One of My Fave Times of the Year

As Christmas approaches, I start to look forward to our Christmas concert. I’m very fortunate to have a decent tenor voice and sing in a wonderful 100 voice oratorio choir, The Toronto Classical Singers.

Tenors and altos rehearse Bach Magnificat

We do three concerts a year under the direction of Jurgen Petrenko, a very talented conductor and organist. The concerts feature all the big names: Bach, Handel, Haydn, Beethoven, Saint-Saens, Mendellsohn etc. We sing in a lovely church in Toronto, Christ Church Deer Park, with beautiful stained glass and a nice sounding organ.

This year, our Christmas concert featured the Bach Magnificat and the Saint-Saens Christmas Oratorio. The Saint-Saens is a beautiful, lyrical work that sounds very French. The Bach is very German and precise with lots of tricky choir bits.

While it is very nice to sing these pieces in front of a sell-out crowd on a Sunday afternoon, my favorite time is the full dress rehearsal on the Saturday morning. For one thing, we aren’t all in our penguin suits and tight bow ties. And, the atmosphere is much more relaxed. Jurgen spends most of his time with the Talisker Players orchestra and the soloists who are coming together for the first time and usually need the trickier changes sorted out. Occasionally, I can sneak out and take pictures of the choir, orchestra and soloists.

Here are some pictures of the dress rehearsal so you can see what goes on behind the scenes before a big concert.

Three talented soloists: Jennifer Taverner (soprano), Sandy Boyes (mezzo) and Danielle MacMillan (mezzo)

A flute duet


The harp in the Sain-Saens is, well, heavenly. It takes a lot of concentration to play this instrument!

The tenor and bass soloists, Zach Finkelstein and Peter McGillivray. The matching sweaters were accidental (or so they said)

Maestro Petrenko conducts the orchestra and choir in the Saint-Saens.

The basses belt it out!

Sopranos and basses.






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