Leamington Choral Society
Leamington Choral Society. Choir of 50-65 voices founded in 1960 in Leamington, near Windsor, Ont, by Helen (Marguerite) Law. At first composed of graduates from the Mennonite High School, it presented an abridged version of Hansel and Gretel for its debut in 1961. The choir was opened to all singers in 1963, and the name Leamington Choral Society was adopted. Christmas and spring concerts, unaccompanied or with orchestra, followed in local churches and school auditoriums.
In 1970 the choir competed at the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod in Wales. It placed third - the first Canadian adult choir to win a prize there - and was described in the adjudication of Herbert Howells and Sir Thomas Armstrong as an example of 'the gentler paths of choralism - clear, clean, thoughtful. Technically compact in style, still reticent; but alive in all its quietude'. The choir performed in Bulgaria after winning a first award in one section of the 1979 International Choral Competition at Varna.
For concerts in Windsor and Detroit, accompanying ensembles have included the Windsor Symphony Orchestra, beginning in 1970; the Classical Brass in 1973; and chamber orchestras from Wayne State U, Michigan, in 1973 and from the Detroit SO in 1975.
The choir's sole conductor has been Helen Law - b Clarke (Chatham, Ont, 14 Aug 1915, d Leamington, Ont, 12 May 1993) - a piano pupil of Edward Bredshall and a voice pupil of Thelma von Eisenhauer in Detroit and Pauline Donalda in Montreal. Law taught voice and piano privately and held church positions in Leamington. In 1982 she formed a 20-voice chamber choir, the Helen Law Singers, who presented a performance of Messiah with a string ensemble from the Detroit SO in 1984. She was a founding member of the Ontario Choral Federation and in 1979 was named a Member of the Order of Canada.