Toronto Children's Chorus | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Toronto Children's Chorus

Responding to a request from Walter Homburger (Managing Director of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra) that she assemble a treble-voice chorus to perform with that orchestra, conductor Jean Ashworth Bartle founded the Toronto Children's Chorus in 1978.

Early engagements included Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker (1978, Andrew Davis) and Orff's Carmina Burana (1979, Klaus Tennstedt). The TCC has since performed a variety of works with that orchestra, in addition to its own series of concerts and guest appearances and tours. Originally involving about 60 singers, by 2001 the TCC numbered some 300 voices divided into three training choirs and a senior performing choir, from which a 60-voice chamber choir was assembled to undertake tours and recordings.

The award-winning Chorus has appeared at many international events, whether competitions, concerts or workshops. Tours have included the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod in Wales (1982); continental Europe (1984); the Pacific Rim (1988); the Spoleto and Tuscany Choral Festivals (1995); the American Choral Directors Association National Convention in Washington's Kennedy Centre (1995); Holland and Belgium (1997); Australia and New Zealand (1999), during which the choir was Artist in Residence at the Sydney Sings International Children's Choir Festival; and the conferences of the Association of Canadian Choral Conductors and International Society for Music Education in Edmonton (2000). It has been widely broadcast. Five-time winner of the CBC National Radio Competition for Amateur Choirs, it also won the Healey Willan Prize in 1983. It won in its category in the 1993 Let the Peoples Sing International Choral Competition, sponsored by the European Broadcasting Union.

Regularly commissioning Canadian works for treble voices, the TCC has performed an impressive number, including The Star Princess and the Waterlilies (1986, R. Murray Schafer), The Last Straw (1990, Ruth Watson Henderson), Cantate Domino (1995, Imant Raminsh), For the Children: No Silence of the Soul (1997, Robert Evans), World Music Suite (1998, Donald Patriquin), as well as works by such composers as John Greer, Chan Ka Nin and Harry Freedman. The Chorus hosts an International Choral Conductors Symposium biennially, featuring works by Canadian composers. Its discography includes collaborations with distinguished Canadian musicians such as Ben Heppner, Elmer Iseler, Maureen Forrester and Lois Marshall. In 1997, the Chorus added to its recordings A Boy Was Born, which received the ACCC's 1998 National Choral Award for Outstanding Choral Recording, and in 2000 issued Songs of Lights and Come Ye Makers of Song, a double CD set comprising live recordings from its 1999 tour.