Ontario Youth Choir
The Ontario Youth Choir, founded by Choirs Ontario in 1971, provides a unique opportunity for young singers from across Ontario to work with some of Canada's outstanding choral leaders. Every summer 40 talented young singers audition to take part in an exciting programme of rehearsals, masterclasses and voice lessons. The choristers are challenged with the finest choral repertoire while enjoying the camaraderie of talented colleagues. This year the choir will rehearse and stay on the beautiful campus of the University of Toronto under the inspired leadership of conductor Dr. Elroy Friesen. There will be a three-city tour finishing with the final concert in Toronto on August 25, 2013. OYC is an unforgettable experience; fun and friendship for the singers, and extraordinary training with skilled professionals. There are now over 1,300 OYC alumni who continue to enrich their communities as choristers, conductors, accompanists, composers, educators and soloists.
This year, OYC takes place from Friday, August 16 to Sunday, August 25, 2013. To be eligible, singers must have been born between August 25, 1989 and August 16, 1997.
Each singer's responsibilities include learning the music received before arriving in Toronto and working with others to make the OYC experience a valuable one for all. The fee of $575.00 includes accommodation, meals, lessons, and masterclasses. Choristers are responsible for their travel costs to and from OYC.
Auditions will be held in the spring in various cities. To apply for an audition, complete the attached form and send it, an outline of your musical background, a letter of recommendation and the audition fee of $40 to the Choirs Ontario office by February 18, 2013. You will receive a letter or e-mail with the location and time of your audition.
Please prepare two contrasting solos and bring two copies of each. Ear and sight-reading tests will be administered and an accompanist provided.
Live auditions are preferable, but recorded auditions (on CD) will be allowed in special circumstances. We are also pleased to offer auditions via Skype for choristers unable to attend a live audition do to geographical distance. Please contact the Choirs Ontario office if you wish to audition by submitting a CD or via Skype.
Acceptance letters will be mailed in April 2013.
Dr. Elroy Friesen
Described as “innovative, expressive, and dynamic,” Elroy Friesen is Director of Choral Studies at the University of Manitoba where he conducts numerous choirs, and teaches graduate and undergraduate conducting and music education. Recently publishing his research on the choral music of Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara, Elroy continues to pursue his passion of study and performance of new Nordic repertoire – especially new Canadian works. His award-winning ensembles tour nationally and internationally, and are frequently recorded and broadcasted by the CBC. They enjoy collaborating with many outstanding local and national arts organizations, including the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Canadian College of Organists, Canzona, WSO New Music Festival, Soundstreams Canada, Groundswell, Vancouver Chamber Choir, Musik Barock Ensemble, Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, and the National Arts Center Orchestra.
Dr. Friesen studied at the University of Manitoba (B. Mus., B. Ed., M. Mus.) and at the University of Illinois (DMA) receiving numerous scholarships and grants from the Manitoba Arts Council, the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Foundation for Choral Music in Manitoba. He is the Founder and past Artistic Director of Prairie Voices and has held positions of Artistic Director of the Mennonite Community Orchestra, Director of Choirs at St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Urbana, and Director of the University Chorus in Champaign, Illinois. He is in demand as a clinician, adjudicator, and guest conductor throughout Canada, the United States, and Northern Europe. Elroy and his wife Heidi are raising their family of four children in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Elizabeth McDonald, Vocal Coach
Canadian soprano Elizabeth McDonald is having a diverse career as a performer and teacher. As a young artist with both the Santa Fe Opera and the Canadian Opera Company, Elizabeth understudied and performed a number of major roles including Elettra in Mozart’s Idomeneo, The Woman in choenberg’s Erwartung, Miss Jessel in Britten’s Turn of the Screw, and Jenufa in Janecek’s Jenufa. She has appeared with the National Ballet Orchestra, the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra, and the Kingston Symphony and is a regular recitalist having been recently featured at the Virginia Polytechnic University and the Universities of Toronto, Lethbridge and Carlton. Elizabeth holds a Master of Music from the Eastman School of Music and a Bachelor of Music in Performance from the University of Toronto where she currently serves on the voice faculty.
Peter Barnes, Vocal Coach
Peter Barnes is a versatile baritone with a reputation for outstanding performances in opera, oratorio, concert and musical theatre. He graduated from the University of Toronto Opera Division in 1985 and since then has appeared with opera companies and orchestras from coast to coast. His achievements include honours in the "Du Maurier Search for the Stars", the National Bach Aria Competition, the CG Young Performers' Competition and as a cast member of the Phantom of the Opera.
How to Apply
Choirs Ontario gratefully acknowledges the generous assistance of The University of Toronto, The Ontario Trillium Foundation, The Toronto Community Foundation, The Toronto Arts Council and The Ontario Arts Council.