Richard Eaton Singers
The Richard Eaton Singers (formerly University Singers). Choir formed by Richard Eaton in 1951 at the University of Alberta in Edmonton and conducted by Eaton until 1967. In 1968 the choir adopted the name Richard Eaton Singers in his memory. Alexandra (Sandra) Munn succeeded Eaton (1967-73), followed by Larry Cook 1973-81, and Leonard Ratzlaff in 1981. The approximately 150-voice choir specializes in standard large choral-orchestral repertoire, as well as recent works by Canadian composers.
In 1970 the choir toured Great Britain, competed at the Tees-Side International Eisteddfod, and earned first prize at the Bournemouth Festival. It has taken part in exchange tours with Hagacantara (The Hague) 1987-8, and the Vancouver Bach Choir in 2004. In 1998 it travelled to Winnipeg, performing Mahler's Eighth Symphony with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, and toured the Maritimes, including St John's, Nfld, in 2003 for Festival 500.
The choir has performed frequently with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra since the 1980s and is often recorded for the CBC. In 1989 the Richard Eaton Singers joined the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra in the first complete performance of Alexis Contant's Les Deux Âmes since the oratorio's premiere in 1913. This was broadcast by the CBC French network to celebrate 40 years of French broadcasting in Alberta. The choir also performed Mahler's Eighth Symphony for the opening of Edmonton's Winspear Centre (1997) and gave the first Edmonton performance of Britten's War Requiem (2000). Among the new Canadian works the choir has premiered are Veni sancte spiritus (Raminsh, 1992); We Stood Beside Each Other (Gilliland, 2001); In Praise of Music (Sirett, 2002); and Sepulcher of Life (Hatzis, 2004). In 2003, the Richard Eaton Singers produced a CD, In Praise of Music, and the same year received the Orpheus Award from Music Alberta, for significant contribution to the development of choral music in Canada.