LSM Newswire

Friday, January 4, 2008

[Ottawa] Robbie Burns: A Celebration!

"Robbie Burns: A Celebration" marks the premiere concert of Ottawa's newest choir, the Ottawa Folk Choir, directed by Kurt Ala-Kantti, Mary Ann Rose accompanist, on Sunday, January 27th, 3 pm, at MacLeod Stewarton United Church, 507 Bank Street (at Argyle).

The show will feature all sorts of Scottish music and dance to celebrate the Bard's birthday, from the lively Scottish Folkloric Dancing of the MacCulloch Dancers, the crooning voice of much loved local baritone Garth Hampson, the unique and splendid sound of the Celtic Harp, played by Joanne Griffin, the excitement of the young singers of the Cross Town Youth Chorus, the striking beauty of the violin, performed by Kevin James, the lively sounds of the Harmonia Choir of Ottawa, and of course, the host choir for this event, the newly formed Ottawa Folk Choir.

"This is going to be a very exciting way of launching this new choir," says Ottawa Folk's Choir Director Kurt Ala-Kantti. "The choir can't wait to get out on stage at their own concert for the first time, and I think the audience will enjoy the mix of fun choral music, with the bagpipes, violin, and Celtic Harp."

There will also be a Silent Auction held at the intermission, and after the show.

Tickets are $15, $10 seniors and students, (FREE to children and youth) and will be available at the door, or from The Leading Note, 370 Elgin St.

More information from the choir's website:, and 613-833-1812

Ottawa Folk Choir
"Robbie Burns: A Celebration"
with host Garth Hampson
and the MacCulloch Dancers
Sunday, Jan. 27th, 3 pm
MacLeod Stewarton United Church, 507 Bank Street (At Argyle)

Tickets: $15; seniors $10 (children and youth free)
Available at the door or in advance at: Leading Note 370 Elgin


Ottawa Folk Choir was formed this season, as a project of the Harmonia Choir of Ottawa, to provide a 'training choir' for adults, and to perform wonderful music from the folk traditions of Canada, and around the world. The result is a group of about 25 singers, of all faiths and abilities, who have come together to find and/or extend their singing voice while celebrating different vocal sounds, and harmonies from coast to coast, and around the world. More information from the choir's website,

MacCulloch Dancers:
Rae MacCulloch, the founder of the MacCulloch School of Dancing, began teaching in the fall of 1954. Today the troupe performs under the direction of Rae and her daughters, Heather Forbes and Deborah Wheeler. The MacCulloch Dancers perform Scottish Folkloric and Canadian Step Dancing, danced to the lively tunes of Scotland's bagpipes and the Irish, French, and Scottish fiddle. They have met with much success and recognition on the international scene, having performed across Canada, the United States and Scotland. Recently they have represented Canada in Disney World, Florida, Idaho and Utah, U.S.A., Puerto Rico, the Republic of China, Spain, Belgium, Mexico, Bulgaria, the Netherlands, France and Scotland. During the summer of 2005 the troupe's travels brought them to France and Scotland. It was a great honour to perform with the Sons of Scotland Pipe Band for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and her granddaughter, Princess Beatrice. This was truly a remarkable and memorable experience. In 2007 the MacCulloch Dancers represented Canada in France in August and Russia in September.

Cross Town Youth Chorus is an unauditioned choir that provides an opportunity for children and youth 5 to 10 and 11 to 15 years of age in the City of Ottawa and surrounding areas to join together in friendship and song. Rehearsing in two locations, to reach as many youth as possible, each group consists of two choirs, the Junior Choir, ages 5-10, and the Senior Choir for ages 11-15, and performs its own pieces, as well as joining together for joint numbers. CTYC presents their own concerts, while also taking part in other concerts and community events. In past years they have been guests of the Cobblestones, the Cumberland Community Singers, the Harmonia Choir of Ottawa, the Atlantic Voices, and the Amabile Choir of Nepean, have performed at Centrepointe Theatre several times and is a regular participant in the "Orleans Christmas Choirfest". This year the choir will perform with Cantiamo Training Choir for their Christmas Concert, Ottawa Folk Choir for a Robbie Burns concert, as well as return engagements with the Harmonia Choir and Cumberland Community Singers.

Harmonia Choir of Ottawa, a choir of about 40 voices, was formed in 2003 to give singers in the "new" City of Ottawa an opportunity to perform fun and challenging choral music from Canada and around the world. The result is a group of singers with a wide range of choral experience from around the city, and around the globe, performing a broad range of repertoire with a focus on promoting local, and Canadian composers and compositions. The choir has performed in concert with various local musicians, including organist Wesley Warren, pianist and composer James Wright, the Maple Leaf Brass, and the Ottawa Chamber Orchestra. In 2005 the choir performed for the South African High Commission, and this year was again invited to be the choir for Ottawa's version of "Last Night of the Proms." In addition to commissioning and premiering new works, and arrangements, in most their concerts, the choir has taken on various projects; an Apprentice Directorship, a programme to give aspiring young choral conductors an opportunity to gain some "hands on" experience with a choir, a Composer-in-Residence programme, the Ottawa Folk Choir, a 'training choir' for adult singers, and Harmonia's Canadian Choral Composition Competition, to continue to encourage new compositions, based on Canadian texts. More info at

Kurt Ala-Kantti
directs the Ottawa Folk Choir, which he founded this season. He is also director and founder of Harmonia Choir of Ottawa, a choir he started in 2003 to promote and perform the music of Canadian and local composers, in addition to traditional choral music. Mr. Ala-Kantti is also Choirmaster at St. Mark's Anglican Church, Cumberland, Artistic Director of Cross Town Youth Chorus, and Music Director for the Cumberland Community Singers, and the Ottawa Brahms Choir. In the past, he has served for several years as Assistant-Director of the Ottawa Regional Youth Choir, directed by Barbara Clark, was Director of their Young Men's Chorus, and was Music Director for Atlantic Voices. Kurt has studied vocal performance with Charlotte Stewart and choral conducting Dr. Lisette Canton, Wesley Warren and Barbara Clark, and is currently continuing to pursue studies in music at Carleton University. With a keen interest in choral performance and excellence, he has been a member of several local choirs, including the Ottawa Regional Youth Choir, under Barbara Clark, and Ottawa Choral Society, under Brian Law. Currently he is a member of the critically acclaimed Ottawa Bach Choir, with which he has performed in Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, Nova Scotia, Mexico, Germany and Austria.


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