Chor Leoni Men's Choir | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Chor Leoni Men's Choir

Chor Leoni Men
Vancouver's Chor Leoni Men's Choir and Diane Loomer, C.M., artistic director, in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery (photo by William Ting).\r\n

Chor Leoni Men's Choir

 Chor Leoni Men's Choir. Vancouver-based amateur choir of 54 voices, formed in 1992 by director Diane Loomer. Initially 20 voices, Chor Leoni Men's Choir made its debut in Nov 1992 and in 1993 initiated a popular four-concert series for spring, summer, Remembrance Day and Christmas. Concerts, often repeated to accommodate an expanding audience, have been held at various Vancouver locations, including Christ Church Cathedral; Ryerson, Shaughnessy Heights, and West Vancouver United churches; and Vanier Park (Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival). Membership in Chor Leoni is by audition, but beginning in 2005 training opportunities for students have been provided through its Program for Mentoring Young Singers (PROMYS).

Concerts and Repertoire

In addition to its concert series, Chor Leoni Men's Choir has appeared with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (with Judith Forst and Bramwell Tovey); the Vancouver Opera; the CBC Orchestra; Elektra Women's Choir; the Amabile Young Men's Ensemble; the Celtic fusion group Mad Pudding; and the Vancouver Chamber Choir. Chor Leoni has given two Canadian tours, visiting Victoria, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and P.E.I. in 1997; and Quebec and Ontario in 2007, where it performed at the Stratford Summer Music Festival. On the international stage, Chor Leoni has performed at the American Choral Directors Association convention (2002, 2008); the AmericaFest World Festival of Singing for Boys and Men (2002); and the World Symposium on Choral Music (2002).

Chor Leoni Men's Choir has increasingly earned high praises for its polished musicality, its lively performance approach - it often integrates choreography, costumes and audience interaction - and its support for Canadian music. The choir has covered a wide spectrum of Western choral repertoire (contemporary works as well as standards), but has specialized in performing arrangements of folk music and Canadiana (eg, "The Black Fly Song") and fostering new works by Canadian composers. Chor Leoni has performed music by Allan Bevan, Eleanor Daley, Malcolm Forsyth, Connie Kaldor, Rupert Lang, Bruce Sled, and Healey Willan; and arrangements of songs by Bruce Cockburn, Gordon Lightfoot, Stan Rogers, and Ian Tyson. It has commissioned and premiered more than 100 Canadian works for male voices, including Ramona Luengen's Ubi caritas (1995); Stephen Chatman's Reconciliation and Greater Love (1997); Leslie Uyeda's Break of Day in the Trenches (1916) (premiered 2001); and Stephen Smith's Pensive on Her Dead Gazing (2006).

Recordings and Awards

Chor Leoni Men's Choir has released a number of recordings on the Skylark and Cypress Choral Recordings labels; its album Yuletide Fires (2003) garnered outstanding recording awards from both the Association of Canadian Choral Conductors (ACCC) and the Western Canadian Music Awards in 2004. In 2008 the choir received the ACCC Outstanding Choral Recording award for the album Circle of Compassion (2007).

Chor Leoni has competed successfully on both national and international levels. It finished first in the CBC National Radio Competition for Amateur Choirs' Male Equal Voice (1994, 2000, 2002, 2006) and Contemporary categories (2002); and in 2002 was awarded the prize for Best Performance of a Canadian Work, singing R. Murray Schafer's "Chant to Bring Back the Light." In 2003 the choir was a finalist in the Let the Peoples Sing international choral competition.

Chor Leoni Men's Choir has been heard annually on CBC Radio's "Sounds Like Canada" (Christmas Eve) and the "CBC Food Bank Day."

Selected Discography

Songs of War and Peace: - Barber - V. Tormis - Sibelius - H. Williams. 1995. Skylark Music 9591 CD

Canadian Safari: - C. Kaldor - Loomer - MacGillivray - Rogers - Tyson. 1998. Skylark Music 9801

L'Hymne au Printemps: - Dufay - F. Leclerc - Milhaud - Poulenc. [1999]. Hymne 001 Chor Leoni

Magnificat:- Healey Willan. 1999. Skylark Music 9903

Chor Leoni: - Fauré - R. Luengen - Schubert - R. Strauss. 2000. Skylark Music SKYLARK 2004

Goin' Home: - B. Sled - V. Tormis - Dvořák. 2001. Skylark Music SKYLARK 0102

Yuletide Fires. 2003. Skylark Music SKY0303

Healing Voices. 2006. Cypress Choral Recordings CCR0602

Circle of Compassion. 2007. Cypress Choral Recordings CCR 0702

Further Reading