ChoralWorks is preparing to re-launch after two long years of COVID cancellations. The 30-voice, classically oriented chamber choir is preparing to treat Collingwood to a wonderful performance of Messiah, the perennial Christmas holiday favourite.
The choir’s inaugural concert, back in 2013, featured Benjamin Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols. Since then ChoralWorks has developed a loyal following for its twice-annual concert presentations; one as winter begins and a second as spring sets in every May. The choir consists of people of a variety of ages and backgrounds, all with experience in producing high-quality choral sound and a commitment to working together on music from Mozart to Fauré, Bach to Britten, Orff and Rutter to Handel and with lots in between including tuneful medleys based on the shows of Andrew Lloyd Webber, Les Misérables and The Beatles.
The choir is led by Brian Rae, a key figure for many years at Saint Michael’s Cathedral as organist and at the world-renowned Saint Michael’s Choir School as choral director and also tour director for the choir’s many trips across Canada and Europe, the United States and as far south as Trinidad and Tobago. Rae, and Del, his wife of 59 years, moved to Collingwood to ski and bike and to enjoy the peaceful retirement offered by Georgian Bay life. He was soon engaged in local music at St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church and directing another local community choir. He was then approached to lead a new choir by a few founding members, passionate about classical choral music, and the rest, as they say, is history. Rae donates his time and energy to ChoralWorks and his efforts have made a significant impression on music in Collingwood.
This season, the choir will be regularly accompanied in rehearsal by Colin Eccles, a supremely talented local musician, teacher and music director at Emmanuel Presbyterian Church.
This fall, in addition to Handel’s great Messiah (Hallelujah, For Unto Us A Child is Born etc) there will also be some carols to help us celebrate not only the holiday season but, perhaps as important, to celebrate the end of COVID closures. In the spring of 2020 the choir had a beautiful concert programme organized and rehearsed when COVID struck, and, of course, it had to be cancelled.
COVID caused some retirements, and ChoralWorks is looking for new members of all voice categories with low male voices especially welcome. Whether you are a longtime resident of the area, or a new arrival, ChoralWorks could be your new singing home. Trinity United Church is where the choir rehearses every Monday beginning at seven o’clock. Anyone interested in being part of this group is welcome to call Brian Rae at 705-444-5857.