Music in Sudbury

Sudbury, Ont. Mining community in northern Ontario. Settled in 1883 and incorporated as city in 1930, Sudbury by 1986 had a population of 88,717 from a variety of national origins.

Sudbury, Ont

Sudbury, Ont. Mining community in northern Ontario. Settled in 1883 and incorporated as city in 1930, Sudbury by 1986 had a population of 88,717 from a variety of national origins.

According to a city directory, in 1911 Sudbury had 2 music teachers and 2 music stores. The 1930 directory listed 11 teachers and 5 stores. One of the earliest musical organizations was the Sacred Heart College Band, founded in 1916. The Sacred Heart College Choir later sang on local radio broadcasts.

Other Sudbury choirs have included the Sudbury Chamber Singers directed by Douglas Webb, the Bel Canto Chorus directed by Brad Richmond, and the Marian Singers directed by Chrissie Nemis. Nemis also directed the choir at Christ the King Church and taught in the separate school system. Among ethnic ensembles have been the Dnipro Choir (Ukranian), the Caruso Club Choir (Italian), the Finnish Male Chorus, and the Croatian Tamburitza Ensemble. The 1978 Choirs in Contact of the Ontario Choral Federation was held in Sudbury.

Eric Woodward (organist, conductor, b England 1902), settled in Sudbury in 1956 and founded the Sudbury Philharmonic Society in 1957. This choral-orchestral ensemble performed Mendelssohn's Elijah and Hymn of Praise, Elgar's In the Bavarian Highlands, and other works. In 1962 it merged with an earlier Sudbury orchestra founded in 1953 and conducted by Emil First, to give three concerts a year for six or seven years, but then the two organizations separated again. Metro Kozak, director of music at Cambrian College, became the conductor of a reconstituted Sudbury Symphony Orchestra in 1975 and shifted the programming more definitely towards the symphonic repertoire. The orchestra has given five or more concerts annually at Laurentian University.

Other musical groups have included the Sudbury Youth Orchestra, the Sudbury Band founded in 1943, and the Karl Pukara Accordion Orchestra, organized in 1957. The Sudbury-born Pukara established the Regional Conservatory of Music (also known as the Karl Pukara Music Studio) in 1964. Other Sudbury schools have offered music programs: Cambrian College (see Community colleges), for children the Cambrian College Academy and Huntington Conservatory. A branch of the ORMTA was formed in Sudbury in 1943 and has co-sponsored the annual Kiwanis Music Festival. Performances by local and visiting artists have been organized by the JMC (YMC), Cambrian College, and the Sudbury Arts Festival.

Germain Lemieux, who collected many folksongs and legends in the Sudbury area, was made director in 1975 of the folklore department (headed in 1991 by Jean-Pierre Pichette and operating entirely in French), at Laurentian University's Sudbury branch, which followed earlier research done by the Centre franco-ontarien de folklore.

Musicians born in Sudbury include Trump Davidson, Rich Dodson (of the Stampeders), the trumpeter Kevin Turcotte, the soprano Joanne Kolomyjec, and the tenor Frederick de Marseille. The jazz guitarist Reg Schwager was raised there. The 11-member co-operative group Cano was formed in Sudbury and gave its first concerts in 1975. It has toured in Quebec and recorded for A & M Records.


Further Reading

  • Dostie, Bruno. 'Cano: a new group from Sudbury - with something different to say,' CanComp, 117, Jan 1977