SONGS OF JOY & PEACE, Sat., Dec. 7, 2013

On December 7, 2013, VOCA Chorus of Toronto was thrilled to present ‘SONGS OF JOY & PEACE’, featuring J.S. Bach’s extraordinary ‘Magnificat in D Major’, with some of Canada’s finest musicians as our guest artists: Jennie Such (soprano), Claire de Sévigné (soprano), Marion Newman (mezzo-soprano), Andrew Haji (tenor), Alexander Dobson (baritone) and the Talisker Players orchestra.

In the second half of our programme, we presented an engaging and eclectic mix of Medieval, jazz, blues, contemporary and gospel selections, including Ottawa composer Elise Letourneau’s award-winning and powerful “Peace Prayer”, and B.C. composer Stephen Chatman’s endearing setting of “Blow, Blow, Thou Winter Wind”, along with our annual carol sing.

CELTIC TIDE, Sat., June 1, 2013

The VOCA Chorus of Toronto presented a very special concert, ‘CELTIC TIDE’, on Sat., June 1, 7:30 pm at Eastminster United Church, 310 Danforth Ave.

Our performance featured the stunning ‘Celtic Mass for the Sea’, commissioned by the CBC in 1988, and composed by the legendary East Coast musician, Scott Macmillan, with libretto by Jennyfer Brickenden. This piece is a remarkable ode to the world’s oceans, and a timely homage to World Oceans Day, an event that will be celebrated across the globe on June 8, 2013.

We were particularly thrilled that both Scott Macmillan (guitar) and Jennyfer Brickenden (narration) were able to come from Halifax to perform with us! They also spoke about their work at our concert.

We also performed a wide variety of other Celtic choral and instrumental selections, including several arrangements by our artistic director, Jenny Crober (eg. “Star of the County Down”, for tenors and basses and “She Moved Through the Fair” for tenor solo, choir, Celtic harp, tin whistle, uillean pipes and cello.

Joining our choir, our wonderful accompanist, Elizabeth Acker, and our special guests from Halifax were some of the finest Celtic musicians in Canada, most of whom have joined us at previous concerts: Loretto Reid (tin whistle, Irish flute, concertina, button accordion); Sharlene Wallace (Celtic harp); Rose Bolton (fiddle/violin); Kelly Hood (uilleann pipes); Wendy Solomon (cello); Leon Taheny (bodhrán, percussion).

It was a wonderful evening, and a very full house (over 800 people) – a marvellous way to end our 2012-2013 season!

VOCA 3rd ANNUAL CABARET, Sat., Mar. 2, 2013

On Saturday, March 2, 2013 at 7:00 PM at The Grand Hall in The Estonian House, the VOCA Chorus of Toronto presented its third annual CABARET. It was an evening of fun, food, and fundraising featuring multi-talented members of the VOCA Chorus of Toronto. The cabaret featured an amazing variety of silent auction items, including voice lessons … sports tickets … tickets to numerous arts events … delicious home-baking … a weekend at a schoolhouse in the country…

Vocalists and instrumentalists performed as soloists, as well as in duos, trios and quartets. Not to be forgotten was a lively male septet in a show-stopping performance, which included many fascinating ‘passers-by’…

Instruments featured that evening were: violin/fiddle, viola, piano, guitar (steel string and electric), mandolin, bass, and percussion… and a talking hobby horse (!).

Our audience heard selections from many genres: musical theatre (including the serious and the not-at-all serious), classical (vocal and instrumental), a cappella vocal jazz, rock, and world music. The evening was capped off by a rousing flash mob (featuring Daniel Kushner on fiddle), an excerpt from Scott Macmillan’s “Celtic Mass for the Sea”, which gave our audience a sneak peak at our upcoming June 1st concert, and finished the evening’s celebrations with a bang.

Many thanks to all the volunteers who helped put this very special evening together. Special thanks to the event coordinator, Tom Roedding; artistic director and accompanist, Jenny Crober; auction coordinator, Judy MacDougall; MC, Jenny Sardone; our sound crew/stage managers Charlie Roby and Michael Pollard; Tonu Orav of the Estonian House …and to so many others who worked so hard to make this fine evening possible.

It was a very enjoyable and successful fundraising and community-raising event – and we’re already looking forward to acts for next year’s Cabaret!