The Choristers

The Choristers. Winnipeg chamber choir founded by W.H. Anderson in 1936 as the Oriana Singers, a 14-voice madrigal choir which in 1942 expanded to 16 (later to 20) voices and took the name The Choristers for broadcast purposes.

The Choristers

The Choristers. Winnipeg chamber choir founded by W.H. Anderson in 1936 as the Oriana Singers, a 14-voice madrigal choir which in 1942 expanded to 16 (later to 20) voices and took the name The Choristers for broadcast purposes. The Choristers achieved a national reputation for their fine choral blend and sense of style. Weekly broadcasts under Anderson's direction on the national network of the CBC began 2 Jun 1942. On occasion the choir was augmented for choral-orchestral works conducted by Geoffrey Waddington or later Eric Wild. Gordon Kushner and later Roline Mackidd were among its regular piano accompanists during the first 10 years, when the program consisted of a mixture of sacred and secular partsongs, madrigals, motets, and folksong arrangements. In 1952 the name of the broadcast became 'Sunday Chorale' and the format of the program changed, becoming devoted exclusively to church music - hymns, anthems, motets - with organ accompaniment, first by Hugh Bancroft, then by Herbert Sadler and Filmer Hubble. Anderson chose the music and conducted the choir until a few months before his death in 1955, when the directorship was assumed by Hubble. The choir, though it remained The Choristers, gradually became known by the name of the program. Hubble conducted 'Sunday Chorale' until his death in 1969, when he was succeeded by Herbert Belyea, a tenor in the choir. He conducted the choir in several public concerts, but broadcasts were only intermittent in the early 1970s and it disbanded in 1974.

Gladys Whitehead, May Lawson, Reginald Hugo, and Lorne Betts were among the original Choristers, along with many other leading Winnipeg singers of the day. Among other noted singers who sang with the group over the years were Evelyne Anderson, Devina Bailey, Kathleen Morrison Brown, Joan Maxwell, and Phyllis Cooke Thomson.