Canada’s choral community wouldn’t be the same without the Amadeus Choir.
The 35-year-old North York choir is well known for its vocal mastery and its presentation of both classical and contemporary pieces whether accompanied or a cappella.
With conductor Lydia Adams at its helm for the past 26 years,
the choir has enriched the community with the release of CDs, cross country tours and its work with other prominent local ensembles including the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, True North Brass and the Hannaford Street Silver Band.
Adams who also serves as the choir’s artistic director says it’s important the choir performs a mix of music including that of the great masters like Mozart, Bach and Beethoven.
“And we really do a lot of contemporary work,” Adams says. “We will commission brand new works from Canadian composers.”
As the conclusion to its 35th season, Amadeus Choir’s 85 singers present Rhythms of Latin America at the Toronto Centre for the Arts’ George Weston Recital Hall on May 15.
Amadeus singers will be joined onstage by Spanish guitarist Michael Savona and Argentinean tango dancers Deiter Hessel and Colleen Clancey to present a colourful night of Latin American music entirely sung in Spanish.
At the concert the choir will perform Canadian composer Sid Robinovitch’s “Canciones por las Americas” and Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s “Romancero Gitano”, a set of seven gypsy ballads from Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca.
“Lorca was a brilliant Spanish poet — and coincidentally one of my favourites — and it is really exciting to see how Tedesco took the feelings evoked by reading the poetry and translated it into music,” says Caroline Bonner, the choir’s president.
Bonner first joined Amadeus in 2002 as a way to challenge her voice.
“To be completely honest, I didn’t know anything about the Amadeus Choir when I joined. I asked my voice teacher at the time, and she was quite familiar with many of the choirs in the GTA and thought that the Amadeus Choir and (Adams) would be a good fit for me,” Bonner says.
She was hooked after her first season.
“The choir is a group of wonderful people from all walks of life who come together to share the joy of singing,” Bonner says.
A few weeks back Bonner sat out for a portion of a rehearsal and listened to the choir sing.
“I was sitting there looking at the group, realizing that there are teachers, accountants, students, professional singers, social workers, etc. — people of all ages, backgrounds, walks of life — all coming together and creating such a beautiful sound … It is truly amazing.”
It’s members like Bonner that keep Amadeus alive, says Adams.
“I love the Amadeus Choir for their spirit … the way they attack the music,” she says.
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