A message from our Youth Choir conductor, Dr. Tracy Wong:
I hope you and your loved ones are well and safe during this challenging time, and that you are able to have some time to breathe, rest, and reset this summer. It has been a busy Spring & Summer on our end, with multiple professional development trainings for choral leaders and discussions with colleagues across the country and around the world… all with the goal of shared resources and knowledge on leading our choirs during uncertain times. I have also had the opportunity to check in and connect with many singers to better understand your concerns and discuss ideas on developing unique opportunities for our choir. With this, I am excited to announce very exciting updates for GPYC’s upcoming season.
What will GPYC look like in 2020-21?
Following health and safety guidelines, GPYC will be online in Fall, with the possibility of in-person activities (again, pending health and safety guidelines). Please know that this is a year where we will need to be extraordinarily flexible on all fronts as we react to changes in the virus and the situations around us. We will focus on unique opportunities in developing well-rounded and independent musicians through a redesigned choral process. In the absence of live musical engagement and performances, we will be focusing on the values of the rehearsal process through a deeper study of choral literature and performance practice, the development of vocal and musical skills, and participation in creative collaborations through technology. There will be opportunities to engage with peers, guest musicians, and other choirs. We will also be a part of collaborative projects with GPCC.
During this pandemic, six youth choir conductors across the country and I have decided to combine our resources, ideas, and connections in order to provide our youth choirs with exciting artistic and educational content from the safety of our own homes. With that, we have founded the Bridge Choral Collective, an exciting and new consortium of Canadian youth choirs. We have designed a wide array of virtual programming for our combined memberships. Imagine what would usually be a weekend choral festival / workshop with one choral artist… but stretched out across FOUR MONTHS with EIGHT ARTISTS (including the Grammy winning multi-talented Jacob Collier from UK).
Details about the Bridge Choral Collective:
The Bridge Choral Collective (https://www.bridgechoralcollective.ca) represents a bold cross-Canada initiative to generate thrilling new music, rooted in justice, in a time of global contemplation. It cements the bonds among some of Canada’s most innovative youth and young adult choirs, and brings them together to explore and create in partnership with guest artists from around the world. The Bridge Choral Collective Partner choirs are:
Corazón Vocal Ensemble (Nelson, BC)
Grand Philharmonic Youth Choir (Kitchener, ON)
Kokopelli Choirs (Edmonton, AB)
Prairie Voices (Winnipeg, MB)
Toronto Youth Choir (Toronto, ON)
Vancouver Youth Choir (Vancouver, BC)
As a member of the Bridge Choral Collective, GPYC will participate in ONLINE workshops with all of the following artists:
- Conductor Llente Pitout and members of the University of Pretoria Youth Choir (South Africa)
- Moira Smiley (USA)
- Michael McGlynn and members of Anúna (Ireland)
- Jason Max Ferdinand and members of the Aeolians of Oakwood University (USA)
- OPTIONAL post-secondary / music industry career track interest sessions
How do you participate in Bridge Choral Collective?
By being a member of GPYC’s upcoming 2020-21 season, you ARE a member of the Bridge Choral Collective! No additional participation fees.
GPYC continues to have rehearsals on Monday evenings, 7-9pm, on Zoom. Some of our Bridge activities will take place during the same evenings, while others will take place on Saturday afternoons. The timing for Bridge workshops are to accommodate the time zones of our international guests as well as our partner choirs in various time zones.
See our tentative schedule here.
In addition to our Bridge workshops, we will be keeping ourselves energized throughout the entire season through collaborative projects with GPCC, focus on building our skills as independent musicians, have immersive experiences in music technology and studio recording (with a workshop by Cherie Chai, Singapore), PLUS a few choral music premieres. With Bridge, we look outward to gain knowledge, awareness, and understanding of the global community. With GPYC’s own activities, we look inward to empower ourselves as all-rounded musicians – body, mind, and heart. This is the balance I hope for all singers in GPYC in the coming season.
- If you know someone who is interested in auditioning for GPYC, you are welcomed to pass this information along. Do follow https://www.facebook.com/bridgechoral and https://www.instagram.com/bridgechoralcollective/ to check out the daily posts about the choirs and artists we will be collaborating with.
- Register for GPYC 2020-21 season HERE!
- Amy and I will reach out to all registered singers to book a one-on-one vocal check-in with me (online), scheduled for the first week of September.
- Get excited to meet youth singers from 5 other choirs across Canada and a line-up of amazing international artists!
I am grateful for Mrs DJ, Rachel, Madi, Amy, Luisa, Nathalie, Mark, GPYC families, and the GPC Board – I can’t imagine collaborating and planning our way through the pandemic without their unending support.
In the words of Kellie Walsh, noted Canadian choral leader: If a choir is only about singing and performing – there will be no choir for a while. If choir is about teaching and learning, growing, connecting, community, cultural exploration and transmission, and innovating – we will find a way to have choir.
Best wishes to you,
Tracy Wong, DMA
Conductor, Grand Philharmonic Youth Choir
What Our Singers and Families Say
“I just wanted to let you know how much we loved the concert yesterday. You have done remarkable things with this group. Our daughter comes home from rehearsal every week very excited about the repertoire and eager to tell us about the things you’ve discussed.”
– Alex Latta, parent of Youth Choir singer
“This choir has an amazing sense of community that I haven’t been able to find anywhere else.”
– Hanna Nopper, Youth Choir singer
More About the Grand Philharmonic Youth Choir
Our Youth Choir is a wonderful way for 14- to 23-year-old male and female singers to make beautiful music in a warm and friendly atmosphere.
Our conductor, Dr. Tracy Wong, is an award-winning musician and composer. Tracy recently completed her Doctor of Musical Arts (Choral Conducting) degree from the University of Toronto, and is currently Assistant Professor and Choral Director at McMaster University. She has a wealth of choral conducting experience in Canada and Asia. Our Assistant Conductor is Rachel Kalap, a multi-talented vocalist and musician, and long-time member of the Grand Philharmonic Choir family.
The youth choir started in 1998. It has excelled in competition. Highlights include winning top prize in 2012 for mixed choir at the Summa cum Laude international festival in Salzburg, Austria, and first prize in Ontario at the Kiwanis Festival in 2014.
Highlights of past seasons include a workshop and performance with Baroque expert Joseph Gascho from the University of Michigan, featuring excerpts from Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas (2017). We toured and performed in Italy, Croatia and Slovenia (2016), sang in Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem (2013) and performed parts of Bach’s great St. Matthew Passion in April 2019.
We rehearse Monday evenings. Rehearsals give us the opportunity to integrate music theory, sight singing, vocal production skills and more — in a fun, supportive community.