It is a challenge to develop meaningful programming in the face of an uncertain future. Nevertheless the Orpheus Choir of Toronto proceeds on the assumption that, however the future unfolds, more than ever people hunger for the kind of sustenance that the choral arts are uniquely able to provide.

Now that the 2020-21 season is coming to a close, we look back and realize that what we created looks nothing like what we had envisioned. The year has demanded flexibility and creativity. Nevertheless, we are proud of how we have responded to the challenges we have faced.

Below, and presented in reverse order, is a quick review of our musical year. Be sure to join us for the release of Shining Stars. Follow us on Facebook & Instagram to stay up to date on the latest information. And be sure to subscribe to our YouTube Channel.

Shining Stars

Shining Stars promotion banner

Orpheus brings its 2020-21 season to a close in a grand style. Each of our six Sidgwick Scholars has chosen a favourite art song. From there, Orpheus has commissioned choral arrangements to accompany their solo voices. But that’s not all. Since these works can’t be performed in the traditional sense, we have hired videographers to produce the art song equivalent of music videos, a feast for both the ears and the eyes.

Premiering this summer, the result will be a songbook reflecting the varied tastes and styles of our Sidgwick Scholars. This unique mashup approach to art song will explore each scholar’s musical journey in the preparation of a work, their approach to interpretation, and their personal engagement with the text.

Shining Stars furthers a paradoxical theme that has emerged in the midst of all our efforts this year: unity through separation. We look forward to sharing this with you.

O Salutaris Hostia

Lost In Translation

“Lost in Translation” is a new work by Madox Terrell & Orpheus Apprentice Conductor Kai Leung that radically confronts our changing world, and the role of technology in both enhancing and corrupting communication.

It grapples with the difference between ‘hearing’ and ‘listening’. Based on the concept of the ‘Broken Telephone’ game, “Lost in Translation” incorporates virtual choir, choral samples and electronics, embracing the relationship between medium and message.

Conceived and created during the COVID-19 pandemic, it premiered on March 13, 2021, a year into the global health crisis.

We Shall Walk In Peace

Arranged by Moses Hogan and featuring a baritone solo by Sidgwick Scholar Danlie Rae Acebuque, We Shall Walk In Peace seemed a fitting tribute to our friend, colleague, and staunch supporter, Pierre Zurawicki, who succumbed to complications arising from Covid-19. We will miss him.

Time For Cheer

December 20th 3:00 pm to December 31st 11:59 pm

Time For Cheer - masked singer

Orpheus bridges the digital divide with a stocking stuffer of seasonal favourites, hosted by the multitalented soprano and cabaret vocalist Patricia O’Callaghan. Orpheus welcomes Patricia to our first virtual concert not only as an artist with “a truly exceptional blend of natural expressiveness and masterful coloration” but also as a
proud alumna of our Sidgwick Scholar Program. Festive carols, touching readings, visual sparkle and sweet-singing-in-the-choir will surprise, move and delight you throughout this fast-paced livestream program. Enjoy a sure way to add festive spirit and cheer to your Christmas.

With Orpheus you can expect something different!

“Hands” by Jocelyn Hagen

Orpheus released this video recording of Jocelyn Hagen’s “Hands” on December 1st, 2020 to coincide with Giving Tuesday. Edited by our apprentice conductor, Kai Leung, it was an early effort at compositing individual recordings to simulate a blended choral sound. Although there is no substitute for the deep listening that happens when a choral community gathers in person, we were pleasantly surprised at the result we achieved. Visually, it follows the “square box” layout of early Covid choral efforts throughout the world and yet, as you will see, even then we were trying to push our way outside the box.