Concert Reviews

Komitas: A Canadian Tribute concert, October 25, 2019

“The Elmer Iselers sang with great clarity, precision and beauty…”

John Gilks,

The Spirit of Nature! concert, September 29th, 2019

“… I was moved in a profound way. The Sound: A musical Evocation of Georgian Bay by Eric Robertson with text by Gary Michael Dault is a five-movement work evoking the poetic beauty of the natural environment of the Parry Sound region. But more than that, it speaks in a timely way to the need to make that beauty sustainable as climate change looms menacingly before us.’

“This concert was all about community. The affection between the two organizations was palpable. James Campbell and Lydia Adams added recollections about their many years at the Festival. Lydia spoke about how the ensemble would find ways to make the music work. Even the mayor of Parry Sound spoke about the Festival’s contribution to the community.’

“This was one of the happiest musical events of the season. Bravo!’

​​David Richards, Toronto Concert Reviews, “Elmer Iseler Singers and Festival of the Sound unite to celebrate 40 years of music-making!”, September 30th 2019

«Cinq siècles à 40 voix» [“Five centuries for 40 voices”] Montreal Concert with SMAM, April 27th, 2019, Lydia Adams and Andrew McAnerney conducting

 “[Elmer Isler Singers] Ils nous ont fait vivre des moments bouleversants, au coeur de leur partie de programme…”


“[Elmer Iseler Singers] They gave us some intense moments at the heart of their part of the program…”

Christophe Huss, Le Devoir, «Cinq siècles à 40 voix»: le chant des voûtes [“Five centuries for 40 voices”: the song of the vaults], April 29, 2019

Manitoulin Island concert, March 24, 2019, part of the Elmer Iseler Singers’ 7-Concert Ontario Tour

“It turned out to be an absolutely wonderful evening,” said organizer Jane Best

Michael Erskine, The Manitoulin Expositor, “Famed Choral Group Elmer Iseler Singers Wows Mindemoya Crowd”, April 3, 2019

Vaughan Williams performance, with the TSO on November 17, 2017

“For this listener, Serenade to Music is a pinnacle in Vaughan Williams music. Written for 16 soloists, and large orchestra and taking its text from Shakespeare’sMerchant of Venice, it extols music’s effect on the soul and its affinity to night- time’s stillness. The romantic harmonies, the soaring vocal lines and the orchestral colours are a combination that never fails to create a sense of wonder. Oundjian found the richness of the orchestral colours. His use of a small choir and four soloists, may not have been the composer’s intent, but the Elmer Iseler Singers and soloists Huhtanen, D’Angelo, Wiliford and Duncan gave convincing performances.”

David Richards, Toronto Concert Reviews, “Toronto Symphony celebrates the music of Ralph Vaughan Williams and showcases its own principal players!​”, November 17th 2017

21C Music Festival performance with the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra, May 24, 2017 at Koerner Hall

“…The Elmer Iseler Singers excelled in both of Current’s works. Naka demanded their full attention and talent, requiring them to learn Tłįchǫ accurately from Elder Rosa Mantla. At times with open harmonics and swoops, the choir often evoked the northern lights themselves, providing ethereal, complex sounds at times. Positioned in the loft, physically above the orchestra, they seemed to be singing down into the world. The singers, with Lydia Adams at the helm, have consistently proven themselves the definitive choir for new and diverse music.”

Brian Chang, The WholeNote,
Concert Report: Worlds Meet, with the COC Orchestra at 21C“, May 25, 2017

Western Canada Tour performance on April 26, 2017 at Agassiz Christian Reformed Church, Agassiz, BC

“Our listeners… were captivated by the mesmerizing sounds of a harmonious 20-member “chamber” choir, the Elmer Iseler Singers, directed by their profound leader, maestro Lydia Adams. The professionalism of the conductor and each member of the group was integrated into a kind of “ensemble” in which all, and everyone’s, unique timbres were added to the fullness of the choirs magnificent tonal colours and expressions… All listeners were ready to stay in the hall to ask the Elmer Iseler Singers for numerous encores.”

Kirill Bolshakov, Agassiz-Harrison Observer,
Canada’s 150th Birthday celebrated in choral voices“, May 4, 2017

Fauré Requiem performance with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, February 1- 2, 2017

“…the Amadeus Choir, the Elmer Iseler Singers, Canadian superstar soprano Karina Gauvin, and TSO violin soloist Mark Shazinetsky, joined Denève, Braun, Kunz and the TSO to give what for me was the most moving performance of Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem Op. 48 that I have ever heard. Denѐve captured every nuance of beauty in this wonderful work. The choir was absolutely stunning in its range of expression and tonal purity.

David Richards at Toronto Concert Reviews, February 3, 2017

Port Hope performance, December 18, 2016

“…The choir took centre stage on their own with the next two numbers, the English carol The Holly and the Ivy and that oldest of Canadian carols, The Huron Carol. ..In ‘Holly’, Lydia Adams conducted from the piano and the rich textures of the choir shone through. The performance of ‘Huron’ was beautifully haunting.”

“…There followed three pieces by the choir alone, all of which were lovely and sensitive performances… Once again, Adams deftly coaxed the quietest of endings from the choristers allowing the ending to hang beautifully.”

J13.3Mitchell at

Handel’s Messiah performance with the Amadeus Choir, December 2, 2016

“ELMER ISELER SINGERS and AMADEUS CHOIR relive an English choral tradition with dramatic flare in Handel’s Messiah”

“Last night at the Metropolitan United Church in Toronto, we heard the first [Messiah Performance] of perhaps a dozen in our city [Toronto] alone. Artistic Director and Conductor Lydia Adams led the Elmer Iseler Singers, the Amadeus Choir, a baroque-size orchestra, and four magnificent soloists in what may be the most authentically English version that we will hear this month.”

David Richards at Toronto Concert Reviews, “ELMER ISELER SINGERS and AMADEUS CHOIR relive an English choral tradition with dramatic flare in Handel’s Messiah”, December 3, 2016

Mozart Requiem performance with the Amadeus Choir at TSO’s Mozart@260 Festival, January 21-23, 2016

“… it is a tribute to the combined forces of the Amadeus Choir and the Elmer Iseler Singers that they managed to perform the piece off book, without a score. … I wouldn’t have missed the performance for the world. “

Robert Harris, The Globe and Mail

“Amadeus Choir & Elmer Iseler Singers, under the direction of Lydia Adams, sang the entire work by memory… Their voices were divine… “

Michael Vincent, The Toronto Star

“…Adams’ choirs made the most exquisite readings I’ve ever heard (live or on record), their Latin words enunciated more clearly to my ear than that of most of the soloists.”

Leslie Barcza,

“The Amadeus Choir and Elmer Iseler Singers under Lydia Adams provided the fervent choral forces needed. … the Choir did remarkably well, especially from memory! … a performance that will stay in memory for a long time.”

Joseph So, La Scena Musicale

“Collaboration was the reigning principle Sunday afternoon at an a cappella joint meeting of VivaVoca and the visiting Elmer Iseler Singers…”

Arthur Kaptainis, Montreal Gazette,
Classical music review: Stellar pair in a down-to-earth mood,
November 16, 2014

“…the choir’s joyful exuberance were a powerful reminder that some emotions are too powerful to be merely spoken… they must be sung.”

Closing Thoughts from Peter McGillivray,
Festival Blog, Festival of the Sound, August 12, 2014