Brock McElheran

Brock (Norman) McElheran . Choral conductor, teacher, b Winnipeg 6 Jan 1918; BA (Toronto) 1939, B MUS (Toronto) 1947. In Winnipeg he studied piano with Hugh Bancroft and sang in a boys' choir under Bancroft at St Matthew's Church.

Brock McElheran

Brock (Norman) McElheran. Choral conductor, teacher, b Winnipeg 6 Jan 1918; BA (Toronto) 1939, B MUS (Toronto) 1947. In Winnipeg he studied piano with Hugh Bancroft and sang in a boys' choir under Bancroft at St Matthew's Church. McElheran moved with his family in 1930 to Toronto, where his teachers were Reginald Godden (piano) and Ettore Mazzoleni (conducting). He conducted the University of Toronto SO 1937-9 and the Toronto Conservatory Chamber Orchestra 1939-40. After the war he continued his studies at the University of Toronto and the RCMT with Nicholas Goldschmidt (conducting) and Healey Willan (theory), and at Tanglewood, Mass, with Stanley Chapple. His concept of choral sound was influenced also by Robert Shaw. While attending university he wrote reviews for the Globe and Mail and the student newspaper The Varsity and served 1946-7 as the latter's arts, music, and drama editor. In 1947 he joined the faculty of the Crane School of Music at the State Teachers College of Potsdam, NY (later Potsdam College of the State U of New York), as teacher of conducting and theory and as conductor of the Collegiate Singers. He was assistant conductor and 1968-88 conductor of Crane Chorus, a choir of about 250 voices, which on occasion joined Leopold Stokowski's Symphony of the Air and the New York Philharmonic.

In 1970 McElheran founded and became director of the Saratoga-Potsdam Choral Institute. Its 250-voice chorus gave 54 concerts at Saratoga Springs, NY with the Philadelphia Orchestra, twice under his own baton. In addition to conducting at the 1980 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid, NY, McElheran has prepared choirs for performance under many of the top conductors in the USA. He conducted the Montreal Elgar Choir 1972-9 and La Chorale nouvelle de Montréal beginning in 1987. He taught for one summer at CAMMAC and has lectured at the University of Toronto, McGill University, and Bishop's University.

Oxford University Press has published several of his avant-garde compositions for chorus, such as Patterns in Sound (SSAATBB; 1965-72?), Here Comes the Avant-Garde (choir, piano, optional percussion and electronic section, 1969) and Funeral March on the Deaths of Heroes (1969), and his book Conducting Technique for Beginners and Professionals (1966, rev 1989).