St Michael’s Choir School

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SMCS Junior Choir to Support


Some of St. Michael’s Choir School‘s youngest choristers will be lending their voices to help remove the stigma around mental illness when they perform at High Notes for Mental Health. The concert event, now in its second year, presents an evening of music, hope and inspiration and will feature a stellar line-up of musical and spoken-word artists with works of composers who all have been touched by mental illness. It is hosted by Royal Canadian Air Farce veteran Luba Goy, and includes an address by Canadian conductor and motivational speaker Boris Brott. The second annual High Notes for Mental Health concert takes place at the Flato Markham Theatre on Saturday, May 2, 2015.
The SMCS Junior Choir under the direction of Charissa Bagan is currently preparing for a spring concert performance followed closely by SMCS’s Newfoundland Tour. Some of this repertoire will be among the 4 pieces performed at High Notes for Mental Health. The repertoire represents a variety of styles with upbeat themes, including a gospel-style arrangement of This is the Day.

“As an organization that understands the power of many voices raised together in accord, we are proud to join the conversation about mental illness,” says Stephen Handrigan, Director, St. Michael’s Choir School. “Supporting this cause is a natural extension of the core values of our curriculum, which recognizes that each and every person has great dignity and deserves the highest respect.”

“We are absolutely thrilled that St. Michael’s Choir School has agreed to participate in our High Notes for Mental Health concert,” says Ingrid Taheri, Artistic and Executive Director of High Notes Avante Productions Inc. “Through their sacred music ministry, the choir school has performed many works by many composers such as Beethoven, Schumann, Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky-artists who struggled with mental health issues in their own right. We cannot acknowledge the genius of these artists, without also being aware of the challenges they encountered to create as they did.”

Other performers and guests include acclaimed tenor Richard Margison and his daughter, singer/songwriter Lauren Margison; Canadian accordion champion Michael Bridge, performing Tchaikovsky’s 1812 overture; and violist Alex McLeod performing Schumann, spoken word artist Julie Everson and pianist Charissa Vandikas. Winners from the new High Notes category at the North York Music Festival will also be given a chance to perform together with their heroes. Rustom Sethna, chief psychiatrist at Markham-Stouffville Hospital and Orlando Da Silva, president of the Ontario Bar Association will speak and representatives from the Canadian Mental Health Association, Kinark, York Centre for Youth, the Ontario Psychological Association, the Schizophrenia Society of Ontario and others will also be there. There will be a silent auction to raise funds to cover costs. The regular ticket price is $75 (including dessert and a glass of bubbly) but a limited number of tickets are available free of charge to those in need.

About St. Michael’s Choir School

Founded in 1937 with the purpose of providing sacred music for services at St. Michael’s Cathedral in downtown Toronto, St. Michael’s Choir School is a centre for musical and academic excellence. It is one of only six choir schools in the world affiliated with the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music in Rome. Each student admitted to the Choir School is trained in vocal, technical and instrumental music, and sings in at least one of the school’s choirs. In addition to the annual Christmas concert, the choirs tour regularly and perform at many local events.
Balancing the sacred and the secular is customary for the school. St. Michael’s Choir School is not only famous for its music program, but also is known for its academic achievement, consistently ranking at the top of Fraser Institute surveys. For 75 years, graduates of the Choir School have pursued studies in science, education, medicine, law, business, and, of course, music. In the last group are the Crew Cuts and Four Lads of the 1950s and present-day musical artists Michael Burgess, Michael Colvin, Matt Dusk, Stewart Goodyear, Kevin Hearn (of The Barenaked Ladies), John McDermott, Claude Morrison (of The Nylons), Robert Pomakov and Michael Schade.
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Victoria Lord, VLPR Inc. | 416.484.9047 |