Bishop Strachan School Chapel Choir
Bishop Strachan School Chapel Choir Toronto girls' school choir known in 1990 as The Choir of the Bishop Strachan School. Variable in size, it numbered 55 members in 1990. A school choir existed at the time of World War I under J.W. Galloway (the composer of the school's first anthem, 'Gaudeamus') and 1921-6 under H.A. Fricker, but the chapel choir was formed in 1925 for service in the newly added chapel. It also sang for other school functions and, at its conductor's initiative, in other contexts. Conductors have included John Hodgins 1949-65 and 1972-4, Derek Holman 1965-70, and Edgar Hanson 1970-2, succeeded by Maureen Hall Kolassa in 1974.
In May and June 1953 the choir participated in the Coronation festivities in Great Britain. A second British tour in 1958 included a performance at the Llangollen International Eisteddfod. On invitation, the choir sang at the Seattle World's Fair (in 1962, also touring that year in western Canada), at the New York World's Fair in 1964, at Expo 74 in Spokane (again coupled with a tour of western Canada), at the 1977 International Festival of Youth Orchestras and Performing Arts in Aberdeen and London, and in 1985 it visited New Orleans. In Toronto the choir has performed with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir (St Matthew Passion 1957, Children's Crusade 1960), with the TSO (Joan of Arc at the Stake 1958, Mendelssohn's A Midsummer Night's Dream 1965), with the Orpheus Choir of Toronto (Elijah 1966), with the Concord Singers of Toronto (Britten's St Nicholas 1975), and with the Festival Singers in 1976. It gave the Canadian premiere 19 Apr 1961 of Britten's Missa brevis in D and the premiere 3 May 1972 of a commissioned work, Harry Freedman's Keewaydin. The choir made two 78s for Hallmark in 1957, an LP (CHL 603, which included Healey Willan's Magnificat) for Canterbury in 1958, and recorded Christmas music in 1979 (WRCI 1381).