Our next concert is on Oct 22, 2022: Walk and Touch Peace

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.

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.

Official announcement of Sherry & Shortbread ‘At Home’

Lydia Adams Announces Sherry & Shortbread 'At Home' 2021

Elmer Iseler Singers’ Artistic Director, Lydia Adams, introduces our annual Sherry & Shortbread seasonal concert and fundraising event on December 19, 2021 at 4:00pm.

Please watch for further details.

Visit our event page for more information!

Your donation towards the work of the choir, through PayPal Giving Fund, Canada Helps or calling the EIS office at 416-217-0537, gives you access to our event.

For other ways to donate visit the EIS donate page. 2021 donation tax receipts will be issued for full amount.

Proceeds from this celebration will support the Elmer Iseler Singers’ return to live musical performances, world premieres, community workshops, and educational activities throughout the GTA, around Ontario, and across Canada.           

Please join us for this uplifting time together!

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
Bichvodo

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

Rain in the Country

Autumn Leaves Frame by Yzzzly at pngitem.com

A message from Artistic Director Lydia Adams

Dear EIS Friends –

Thanksgiving 2021 is here and everywhere we look, the world is wrapping itself in the glorious reds and golds of Autumn.

To mark this time of gratitude, the Elmer Iseler Singers wish to send you a special gift of music, recorded by the EIS sopranos and altos for a CD, From Sea to Sea, by the brilliant composer and arranger, Aaron Jensen. For this CD, Aaron has chosen to celebrate the work of poets from across Canada. The piece the EIS sopranos and altos sing here, Rain in the Country, is on a poem by PEI/Ontario poet, Lucy Maud Montgomery. Rain in the Country, written for choir and percussion, is in two parts: a Maritime Song (built on the poem) and Dance (some Maritime-style mouth-music) to finish off in rousing style!

We wanted to let you all, each and every one, know how much we truly appreciate that you are such an important part of our community, and we thank you for your support.

We are excited also to let you know that we have begun rehearsing again, and had our first ‘in person’ sessions all together with all safety protocols in place.

Watch for announcements shortly on our upcoming season!

For now – please enjoy the choir as we revel in the sounds and sights of Canadian Autumn and the music of Aaron Jensen, as we prepare to sing for you once again in person with fabulous choral sounds!

On behalf of the Elmer Iseler Singers, General Manager Jessie Iseler and the Board of Directors, I wish you a most Happy Thanksgiving!

With sincere best wishes,

Lydia Adams
Conductor/Artistic Director
Elmer Iseler Singers

Rain in the Country: A Maritime Song and Dance. Aaron Jensen, composer and Lucy Maud Montgomery, poet; Lydia Adams, conductor; performed by the Sopranos and Altos of the Elmer Iseler Singers; Steáfán Hannigan and Aaron Jensen, percussion. From the album From Sea to Sea (Centrediscs, 2015 – Distributed by NAXOS).

Rain in the Country by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Here in the country the cool sweet rain
Falls on the daisies and growing grain,
Shadows the pond with widening rings,
Kisses the lips of the lowland springs,
Plays with the pines on the hilltop dim
And fills the valley with mist abrim.

It flashes in shadowy forest nooks,
Dimples the faces of woodland brooks,
Whispers with leaves in untrodden ways,
Wraps the distance in sober grays,
Dances o’er meadows of lushest green
And scatters the petals where roses lean.