LSM Newswire

Friday, November 28, 2008

St. Michael's Choir School - 69th Annual Christmas Concert, 'A Christmas Overture'

A Toronto Christmas Tradition:
St. Michael's Choir School presents its 69th Annual Christmas Concert, 'A Christmas Overture'

On Friday, December 12 and Saturday, December 13, the boys' choirs of St. Michael's Choir School continue a six-decade Toronto tradition by performing their 69th annual Christmas concert at Massey Hall featuring sacred and secular choral favourites from Christmases past and present.

The boys of the Elementary Choir conducted by Teri Dunn will perform Canadian carols by Andrew Ager and David Elliot and two other works. The Junior Choir conducted by Caron Daley will begin their portion of the concert with John Rutter's arrangement of the German traditional carol In dulci jubilo along with Gounod's Ave Maria and Carols of French Canada arranged by Louis Applebaum. Of particular note, the Junior Choir will premiere First gifts, a piece commissioned in memory of Kathleen Mann (1919-2007). From 1939 until her retirement in 1984, Miss Mann taught every choir boy at the school as the Grade 6 teacher. First gifts was composed by alumnus Kola Owolabi with lyrics by award-winning author Darlene Madott.

The Senior Choir boys, ages 12 to 18, will perform works by Healey Willan, Peter Mathews, Heinrich Schtz and others. The Gentlemen of the Senior Choir, consisting of the Senior Choir's tenors and basses, will sing four selections including a traditional Polish carol entitled Wrd nocnej ciszy (In midnight's stillness), arranged by Jerzy Cichocki, Artistic Director of the Choir School and conductor of the Senior Choirs. These young men will also perform a holiday musical gem by Martin and Blane entitled Have yourself a merry little Christmas. The concert culminates with the Massed Choir (over 200 voices) inviting audiences to join in carols such as The First Nowell and Joy to the World. The choirs will be accompanied on piano and organ by Edward Moroney, Christopher Ku, and Yuri and Nelly Krechkovsky.

For boys and men who attended St. Michael's Choir School and audience members who have shared the Massey Hall concert experience, the piece Christmas Overture remains an enjoyable tradition. This year, the Massed Choir will premiere a new arrangement of the work originally written in 1940 by Choir School founder Monsignor John Edward Ronan. This version features brass accompaniment composed by Howard Cable and performed by one of Canada's leading quintets, True North Brass. Conductor and alumnus Brian Rae returns to the Massey Hall stage to launch this bright new version of Christmas Overture.

Founded in 1937 with the purpose of providing sacred music for services at St. Michael's Cathedral in downtown Toronto, St. Michael's Choir School is a centre for musical and academic excellence. It is one of only six choir schools in the world affiliated with the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music in Rome. Each student admitted to the Choir School is trained in vocal, technical, and instrumental music, and sings in one of the school's choirs. Prominent in music education in Toronto, the Choir School maintains high academic standards, as recognized most recently by the perfect score awarded its academic program by the Fraser Institute. For seventy years, graduates of the Choir School have pursued studies in science, education, medicine, law, business and, of course, music. In the last group are the Crew Cuts and Four Lads of the 1950s and present-day musical artists Michael Schade, John McDermott, Stewart Goodyear, Kevin Hearn (of The Barenaked Ladies), Robert Pomakov, Matt Dusk, Michael Colvin, Claude Morrison (of The Nylons), and Michael Burgess.

Massey Hall, Friday, December 12, 2008, 8 PM and Saturday, December 13, 2008, 3 PM.
Tickets: $36.50$22.50 - Call 416-872-4255 or visit the Roy Thomson Hall Box Office

For more information regarding St. Michael's Choir School, visit

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