THE SHOVEL | Toronto Mendelssohn Choir wants a fresh start and a new connection


In 2018, the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir was struck by the brutal resignation of its famous conductor, mired in controversy. Two years later, along with the whole world, they closed themselves indefinitely amid a pandemic that made singing a health hazard.

In what would have rocked the best of us, the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir cheerfully stayed the course. They found a suitable artistic director in the person of Jean-Sébastien Vallée in Quebec. Last week they hired a new collaborative pianist.

Today, they are heralding a post-pandemic season that sees Canada’s premier choir come out of tough times with a fresh start – a season designed for a choir with a renewed sense of belonging and belonging.


“After the challenges we have all faced over the past 18 months, we are delighted to bring our voices together again, not despite these challenges, but rather to express them in a meaningful way,” said artistic director Jean Sébastien Valley.

In addition to reconnecting with TMC audiences, there is also a new surprise commission for composer Barbara Assiginaak.

“I am very honored to be invited to work with the Tkaronto Mendelssohn choir and to seek a way to honor my ancestors and my family who did not always have a voice, or who had no one to listen to them,” says Assiginaak. “It is a huge responsibility that I carried as the child of a residential school survivor, through decades of working through the medium of so-called classical music and finding a way to uphold this tradition while honoring Anishinaabeg traditions and language. Chi miigwetch.

Highlights of the season

Come Take Me Home – November 2, 2021

  • What: The chariot jubilee by Nathaniel Dett and Ein deutsches Requiem by Johannes Brahms
  • Who: Jonelle Sills (soprano) and Brett Polegato (baritone) with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra Chamber Orchestra

Song Festival – December 1, 2021

  • What: Lauda per the Nativitá del Signore by Ottorino Respighi. Music and song selections by Andrew Balfour, Sally Beamish, Rosephanye Powell, Hyo-Won Woo and many more.
  • Who: Jean-Sébastien Vallée and Simon Rivard conduct the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra

Sacred music for a sacred space – April 13 and 15, 2022

  • What: Vigil all night by Sergei Rachmaninoff. selected works by Nathaniel Dett
  • Who: Simon Rivard and Brainerd Blyden-Taylor conduct the Nathaniel Dett Chorale, the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir

Endangered – May 28, 2022

  • What: Creation by Barbara Assiginaak – a TMC commission and Mass for people in danger by Sarah Kirkland Snider (Canadian premiere)
  • Who: Jean-Sébastien Vallée and Simon Rivard conduct the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, Chamber Orchestra and Solists


All of the season’s events will be broadcast worldwide. For fully vaccinated people, you can purchase limited in-person tickets.

The concerts will take place at Yorkminster Park Baptist Church (Yonge and St. Clair).

Tickets for online events will be available on October 1, 2021 and later this month for in-person tickets.

Full season details [HERE].


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Michel vincent
Latest articles by Michael Vincent (see everything)
Michel vincent
Latest articles by Michael Vincent (see everything)

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