Honouring Leon Dubinsky (1941-2023)

Dear Friends – The Elmer Iseler Singers and conductor Lydia Adams join with people the world over in paying tribute to songwriter Leon Dubinsky, who died in Cape Breton on Tuesday, January 17th, 2023.

Leon Dubinsky is perhaps best known as the writer of the iconic song, ‘We Rise Again’, synonymous with the resilience of the people of Cape Breton Island to face life’s difficulties and loss. ‘We Rise Again’ touches a universal chord in people’s hearts, and has inspired generations of people worldwide to keep moving forward and to stay strong in spite of hardships and challenges. It is an uplifting work that gives people hope for the future. The Elmer Iseler Singers have been honoured to sing ‘We Rise Again’ in every part of Canada where we have toured: East, West and North. Leon’s words and music have brought inspiration, hope and light to many thousands of audience members and singers around the world.

The Elmer Iseler Singers send our deepest condolences to Leon’s family and his many, many friends and colleagues.

Thank you, Leon. We are forever grateful.


The Elmer Iseler Singers, conductor Lydia Adams and pianist Shawn Grenke are joined by choirs from across Canada singing ‘We Rise Again’ to pay tribute to our friend, Leon Dubinsky.

Joining the EIS are:

  • Whitehorse Community Choir (Barbara Chamberlin, conductor)
  • Thunder Bay Symphony Chorus (Maria Fuller, conductor)
  • Wiarton Concert Choir (Marla Spencer, conductor)
  • Agincourt Madrigal Singers, Toronto (James Pinhorn, conductor)
  • Cape Breton Chorale (Ryan Billington, conductor)

Order of Canada Appointments!

Order of Canada medals (photo: MCpl Anis Assari, Rideau Hall)

Dear Friends – it is with enormous pleasure that we congratulate three of our treasured choral friends on their appointment to the Order of Canada.

We are thrilled to congratulate Toronto composer Eleanor Daley on her appointment as an Officer of the Order of Canada. Eleanor is honoured for her many contributions to Canadian music and to choral culture throughout Canada and internationally. The Elmer Iseler Singers have had a long-standing connection with Eleanor, and have championed her music in our Toronto concerts, on Tour throughout Canada, and through recordings.

Eleanor Joanne Daley, O.C.

We are also so happy to congratulate Kingston composer Mark Sirett on his appointment as a Member of the Order of Canada. The Elmer Iseler Singers have presented Mark’s music on our Toronto series and on Tour throughout Canada, and we are thrilled that he has been granted this great honour for his contributions to Canadian choral music.

Mark Geoffrey Sirett, C.M.

The Elmer Iseler Singers also celebrate with St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador conductor Douglas Dunsmore for his appointment as a Member of the Order of Canada. Douglas has been awarded this prestigious award for his significant contributions as a conductor and music educator and for his significant contributions to prominent provincial and national music organizations. On a personal note, Douglas has been a life-long colleague and has hosted the choir on tour in St. John’s many many times through his university and community connections.

Douglas Allen Dunsmore, C.M.

Eleanor, Mark and Douglas will be presented with their insignia at a future investiture ceremony (date to be determined).

The Order of Canada was created in 1967, by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, to honour people whose service shapes our society, whose innovations ignite our imaginations, and whose compassion unites our communities.

“The Order of Canada celebrates the lives, endeavours and successes of people from coast to coast to coast and from all walks of life. Those being appointed today come from a variety of sectors, have achieved national and international success, and have shown ingenuity, innovation and generosity. What’s more, they have made a difference in their communities and for Canada with their outstanding dedication and commitment. Congratulations to the new Order of Canada appointees, as well as those celebrating a promotion within the Order.” – Her Excellency the Right Honourable Mary Simon, Governor General of Canada

Congratulations to Eleanor, Mark and Douglas!
The Elmer Iseler Singers and conductor Lydia Adams celebrate with you!!

Seasonal Musical Singalong Postcard

A Note of Welcome from Elmer Iseler Singers’ Artistic Director Lydia Adams

Dear Friends of the Elmer Iseler Singers:

We are missing you, and so sorry that we couldn’t all meet together at our annual fundraiser, Sherry and Shortbread, this year, but we are thrilled to send you a ‘Seasonal Postcard Musical Greeting’ from the Elmer Iseler Singers organization, including from all the Singers, Artistic Director Lydia Adams, General Manager Jessie Iseler and the Board of Directors, James T. Chestnutt, Chair.

The Singers have performed 10 live ‘in person’ concerts in the past seven weeks, including 6 performances of a brand new commission and premiere by the remarkable Canadian composer, Timothy Corlis.

We came into this season at a full run, conquering all challenges, and put the exclamation point on the Fall/Christmas season in the stunning acoustics of Yorkminster Park Baptist Church with our guest artists VIVA Chamber Singers, soloists and orchestra for a remarkable performance of the timeless and majestic ‘Messiah’, by George Frederick Handel.

Our musical seasonal greeting card is about 15 minutes when you can sit back and enjoy the sounds of the season with the Singers once again, and ‘Sing Along’ in audience favourites.

You can play it as often as you like.

This comes to you with our thanks and appreciation for your love and support to the organization. 

Please enjoy!!

Lydia Adams

Artistic Director, Elmer Iseler Singers

This Friday – Handel’s Messiah

Conductor Lydia Adams invites you to join the Elmer Iseler Singers and special guest artists VIVA Chamber Singers, soprano Meredith Hall, mezzo-soprano Andrea Ludwig, tenor Owen McCausland and bass Jorell Williams with orchestra, as we sing the brilliant and timeless masterpiece by George Frederick Handel, Messiah – this coming Friday, December 9th at 7:30 p.m. at Yorkminster Park Baptist Church in Toronto, 1585 Yonge Street (north of St. Clair). Don’t miss this night to remember!

Greetings and concert season update

November 25, 2022

Greetings Dear Friends of the Elmer Iseler Singers,

As we approach the most magical season of the year, we are getting in touch to wish you the joy and blessings of family and friends, as you gather to celebrate together and connect with each other.

Our organization has been very conscious of our Provincial Health Advisories and the subsequent requests to wear masks again in all upcoming indoor circumstances. Together with the knowledge of over-crowded hospitals and serious health concerns, we have made the difficult decision to not have an indoor reception for Sherry and Shortbread this December.

In celebration of the Season, very soon, you will receive an email with a link to a Seasonal Choral Video Greeting from Lydia Adams and the Elmer Iseler Singers, that will be available to view until December 25th.

The Elmer Iseler Singers move forward with our already advertised Handel’s Messiah at Yorkminster Park Baptist Church on Friday, December 9th at 7:30 p.m. This year we are delighted to present the VIVA Chamber Singers (18-30 yrs.), Carol Ratzlaff conductor, as our associate choir, following the EIS mentorship programme on-line throughout the Pandemic. The outstanding, award-winning soloists featured will be: Meredith Hall, Soprano; Andrea Ludwig, Mezzo-Soprano; Owen McCausland, Tenor; and Jorell Williams, Bass with orchestra. We hope you will join us. Audience members are requested to wear masks for health safety reasons. For tickets click the button below.

This fall we presented Timothy Corlis’ Om Saha Navavatu (May We all be Blessed) in our opening series concert “Walk and Touch Peace”. This commission and five subsequent Greater Toronto Area performances were supported by your donations, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Toronto Arts Council. The World Premiere, in Toronto, of the major forty-five-minute choral composition, a sound journey, accompanied by healing instruments from around the world, received great critical acclaim from the audiences. These concert projects included the Youth of Agincourt Collegiate music students, Amanda Tulk-O’Reilly director and the Senior Dance Corp of Currie Hall, the Silver Swans with Annemarie Cabri. We are still reveling in the glorious sounds of Om Saha Navavatu

Recently we have also performed in three Ontario guest artist concerts: Grace United Church concert series in Thornbury, October 29th; St. John’s United Church concert series in Alliston, November 6th; and Brantford Music Club concert series at the Sanderson Centre, Brantford, November 20th. We were once again so proud to be asked to perform at the City of Toronto Remembrance Day Ceremony at Old City Hall on November 11th.

We look forward to your continued support as we plan for a spring concert of Canadian premieres, together with the John Rutter Requiem, with instruments, on Sunday, April 30th, 2023, at Eglinton St. George’s United Church, Toronto. 

We embrace the twice postponed tour of Atlantic Canada that includes Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island in March of 2023 with the hope of bringing the joy of choral music to the lives of Maritimers and especially those so devastated by the forceful effects of Hurricane Fiona.

There are many convenient ways to support the Elmer Iseler Singers:

❄️ ElmerIselerSingers.com on our website donation form
❄️ Canada Helps or PayPal Giving Fund
❄️ e-transfers to donations@elmeriselersingers.com 
❄️ mail a cheque to: Elmer Iseler Singers
                                       2180 Bayview Ave.
                                        Toronto, ON M4N 3K7

We are so very grateful for your continuing support towards our possibilities and promises of future performances and touring as the Elmer Iseler Singers contribute to the growth and awareness of Canadian Choral Music.

We wish you all good health and contentment in 2023. 

Yours sincerely,

on behalf of the Elmer Iseler Singers’ Board of Directors

Jessie Iseler                         
General Manager
Elmer Iseler Singers

Join us for this upcoming performance

Spirit in Song concert image square

Spirit in Song

Eglinton St. George’s United Church, Toronto, ON - Sunday, April 30th at 4:00 pm featuring a Premiere work by Matthew Emery. Stay tuned by signing up for our email newsletter list (form below) for more details about this third Toronto series concert!

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