mezzo; Kevin Mulligan, Tenor; Eli Theocharidis, Tenor; Justin Welsh, baritone & Parker Clements, baritone

Videographer: Eli Theocharidis

Video Post-production: Eli Theocharidis, Jenny Crober

V-Jay: Andrew Wolf

Flyer Design: Jenny Crober

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ROY THOMSON HALL!

Postponed: New Date TBD 

More exciting news for the VOCA Chorus of Toronto for Spring 2020!  We’re thrilled and honoured to have been invited to perform a concert as part of ROY THOMSON HALL’s 23rd Annual Choir & Organ Concert Series on Thursday, April 9, 2020, 12:00 pm at Roy Thomson Hall!  (https://www.roythomsonhall.com/tickets/voca-chorus-of-toronto/)

VOCA will be performing “STAR SONGS”, a choral and instrumental celebration of stars and the night sky, featuring works by Paul Halley, Kurt WeillĒriks Ešenvalds, Eleanor Daley and others.  

We’re also thrilled to be featuring a world premiere, “Anang (The Star)”, written in Obijway and English by the renowned Cree composer, Andrew Balfour.  (http://cameratanova.com/16/about-us/artistic-director/)

VOCA will be joined by 3 fabulous guest artists, all of whom have previously performed with our ensemble: Shawn Grenke, organ, Colleen Allen, sax and Jamie Drake, percussion.  

We hope to see you at this free concert, our Roy Thomson Hall debut!


“STAR SONGS”

NEW DATE: Saturday, April 30, 2022!

On Saturday, April 30, 2022 at 7:30 pm (originally schedulled for Saturday, May 9, 2020), the VOCA Chorus of Toronto will present our long-awaited “STAR SONGS”, our annual Spring concert at Eastminster United Church (310 Danforth Ave. at Jackman/Chester Station).

VOCA will be presenting a choral and instrumental celebration of stars and the night sky, featuring an array of reflective, lively and inspiring selections by Paul Halley, Eleanor Daley, Ēriks Ešenvalds, Kurt Weill and others.

We’re thrilled that our concert will also feature a newly commissioned work, “Anang (The Star)” by the renowned Cree composer, Andrew Balfour.  (http://cameratanova.com/16/about-us/artistic-director/)

Our fabulous guest artists, all of whom have previously shared the stage with VOCA, will be Shawn Grenke, organ, Colleen Allen, sax and Jamie Drake, percussion.

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Vision & Collaboration: Cree Composer Andrew Balfour

Jenny Crober, Artistic Director/Conductor, the VOCA Chorus of Toronto

– As submitted to the CAMMAC Toronto Region Newsletter: Dec. 2020 – Jan. 2021: Vision & Collaboration – Cree Composer Andrew Balfour (Jenny Crober) – CAMMAC Tor. Reg. Newsletter (Dec. 2020 – Jan. 2021)