Meet our new Assistant Conductor!

The Grand Philharmonic Choir is pleased to announce that Thomas Corken has been appointed as its assistant conductor.

“Tom brings infectious enthusiasm and strong musicianship to his work on the podium, and he will strengthen the organization’s ability to take on outreach and educational opportunities,” said Mark Vuorinen, who is artistic director and conductor of the choir.

Corken began in November, and his term will continue until June 2023, with the possibility of being engaged with the choir for an additional year.

He will lead sectional rehearsals and enrich other aspects of the choir’s concert preparation. He will also take on outreach and other public events; and he will choose the repertoire and conduct a full concert in March 2023 with the choir’s Chamber Singers ensemble.

“I am thrilled to start my work with the Grand Philharmonic Choir,” Corken said.

“I am a great supporter of Canadian choral music, and relish the opportunity to share music with the singers from a variety of contemporary composers. I look forward to sharing my love of choral music, and I hope to learn more about my craft as a conductor.”

Corken is currently completing a Master’s degree in Choral Conducting at Western University, where he is the assistant conductor of Chorale, a mixed-voice ensemble. He is a Canada Graduate Scholar and was awarded the Ontario Graduate Scholarship and the Deral Johnson Legacy Award in Choral Conducting. He completed his undergraduate work at McMaster University, and has also worked with the Hamilton Children’s Choir, as co-director of its changing-voice ensemble Profunda, and as a rehearsal assistant for several years with Zimfira Poloz.

Tom is currently the assistant conductor of the Pride Men’s Chorus of London, and sings with the Huron College Chapel Choir as a choral scholar. He is Kodály Level One certified, and has contributed to Dynamic, Choir Ontario’s online magazine.

The Grand Philharmonic Choir manages four choirs in one organization: adult symphonic; adult chamber; youth; and children. We present a total of eight formal concerts a year, and our singers also perform at other events such as Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony concerts, and at Christkindl Market in December. Our choirs also provide music education to singers of all ages, and we share our deep love of music with the public through outreach events.

Vuorinen has been the choir’s artistic director since 2010. Under his leadership, the choir has presented some of the most innovative and ambitious programming in the country, while also offering the well-loved classic choral works to appreciative audiences.

This season, the choir is also celebrating its 100th anniversary with a rich array of concerts and special events.

We are seeking a part-time Administrative Assistant to be part of a three-person administrative team, which supports music activities, singers, conductors, families and other stakeholders of the choir.

Details can be found here: Job posting for GPC AA

The Grand Philharmonic Choir seeks an Assistant Conductor to begin in the 2022-2023 season.  Position and application details can be found here.

Composer Aaron Manswell wins Canada-wide composition competition with a new work  inspired by gospel and civil rights

KITCHENER — Aaron Manswell of Toronto is the winner of a Canada-wide composition competition, with Stick with Love, a gospel-style choral work that uses text from Martin Luther King Jr.The competition, sponsored by the Kitchener-based Grand Philharmonic Choir, is in its fifth year and had a record number of entries this year from young Canadian composers across the country.The winning work will be premiered May 28, 2022, at a concert at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, Kitchener.An honourable mention also went to Candace Bustard of Ottawa for her work, It’s All Love. “I am delighted by the response of this year’s composition competition,” said Dr. Mark Vuorinen, artistic director of the Grand Philharmonic Choir and Elora Singers, and also chair of music at Conrad Grebel University College at the University of Waterloo. Vuorinen led the team of three jurors who assessed the 26 entries.“The overall quality of works was quite high, making it a challenge to choose a winner.  Nevertheless, the winning work, Stick with Love, is an inspiring gospel-style piece with a wonderfully rhythmic piano part and memorable, singable melodies. Its poetry, from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., is topical and timely.” Manswell said:  “Stick with Love is a song meant to further the requisite message of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.“I’m honoured for this piece to win the competition, but I’m more so proud that his legacy will continue in this forum.”Manswell is a native of Toronto, Ontario. He has earned music composition degrees from Oakwood University and the University of Memphis. He is the former Wind Band Conductor at Crawford Adventist Academy, leading the concert bands to city-wide awards. He composed the original score for the sci-fi film “H.E.N.R.I” (Katarzyna Kochany & Ryan Singh) and “Soap Dish” (Troy Crossfield & Sheronna Osbourne), premiered at the Toronto and Montreal Black Film Festivals.Manswell’s style of writing is heavily influenced by the genres of R&B, classical, and gospel music. He has worked and produced for various artists including being the Music Director for JUNO award-winning R&B artist Savannah Ré.Currently, he is the composer-in-residence for the McMillan Singers at the University of Toronto, where he is completing his Doctor of Musical Arts in Composition.The choir’s composition competition is intended to foster the work of emerging Canadian composers and carries a $2,000 prize. Entrants must be 30 or under. Winners and entrants have come from across the country and have worked in both English and French.In addition to Vuorinen, the jurors were: Dr. Melissa Morgan, assistant professor of choral music at University of Regina, and director of the university’s concert choir and chamber singers; and Dr. Kari Turunen, artistic director of the Vancouver Chamber Choir. They judge the submitted works without knowing the identity of the entrants. All contestants receive assessments of their work.Candace Bustard received an honourable mention for her poignant It’s All Love. It is an a cappella work with “interesting rhythmic cross-relations and dark and dissonant harmonies.  This inspiring work is personal and intimate,” the jurors said.Bustard is an emerging composer and pianist based in Ottawa, Ontario. She has recently won first place in Jâca’s emerging composer competition with her piece, Melodies from my Mother. She is currently earning her Master of Music in composition at the University of Ottawa. Her bachelor’s degree is from University of Waterloo, where she studied composition with Dr. Karen Sunabacka and Dr. Kelly-Marie Murphy.“I am so thankful and delighted to receive recognition for my piece, and I want to thank the jury for this great honour. It’s All Love is a piece very close to my heart; written after the passing of my grandmother in November 2021. This piece was my expression of grief, and the sentiment of hope, peace, and praise I know she would have wanted conveyed.”The Grand Philharmonic Choir gratefully acknowledges the support of the Ontario Arts Council, the Wallenstein Feed Charitable Foundation, the Region of Waterloo and the Cities of Kitchener and Waterloo for their support of the choir’s activities, including this competition.For more information, please contact:Mark Vuorinen, artistic director, Grand Philharmonic Choir: markvuorinen@grandphilchoir.com Aaron Manswell, competition winner: aarontmanswell@gmail.com

Singers ages 7 – 14 are welcome to join the children’s choir NOW. Register for the 2022-23 season at this link  GPCC registration

A Kitchener musician is thrilled that her song about winter will be sung by children around the world this weekend.

Ella Latta Suazo is a singer-songwriter, a student in the community music program at Wilfrid Laurier University, and the assistant conductor of the Grand Philharmonic Children’s Choir.

During the pandemic lockdowns, this choir has connected online with eight other children’s choirs in India, South Africa, Scotland, Germany and the United States. The project is called Children’s Choirs Connecting.

“Each choir takes a turn, teaching us music of a celebration in their culture,” said Andrea deBoer-Jones, conductor of the Grand Philharmonic Children’s Choir and the organizer of this project.

On Sunday, local children will share photos and videos of themselves playing in the snow, and the online group will sing Latta Suazo’s “Winter Canon” together, using Latta Suazo’s recording as a guide.

The children joining from abroad will be from such far-flung places as the Cape Town Children’s Choir in South Africa; the Singing Tree children’s choir in Mumbai, India; the Glasgow Youth Choir in Scotland; and Young Voices of Colorado in the United States.

“I’m really excited to have my song sung by kids around the world in this workshop,” said Latta Suazo.

“It’s also very special to have it be a musical representation of our Canadian winters, and to help show kids in places without snow what we like to do in the snowy weather. This opportunity to connect children across the globe is so unique, and a huge positive to learning how to build community online.”

“Winter Canon” is a round, in which a musical line or verse is repeatedly sung at different times by different voices (think of “Row, row, row your boat”).

The song recalls snowflakes softly falling, and hot chocolate to share. On Sunday, a recording made by Latta Suazo will be played and each child will join in from home.

During the pandemic, choirs everywhere have had difficulty rehearsing and performing in person. The Grand Philharmonic youth, children’s and adult choirs have responded by reaching out online to make connections with other choirs across Canada and around the world.

DeBoer-Jones said it’s a great experience for children to experience music from around the world. They also get to meet and chat with young singers worldwide, talking about choir and everyday life in their country.

“It has been an amazing experience and we’re hoping to do it next year,” said deBoer-Jones.

“The great thing is that the conductors (who have also never met), are now great friends and have choirs to exchange or visit with for the future! More collaboration!”

Singers ages 7 – 14 are welcome to join the children’s choir NOW. Register at this link  GPCC registration

The Music in the Woods event has been rescheduled! Reserve your spot HERE!

All children and youth ages 7 – 23 can register for our 2021-22 Season.

REGISTER TODAY!

We have a winner! Matthew Emery is the winner of our 4th annual Choral Works composition competition. His work for youth choir, We Two, will be premiered in spring 2022 and is a setting of a poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox. Emery’s composition was one of a record 24 submissions in the competition, which is for composers across Canada who are 30 or under. Emery receives a $1,500 prize and will be invited to the rehearsals and premiere of the work. The complete press release can be found HERE

ChoirLab, a Virtual Music Experience, is coming July 27 – 31 for kids ages 7-14 and July 27 – 29 for youth age 15-23.

Click for more details.

ChoirLab, a Virtual Music Experience, is coming July 27 – 31 for kids ages 7 -14 and July 27-29 for youth who are age 15-23. Discount for all participants who sign up for our fall season!
Click for more details.

On March 20th, the Grand Philharmonic Choir board of directors made the difficult but inevitable decision to cancel the remainder of our season.

The public health emergency we are all facing, with authorities urging that gatherings over 50 people be cancelled, has made it impossible to continue.

We are deeply disappointed, and we know audience members are, too.

If you have a ticket, you may choose to have your money refunded, or you can turn that amount into a donation and receive a tax receipt. (The choir is a registered charity).

Please be in touch with the Centre In The Square box office at 519-578-1570 to make arrangements. (it is open Monday through Friday, 10 am to 4 pm, but only online or by phone)

Alternatively, you can email our executive director with your preference. Reach Luisa D’Amato at executive@grandphilchoir.com

Thank you for your understanding.

© 2022 Grand Philharmonic Choir