We Rise Again: Wiarton Concert Choir Spotlight

Wiarton Concert Choir

Cross Canada Virtual Choral Tour Spring 2021

Elmer Iseler Singers’ Artistic Director, Lydia Adams shines the spotlight on Wiarton Concert Choir’s Marla Spencer

Marla Spencer is artistic director and conductor of the Wiarton Concert Choir – one of 5 Canadian choirs to join the Elmer Iseler Singers’ new national mentorship initiative of hope and optimism, culminating in a virtual performance of ‘We Rise Again’, by Leon Dubinsky – coming this Spring!

Lydia and Marla chat about the experience of coming together with singers across Canada to sing the inspiring choral work ‘We Rise Again’.

“sharing music … transcends all
of the things that keep us apart!”

Marla Spencer

Lydia Adams chats with Marla Spencer

Wiarton Concert Choir

Since 1967, Wiarton Concert Choir has been producing big beautiful choral music in the picturesque small town of Wiarton, Ontario – basecamp to the Bruce Peninsula.

Their conductor, Marla Spencer, is also the co-ordinator of the Arts Performance and Arts Production Projects at Norwell District Secondary School where she works to foster confidence, creativity and co-operation in an Integrated Arts program. She is passionate about ensemble work, and enjoys leading teams of students through Theatre Norwell’s annual musical productions. Marla inspires the love of singing and storytelling through music – recent adventures include directing Shrek the Musical, The Sound of Music, Footloose and Mamma Mia!

Mentoring The VIVA Chamber Singers

The Elmer Iseler Singers announce a new Educational Mentorship Initiative!

VIVA Chamber Singers' logo

We are pleased to announce that the Elmer Iseler Singers will sponsor and join with VIVA Singers Toronto’s Chamber Singers (ages 18-30) in educational and collaborative sessions of mentorship with the EIS as vocal coaches in a study of Handel’s “Messiah” choruses, in a virtual situation. Very few of the VIVA singers have ever experienced singing Handel’s “Messiah”, so this is an exceptional opportunity of learning together. This is an expansion of our ongoing Get Music! Educational Initiative, since we cannot be involved with schools at this pandemic time and is a virtual initiative from the Elmer Iseler Singers through our Artistic Director, Lydia Adams, in cooperation with Carol and Brad Ratzlaff, Co-Artistic Directors of VIVA Singers Toronto.

We are excited to bring to the youth of VIVA, the architecture of a major composition together with the diversity of vocal challenges in Handel’s “Messiah”. To focus on every phrase of several choruses of this monumental masterpiece is an experience of a lifetime. 

The Elmer Iseler Singers are proud to present this educational opportunity to young singers in Toronto.

In Conversation with Lydia Adams

Elmer Iseler Singers’ Artistic Director and conductor Lydia Adams chats with special guests, the VIVA Singers Toronto Co-Artistic Directors and conductors Carol & Brad Ratzlaff, about the Elmer Iseler Singers educational mentorship initiative with the VIVA Chamber Singers.

If you would like to contribute to the the VIVA Chamber Singers educational mentorship initiative or to any of the programs of the Elmer Iseler Singers, please contact us or click the support us button below.

2020-2021 James T. Chestnutt Scholar

Introducing the Elmer Iseler Singers’ 2020-2021 season James T. Chestnutt Scholar

The Elmer Iseler Singers and Artistic Director Lydia Adams are pleased to announce Sharang Sharma as the recipient for the 2020-2021 season educational scholarship in choral conducting and singing.

Elmer Iseler Singers’ Artistic Director Lydia Adams speaks with the 2020-2021 Elmer Iseler Singers’ James T. Chestnutt Scholar, Sharang Sharma

Sharang Sharma

Sharang Sharma, James T. Chestnutt scholar for the 2020-2021 Season

Sharang Sharma is an emerging musician with interests in performance and historical musicology. His interpretation of repertoire from the Middle Ages to 1800 brings a refreshing take on little-performed music by less renowned composers. His most recent engagement as lay clerk at The Queen’s College, Oxford (UK), has set him up for a life in ecclesiastical music, which he pursues as Director, Chapel Music at Huron University College, London (Canada).  He focused on monastic culture in medieval Italy as part of his recently completed masters in musicology at the University of Oxford.

Sharang has performed in professional and amateur choirs, such as The Strand Consort in London (UK), Fount & Origin in Oxford, Kammerchor and Chor Amica in London (Canada), and with theatre and opera companies, such as LINK in London (Canada), and Spectra Ensemble in London (UK). During his undergraduate degree, he participated in Western University’s choirs and opera productions and was an active member of London’s musical community. His range of experiences comprise of recording with the BBC, performing with the Academy of Ancient Music and Instruments of Time and Truth, studying historical repertoire and performance with Canadian Renaissance Music Summer School and Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute, and appearing as guest chorister and soloist at many music festivals including the Huron County Bach Festival and the Sherborne Early Music Festival.

Sharang is ecstatic about joining the Elmer Iseler Singers and for the opportunity to be mentored by artistic director and conductor Lydia Adams.

The Singers are thrilled to have him join us for the 2020-2021 concert season.

James T. Chestnutt Scholarship

James T. Chestnutt

The James T. Chestnutt Scholarship is an annual award to emerging choral musicians to participate with the Elmer Iseler Singers for a complete season. This educational scholarship was established in 2009 by fellow board member John K. Fenton in recognition of James T. Chestnutt’s outstanding contributions as a member of the Elmer Iseler Singers Board of Directors.

In addition to the scholarship program, James T. Chestnutt shares his love of music as the dedicated board chair of the Elmer Iseler Singers. James T. Chestnutt was awarded Canada’s Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers on March 12, 2015 by the then governor general, David Johnston, for his community initiatives with the Yonge Street Mission and Genesis Place Homes. He is a recipient of the Queens’ Silver and Diamond Jubilee medals. He has also helped those affected by cardiac disease by organizing events and fundraising for the Toronto Cardiac Rehabilitation Centre.

The Elmer Iseler Singers are indebted to James T. Chestnutt for his continuing support and service to the choir, its board and to youth in music.

If you would like to contribute to the James T. Chestnutt educational scholarship or to any of the programs of the Elmer Iseler Singers, please contact us or click the support us button below.

Song for Canada

Canada Flag by Lydia Adams

Lydia Adams sends Canada Day greetings and an interview with composer, Paul Halley

Canada Day musical gift from the Elmer Iseler Singers

Song for Canada by Paul Halley. The Elmer Iseler Singers, Lydia Adams, conductor and Shawn Grenke, piano. From the album: Elmer Iseler Singers Greatest Hits, Vol. 1.

Song for Canada by Paul Halley


Sing a new song,
Sing loud and strong,
Sing of this land of our hopes and our dreams.
Rich harmonies of races and creeds
Join in the chorus from sea unto sea:
Where the whale’s ancient lullaby

Meets the song of the wind in the whisp’ring pines,
All our voices come together, always singing,
“Land of tomorrow, your time has come.”


Qu’un nouveau chant
Dise à présent
Un voeu d’accord qui doit remplir nos cooers.
Peuples divers touchant les deus mers,
Heureux voisins, ne formez qu’un seul choeur
Pour mélanger tous vos accents
Aux refrains des cognées dansant sous les vents.
Que nos voix ensemble chantent et rechantent,
“Oui – Bel aujourd’hui
Vois mon pays.”


Sing of new birth,
Sing of the earth,
Sing of great mountains that reach for the sky.
Proud cities swell,
Vast plains do tell
Of the promise and hope for the future that lies
In the loon’s timeless melody,
In the cry of an eagle that’s soaring free.
All our voices come together, singing
“Land of tomorrow, your time has come.”

English words by Paul Halley
French words by Anton Raphael Boldaire

Sarnia concert

May 10, 2019: Soaring Voices will close out concert season The Elmer Iseler Singers will be closing out the Sarnia Concert Association’s 2018-2019 season with a performance entitled Soaring Voices, which takes place at the Imperial Theatre on May 22nd, 2019. For more information, visit our concert page.

“For the SCA’s David Nichols, having Adams and the Elmer Iseler Singers preside over this season’s grand finale is a dream come true.”

Article by Carl Hnatyshyn (The Nanton News)