Our next concert is on May 29, 2022: Songs of Light

Remembering Harry Freedman

Harry Freedman

April 5th, 2022 would have marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of one of Canada’s most versatile musicians and composers, Harry Freedman.

An English Horn and Oboe player in the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and its first Composer in Residence, Harry was also a founder of the Canadian League of Composers (President, 1975-78), and of the Guild of Canadian Film Composers. As a film composer, he was awarded the Etrog (later renamed the Genie) for his music for the film ‘Act of the Heart’ in 1970.

Harry was the Jean Chalmers Visiting Professor at the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto in 1990-1991.

In recognition of his service to music in Canada, Harry Freedman was awarded the Order of Canada in 1984.

The Elmer Iseler Singers, joined by the Amadeus Chamber Singers with conductor Lydia Adams, were delighted to record an entire CD, entitled The Tokaido: The Choral Music of Harry Freedman, in 2005.

To remember Harry Freedman and to celebrate Spring, we offer you a musical gift from this CD, It Was A Lover And His Lass from Harry’s Songs from Shakespeare.

Songs From Shakespeare: II. It Was a Lover and his Lass from the album The Tokaido: The Choral Music of Harry Freedman. Conducted by Lydia Adams. Performed by Elmer Iseler Singers and Amadeus Chamber Singers.

We remember and celebrate you, Harry!

Happy Spring to all!

The Ukrainian National Anthem

National Anthem of Ukraine by The Elmer Iseler Singers

We honour and stand with the people of Ukraine in their battle for life, democratic rights, and freedom. Singing the Ukrainian National Anthem, The Elmer Iseler Singers Lydia Adams, conductor add their collective voice to the growing global message of hope and support – Ще не вмерла України і слава, і воля, Ще нам, браття молодії, усміхнеться доля.

Lydia Adams in conversation with Karen Burke

Lydia Adams talks with Karen Burke

Elmer Iseler Singers’ Artistic Director Lydia Adams talks with Karen Burke, Co-Founder, Artistic Director and Conductor of the Toronto Mass Choir about their upcoming gospel workshops: PowerUp Gospel 2022: Embracing Change.

PowerUp Gospel 2022: Embracing Change

Online workshop weekends:

Weekend 1 – Thursday, February 17 – Saturday, February 19, 2022

Weekend 2 – Thursday, February 24 – Saturday, February 26, 2022

Registration link https://powerupgospel.ca/register

Clinicians include:

  • Dr. Raymond Wise – Special Guest Clinician from Columbus, Ohio
  • Belinda Monroe Gardner from Houston, Texas
  • Cassandra Powell from London, Ontario
  • Rob Greene from Belleville, Ontario
  • Natalie Stewart from Ajax Ontario

PowerUp Gospel Music workshops are supported by the York University Music Department

Dr. Robert Stewart, DMA

Dr. Robert Stewart, DMA

The Elmer Iseler Singers are delighted to congratulate former EIS baritone, Dr. Robert Stewart, on being awarded the Doctor of Musical Arts Degree from the Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia.

A native of Saint John, N.B., Bob studied at Mount Allison University, the Faculty of Music at the University of Toronto, the Tanglewood Music Centre and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

In Toronto, he was a member of the Canadian Opera Company and the Elmer Iseler Singers, where he met his wife, pianist Claire Preston. They moved to Melbourne, Australia, where they co-founded the Exaudi Youth Choir, one of Australia’s premier choral ensembles for young people, and they were the Open Age Champions at the Australian National Eisteddfod.

Claire and Bob are both inspiring educators and artists, and Bob has recently been appointed Head of Choral and Vocal Studies at the Hillcrest Christian College, where the choral program involves over 700 singers in 14 choirs, and features a Choral Excellence stream of award winning ensembles. Robert also conducts the Queensland Conservatorium Singers and is the Musical Director of the Queensland University Musical Society. He is frequently engaged as an adjudicator, guest conductor, and workshop clinician. Claire and Robert have 3 children: William (18), Genevieve (15), and Gabriel (11).

Congratulations, Bob!! The Elmer Iseler Singers are thrilled for your success and wish you all the very best in the future!

Winter Wonderland

The Elmer Iseler Singers perform Winter Wonderland, Toronto, ON, Canada

The Elmer Iseler Singers
Lydia Adams, Conductor, Artistic Director
Jessie Iseler, General Manager and Administrative team
The Board of Directors, James T. Chestnutt, Chair

Wish you, each and every one,

a joyous holiday season

and a New Year full of optimism, hope and singing!

Winter Wonderland by Felix Bernard, music; Richard B. Smith, lyrics; and arrangement by John Greer. Performed by the Elmer Iseler Singers, Lydia Adams, conductor and artistic director. Premiere presentation, Sherry & Shortbread ‘At Home’, December 19, 2021.

Prayer Before Sleep

2021 marks the 100th anniversary of the Remembrance Poppy in Canada
Prayer Before Sleep (from the Talmud Suite) by Sid Robinovitch, composer; Elmer Iseler, conductor; performed by the Elmer Iseler Singers; album Gloria: Sacred Choral Works (CBC Records, label series: Musica Viva, 1993).
From the Veterans Monument on French Mountain, Cape Breton Highlands National Park, photo by Lydia Adams

“They will never know the beauty of this place,
see the seasons change, enjoy nature’s chorus.
All we enjoy we owe to them, men and women
who are buried in the earth of foreign lands and in the seven seas.
Dedicated to the memory of Canadians who died overseas in the service of their country and so preserved our heritage.”

The Veterans Monument – Department of Veterans Affairs, Canada
View from the monument on French Mountain,
Cape Breton Highlands National Park – Placed in 1985.
Photo by Lydia Adams.

Prayer Before Sleep

Baruch atah Adonai
Eloheinu melech ha-olam

Exalted are Thou, O my Lord
Who art God and King of the World

Hamapil chavlei sheina al einai
Ut’numah al afapai

Who weighs down my eyes
with gentle bonds of sleep,
And refreshes my tired spirit with slumber.

Vihi ratson milfanecha
Adonai Elohai Velohei Avotai
Sh’tashkiveini l’shalom
V’ta-amideini l’shalom

May ever it be Thy will,
Lord my God, and God of all my fathers,
To lay me down in untroubled peace
And raise me up in peace once more.

V’al y’vahaluni rayonai
Vachalomot ra-im
V’harhorim ra-im
U-t’hi mitati shleima l’fanecha

Do not let dark imaginings disturb me
With thoughts of sin and despair,
O heal my fear and my suffering—
May my bed be enclosed in Thy care.

V’ha-er einai
Pen ishan hamavet
Ki atah hame-ir
L’ishon bat-ayin

Give light unto my eyes
Lest the sleep of death o’ertake me.
For ‘tis Thou who breathes life
Into man’s slumb’ring soul.

Baruch atah Adonai
Hame-ir la-olam kulo

Exalted art Thou, O Lord,
Who illuminates all the world
With His Glory.