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That Choir is comprised of 26 singers from all different backgrounds; classical and pop vocalists, theatre artists, teachers, arts educators and administrators, publicists, bankers; we run the gamut. What brings us together is a deep love of choral music and singing. Our performance emphasis is on contemporary choral music, by composers such as Eric Whitacre, Morten Lauridsen, Ola Gjeilo, Paul Mealor and others. We are a young group and our mission is to bring the choral arts to audiences, both young and young at heart, who might not have experienced exactly what this music can inspire in the average listener. Our official hashtag “#choirsarecool” comes from our goal to bring choral music into the mainstream, and to show that this isn’t your grandmother’s church choir.
That Choir held its 2014/15 fundraiser at the Byzantium Martini and Supper Club Sunday night, and it was nothing short of hilarious, far surpassing the whimsical, and clearly not your grandmother’s church choir.
Rehearsal nights aren’t just three hours of intense work; they’re a social occasion! I don’t know of one person in the group who doesn’t look forward to seeing the rest of their partners in choral crime on Monday nights. We work hard together and we play even harder. One of the great things about making music together is that it forges life-long friendships.
A tightly knit group, That Choir meshes together seamlessly. United in diversity, the members, be they weathered or new, high or low or somewhere, often unappreciated, in the middle – as made clear by the Alto’s Lament – are a wonderful bunch of people who get on with each other and their audiences, onstage as well as off, with exuberance.
This season we are expanding upon our youth outreach program. We have the Cawthra Park Secondary School Chamber Choir joining us at our holiday concert, That Choir Carols: By Candlelight, where they will join us on a few numbers and will also perform a set on their own. In January 2015, we’ll be recording our second album, That Choir Carols, full of traditional and contemporary choral music for the holiday season, and in May we are headed out to London, Guelph, and Niagara-on-the-Lake on our first tour. In the coming years we hope to tour to the East Coast, where many of our singers hail from, and to other parts of North America to participate in various choral festivals and conferences.
I had a chance to chat with Barb Kaill, GM – as well as lamenting alto – of That Choir, and she was all atwitter about the upcoming season as well as future plans for the group.
We’re very excited to bring our music to communities outside Toronto. We have a great relationship with and have received amazing support from Choirs Ontario, the provincial choral federation, and have been active in their outreach and engagement activities as well. Both London and Guelph have wonderful choral communities and we’re excited not only to perform for them, but to bring our whole Choirs are Cool philosophy to their audiences. A few years ago we performed in Niagara-on-the-Lake and received a very warm response. We can’t wait to get back there again.
That audiences elsewhere would appreciate That Choir, is a given. With their energy, their vigour; their pizzazz, this group of musical miscreants could enthrall from the dankest of dives to the most conceited of concert halls.
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I think a huge misconception about choirs is that they’re stuffy, old, and uninteresting to the average person. We want to share the reality of choral music – it’s for EVERYONE! A That Choir concert is an experience unto its own, and it’s tricky to describe. I’ve heard audience members say they were dragged there by a friend, and 10 minutes in they were hooked. The number of audience members under 45 (not the largest demographic for your standard choir concert) coming back time and time again, season after season, is so inspiring to me! At a recent collaborative appearance with a number of youth choirs, a 15 year old singer tapped me on the shoulder and said, “It’s singing with groups like you guys that make me want to do this.” What an honour to be able to excite a young musician like that!
We are so lucky to have such amazing audiences and fans here in Toronto, performing for them is a complete joy! To those who haven’t been to a show – take a chance, come on out and let us show you what we’re all about. Choirs are Cool; and, I guarantee you won’t be disappointed!
If you didn’t get a chance to see them this weekend, and still want to show support, feel free to make a donation, and help them reach their season goals HERE
Having attended their Byzantine cabaret, I consider myself lucky, and I can attest that this choir…sorry, That Choir is indeed cool, and disappointment is unattainable.