WINTER SOLSTICE, Sat., Dec. 3, 2011

On Saturday, Dec. 3 at 7:30 pm, at Eastminster United Church (310 Danforth Ave., W. of Chester subway) we presented ‘WINTER SOLSTICE’, a seasonal celebration of our 25th Anniversary, featuring a wide array of music from many different eras and traditions – from ancient carols to a variety of selections by contemporary composers and legendary Canadian songwriters.

Our concert included several works by two renowned Canadian composers. We were thrilled and honoured to present the world premiere of our choir’s first commissioned piece, “Winter Solstice”, a remarkable, multi-layered work by B.C. composer, Stephen Hatfield, as well as an Ontario premiere of his arrangement of a jaunty Gatineau folk song, “Les Draveurs de la Gatineau”. (Mr. Hatfield conducted an inspirational, riveting and unforgettable workshop with our choristers in mid-October.)

We also performed several compositions by Quebec composer, Donald Patriquin, including the stunning “Magnificat for Turning”, which was written for The East York Choir’s founder, soprano Stephanie Piercey-Beames, who performed this selection with our sopranos and altos, and was the featured soloist on several other selections, including the traditional Irish carol, “The Wexford Carol”. We were honoured to welcome Mr. Patriquin as a special guest at our concert that evening!

Our sopranos and altos also performed a tender arrangement of Jane Siberry’s “Are You Burning, Little Candle?”, and our tenors and basses were featured in gorgeous arrangements of two Canadian gems of the season: a Celtic-flavoured version of “The Huron Carol”, and James Gordon’s haunting “Frobisher Bay”.

Along with Ms. Piercey-Beames, we featured several other wonderful guest artists, who added so much to the performance that evening: Les Allt (flute, tin whistle, Irish flute); Ray Dillard (percussion); Charlie Roby (guitar, bouzouki) and Wendy Solomon (cello).

After the concert, which featured our annual carol sing, we held a post-concert reception, featuring refreshments and a stunning archival presentation of the choir’s past 25 years.

Special thanks to the many committee members: the volunteers who helped make all of these events very memorable indeed!

CARMINA BURANA, Sat., June 5, 2011

Our anniversary year started off with a bang (literally!) when we presented Carl Orff’s legendary work, ‘CARMINA BURANA’ at 3:30 on June 5, 2011 at Eastminster United Church.

Our choir (with Artistic Director, Jenny Crober and Accompanist, Elizabeth Acker) was joined by some of Canada’s finest percussionists, who played a huge menagerie of instruments, including glockenspiels, timpani, tambourines, snare and bass drums, and chimes.

We featured three of Canada’s finest young vocal soloists, who have performed across the country in operas, oratorios and recitals.

We were also joined by a very fine pianist who is the accompanist of the Amadeus Choir and the Hamilton Children’s Choir, and is a choral conductor and church music director.

Finally, we welcomed a children’s choral ensemble, made up of choristers from one of Toronto’s finest children’s choirs.

Our special guests included soloists, Eve-Lyn de la Haye, soprano, Alexander Dobson, baritone, and James McLennan, tenor; percussionists, Ray Dillard, Andrew Morris, Dean Pomeroy, Julia Cleveland, and Craig Snowden; pianist, Shawn Grenke; and members of the High Park Choirs Chamber Choir, Allegria (Zimfira Poloz, Conductor).

Our second half featured some of our choir’s ‘chestnuts’: a retrospective mix of musical traditions, including African, jazz, musical theatre, and traditional (including Celtic and Eastern European) music with piano, percussion and fiddle accompaniment. We were pleased to welcome percussionists, Ray Dillard and Andy Morris, and to welcome back guest violinist/fiddler, Rose Bolton and a long-time friend of the choir, guitarist Charlie Roby.

EYC was joined in some of these selections by our children’s ensemble, and featured several arrangements by artistic director, Jenny Crober, including a premiere of her arrangement of a children’s ‘semi-chorus’ for Lydia Adams’ legendary “We Rise Again”.

It was a very special performance. The last chord of “Carmina Burana” was still ringing in the air when the entire audience (over 700 people) rose to its feet, shouting and applauding. Their response (especially unusual for a piece at the end of the first half) was so rousing and exuberant that it took both the conductor and the choristers quite aback – an unforgettable moment!

Our retrospective second half, which featured our soloists/leads, Bryan Estabrooks and Martin Houtman, along with several guest artists, was followed by another rousing standing ovation and an encore (a South African song with drums). A very memorable concert indeed.

We’d like to extend a sincere thank you to all of the guest artists who joined us for this very special anniversary concert.