About the Choir
The Amadeus Choir is under the direction of conductor and artistic director Lydia Adams. The Choir has become known for its professionalism, exceptional musicality, and diverse, high-quality programming – all a reflection of the leadership provided by Ms. Adams. During her time as Conductor and Artistic Director (since 1984), the choir has grown significantly in size and reputation to become one of Canada’s pre-eminent choral groups. Founded in 1975, the Amadeus Choir performs a regular series of concerts at carefully selected downtown Toronto venues, presenting well-known artists in works by Canadian and international composers, including major works with instrumental ensembles or full orchestra, as well as challenging a cappella performances.
In 1987, Lydia Adams created the Amadeus Choir’s Seasonal Song-Writing Competition which presents an opportunity to compose a song of up to 5 minutes duration to celebrate the Winter Solstice, Christmas or Chanukah. The competition has grown over the years to include submissions from around the world. It now serves as an inspiration to composers of all ages and experience to write new works, enriching Canada’s outstanding choral tradition. In 1994 the Choir recorded Ring-a-the News! which featured a number of winning carols from this competition.
I always leave an Amadeus Choir concert with my spirits lifted… Lydia Adams is a musical force of nature. -Mary Lou Fallis, soprano
The Amadeus Choir regularly competed in the prestigious biennial CBC Choral Competition, winning awards in 1992, 1994 and 1996 before becoming ineligible due to the Choir’s semi-professional status. In 2000, the singers traveled to Alberta on their first tour, and were enthusiastically received at each of their concerts. They performed at two prestigious festivals (ACCC and ISME), and took the opportunity to launch their CD, Songs of the Spirit, featuring works by Canadian composers Eleanor Daley, Srul Irving Glick and Barry Peters, and a work by Andrea Gabrieli, Missa 4 Vocum, which had just come to light after 300 years. This CD received the biennial award for “Outstanding Choral Recording” 2001-02 by the Association of Canadian Choral Conductors. The Choir’s CD, Voices On High, a combined project with the Hannaford Street Silver Band, was released in 2002, and features music by recent Juno Award winner Bramwell Tovey, Harry Somers and Stephen Chatman, conducted by Bramwell Tovey and Lydia Adams. Also in that same year, Dr. Adams conducted both the Amadeus Chamber Singers and the Elmer Iseler Singers on the CD Everlasting Light – Footprints in New Snow, featuring the music of Christos Hatzis, available on the CBC Records label.<
In 2006, the CD The Tokaido – The Choral Music of Harry Freedman was released by the Canadian Music Centre, and featured the Amadeus Chamber Singers, Elmer Iseler Singers, and Aeolian Winds, all conducted by Dr. Adams.
In 2008, the Choir toured once again, traveling to Sackville, New Brunswick to perform at ‘Podium’, the ACCC (Association of Canadian Choral Conductors) biennial conference, and then on to Antigonish and Glace Bay, both in Nova Scotia. In addition to the Amadeus Choir’s regular concert series, the choir takes an active role in Ontario’s choral community by working in collaboration with other prominent local ensembles, such as the Elmer Iseler Singers, Bach Children’s Chorus, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Hannaford Street Silver Band, Gryphon Trio, Ontario Philharmonic Orchestra, Trillium Brass and True North Brass.
November of 2013 saw the release of the choir’s Celtic Celebration CD.
In May of 2014 the Amadeus Choir was featured as the keynote choir at the International HALIFAX PODIUM 2014. The ACCC Most Innovative Performance was awarded to the Amadeus Choir and Lydia Adams, conductor for “Music of the Spheres,” a collaborative multi-media production between the Amadeus Choir, the Elmer Iseler Singers, The Ontario Science Centre and The Roberta Bondar Foundation.
Shawn Grenke, Associate Conductor and Accompanist :
Conductor, Pianist and Organist Shawn Grenke is Director of Music at Eglinton St. George’s United Church in Toronto, Associate Conductor and Accompanist for the Amadeus Choir of Toronto, Accompanist to the Elmer Iseler Singers of Toronto, and Artistic Director to the Woodstock Fanshawe Singers of Woodstock, Ontario. Shawn is also the Interim Director of the 80-voice Achill Choral Society in Orangeville, Ontario. Shawn began his musical training as a chorister and pianist with the Hastings County Board of Education Concert Choir under the Direction of Rudolf Heijdens in his hometown of Belleville. He has a Bachelor of Music degree (2000) from Mount Allison University (New Brunswick), and a Master of Music degree (2002) from the University of Toronto. Shawn has made international appearances in concerts in Poland, at the ‘Let the Future Sing’ Choral Festival in Sweden, the ‘Le Mondial Choral Loto-Québec World Choral Competition’ in Laval, Québec, ‘Xinghai Choral Competition’ in China, Seoul, Roy Thomson Hall, CBC Radio, and other various festivals, concert series and recitals throughout Canada, the United States and Europe.
The Board of Directors is the executive arm of the Amadeus Choir, working primarily to support the vision of Conductor and Artistic Director, Lydia Adams, and to guarantee the continuing life of the organization.
Board members come from a variety of professional fields, bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience that, in partnership with the artistic and administrative teams, enriches the leadership structure and contributes to ensuring the Amadeus Choir’s continued success as one of Canada’s finest choral groups. Being entrusted with the task of board governance is a challenging, yet extremely rewarding, experience. It is a marvelous gift to be involved with the many different facets of the life of the Amadeus Choir – from artistic, to administrative, and especially to interacting with you, our audience and supporters. As we celebrate our 39th anniversary season, let us continue to delight in the joy of music!
Board of Directors – 2017-2018
Board of Directors:
Mary Gray, President
Phyllis Doherty, Past President
Cathy Robinson, Finance
Ilana Lucas, Secretary
John Stairs, Director
Frank Samuels, Director
Advisors to the Board:
Artistic Team (Lydia Adams, Joan Andrews, Shawn Grenke)
Julie Winn (Fundraising Lead)
Patrons and Honorary Patrons are people who have demonstrated outstanding commitment to choral music in Canada and to the Amadeus Choir. We salute them and are proud to recognize their tireless work to promote choral music throughout Canada and the world.
The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, P.C., C.C., C.M.M., C.O.M., C.D.
The Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, P.C., C.C., C.M.M., C.O.M., C.D.
Jean Ashworth Bartle, C.M., O.Ont.
Howard Cable, C.M.
Mary Lou Fallis, C.M.
Vern & Elfrieda Heinrichs
Ruth Watson Henderson
Ben Heppner, C.M.
John B. Lawson, Q.C.
Wayne Riddell, C.M.
Bramwell Tovey, O.C., O.M.
Sir David Willcocks, CBE, MC
Srul Irving Glick, C.M., O.Ont.
Nicholas Goldschmidt, C.M., O.Ont.
Dr. Elmer Iseler