Dec. 11: Writers make debut as singers with Handel’s Messiah

The choir B-Xalted! makes its debut with excerpts from Handel’s Messiah — inviting the audience to join in singing the Hallelujah chorus on Dec. 11 at 8 p.m.

The performance takes place at the Church of St. Peter and St. Simon-the-Apostle, 525 Bloor St. E., east of Sherbourne Street.

B-Xalted! is a group of well-known Toronto writers who rejoice greatly in singing and have put aside their laptops to form the choir.

Article continues after this ad

Novelist Barbara Gowdy gave up writing after a cancer scare. She wanted to spend more time with friends and family and be in a more social milieu. Going to Tafelmusik’s Singalong Messiah made her realize she needed music in her life. She put out a call about forming the choir. One of the first to respond was Whitney Smith, who with her became co-founder.

In addition to the founders, B-Xalted!’s members include authors and journalists Marni Jackson, Katherine Ashenburg, Sarah Sheard, and Sarah Hampson; literary biographer Johanne Clare, film writer, director Mitch Moldofsky, theatre artistic director David Craig, painter Susan Stewart,  architect Cheryl Atkinson, crystal artist, designer and photographer Mark Raynes Roberts, and jazz singers Elizabeth Bettencourt, Claire Holland and Catherine Hakes. Other choir members are extremely active on arts organization boards.

Simon Walker conducts, with organist Andrew Adair and soloists Dallas Chorley, soprano; Rebecca Gray, alto; Charles Davidson and David Walsh, tenors; and Nicholas Borg, bass.

Tickets are $25, seniors and students $15 seniors and students, and underemployed $10, available at or at the door.

More information is available online, at the B-Xalted! Facebook page, or by calling 647-823-1233.

Gowdy comments, “Our Messiah will be different from most others in that we bring to it the freshness and vigour of a choir that hasn’t sung it in concert before — a choir that hasn’t even had a concert before. There’s a fearlessness, even a recklessness, to our enterprise. So our joy comes not just from the music, but from the fact that we’re all taking a risk, and we’re taking it together.”