THE ST. JOHN'S CHOIR of St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
is an adult community choir made up of auditioned singers of all ages and all walks of life.The Choir is open to all adults interested in the development and promotion of choral music resident in the eastern Avalon region and 18 years or over. Many Choir members are experienced singers and musicians, while others have experienced the joy of singing in a choir for the first time, but all share a love of singing and a desire to share it with others. The primary mandate of the St. John's Choir is the development and promotion of choral music.
The St. John's Choir has existed for 50 years as a self-financed not-for-profit arts organization funding all operating and performance expenses from admission fees for performances. The Choir's current director is Stephen Candow, and its accompanist is Philip Roberts. These two musicians bring a high degree of artistic focus to the Choir and generously share their wonderful talents with the members each week.
The Choir rehearses weekly in the Basilica of St. John the Baptist. It performs two public concerts each season: at Christmas and in the spring. In addition to the two regular concerts, the Choir's annual schedule includes hosting and performing at a Dessert Party and an Afternoon Tea. The Choir has also performed at other community and charitable events such as the St. John's Christmas Tree Lighting in Bowering Park, Remembrance Day Concert, and Cancer Support Conference.
In April of 2012, the Choir embarked on an 11-day artistic development tour of Ireland, aptly titled "Island to Island" as the next step in its continued commitment to the development and promotion of choral music in Newfoundland and Labrador. As we continue to broaden our experience and repertoire, the Choir will set sail on an 8-day singing/sightseeing riverboat cruise of the Netherlands and Belgium in April of 2014
The St. John's Choir was organized in 1961 as the St. John's Extension Choir of Memorial University of Newfoundland by Dr. Ignatius Rumboldt, one of the Province's foremost musicians and choral conductors. Dr. Rumboldt directed the Choir during its first 20 years. In 1979, when Memorial University discontinued funding its Extension choirs, the Choir became a community choir to ensure that its significant role in the promotion and development of choral music was not lost and continued as The St. John's Choir under the direction of Mrs. Patricia Young. Since that time, the Choir has had many directors and accompanists, and has provided many singers with the opportunity to participate in choral music.
In 1989, the Choir participated in an International Music Festival in London, England, and was awarded a Bronze Medal. The Choir has participated in Festival 500 - Sharing the Voices and the Kiwanis Music Festival, and has sung at community events, conventions, seniors’ homes, fundraisers, and charity events.
The Choir has developed a broad choral repertoire that includes classical, gospel, traditional, spiritual, Broadway, and popular music. In 2001, the Choir, under the direction of Mr. Gary Johnston, commissioned Michael Snelgrove to arrange a medley of Newfoundland traditional folksongs. Entitled "Days Gone By", the Choir premiered this work at Festival 500 in July 2001; in spring 2002 the Choir was honoured to have Michael in the audience for a performance of his work.
For more than 50 years, the St. John's Choir has been an active participant in and contributor to the musical life of the city, and has provided an opportunity for members of the community to come together with one voice.