Founded in 1978 by Jean Ashworth Bartle, the Toronto Children's Chorus (= TCC) enters its 27th season this year. Recognized as one of the world's leading choral ensembles for children, the Chorus performs with an artistry that inspires audiences and critics alike. Providing life-enhancing experiences through the study and performance of the choral art, the TCC stands as a model in the international children's choir movement.
Over 300 Toronto-area children, aged 7-17, perform with the choir annually. There are six choir levels in the TCC: Preparatory, Training Choirs I, II, and III, a West -end Choir and the Main Choir. In addition, up to 65 children with superior vocal and musical skills are accepted each year to the TCC's touring and recording ensemble, the Chamber Choir. The TCC offers children unique musical, educational and social experiences through the learning and performance of fine repertoire.
The young choir first walked onto the international stage in 1982, winning the coveted first prize at the International Eisteddfod in Wales. Other accolades followed, including first place in the prestigious Let the Peoples Sing Competition in 1993. Over the course of its history, the Toronto Children's Chorus has performed throughout the world, including triumphant debuts at Carnegie Hall (1994), the Kennedy Center (1995), and Royal Albert Hall (2002). The Chorus was also honoured to serve as Artist-in-Residence for international children's choir festivals in Tuscany, Italy (1995) and Sydney, Australia (1999). Tours to Great Britain, France, Holland, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Finland, South Africa, and at home in North America have brought the children's music to the world--and the music of the world to the children.
In July 2003, the TCC participated with choirs from Romania and Estonia at Newfoundland's Festival 500. In 2004, the TCC choirs were joined by a large alumni choir, guest conductors Sir Andrew Davis, Sir David Willcocks, and numerous special guest artists, including Stuart Laughton, trumpet, Russell Hartenberger, percussion, Ben Heppner, tenor, Catherine Robbin, mezzo-soprano and members of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in a Great Gala 25th Anniversary Concert held in Roy Thomson Hall. In the spring of 2004, the Chorus was invited to go to Birmingham at the request of Sir Simon Rattle to participate in a recorded performance of the Gustav Mahler 8th Symphony for EMI. The recording was released in the Spring of 2005 to great critical acclaim and was voted one of the top three recordings of the year by Grammophone Magazine.
The choir's vast repertoire embraces diverse cultures and traditions and covers an extensive range of musical genres - from sacred Renaissance works to challenging contemporary pieces. In fulfilling its mandate to celebrate the composers of its own country, the TCC has commissioned over twenty new Canadian works that have greatly enriched the treble voice repertoire. The choir has also performed with such internationally known conductors as Sir Andrew Davis, Charles Dutoit, the late Elmer Iseler, Michael Lankester, Sir Simon Rattle, Helmuth Rilling, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, the late Klaus Tennstedt, the late Robert Shaw, Bramwell Tovey, and Sir David Willcocks.
Ten CD recordings carry the award-winning sound of the TCC around the world. The newest releases include: A Ceremony of Carols (Marquis/EMI) a compilation of the most popular Christmas selections from the choir's Marquis recordings featuring John Rutter's Dancing Day and Benjamin Britten's A Ceremony of Carols; and A Song for All Seasons (Marquis/EMI) which marked the great milestone of the choir's 25th Anniversary and features the tranquility of Sir David Willcocks' beautiful setting of Psalm 23. The choir also performs frequently on radio and television.
To experience the joy and artistry of each child is an inspiration for all who hear the Chorus. Perhaps the greatest joy, however, is to witness the personal growth that membership in the choir provides to over 300 young people each year. A second TCC generation has now embarked on this exceptional musical journey. The Toronto Children's Chorus is proud to have celebrated a "silver" quarter-century of musical excellence and looks forward to a "golden" future.