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Available CDs

Vaughan Williams: Orchestral Works with the TSO

Vaughan Williams: Orchestral Works

With this celebratory release completing his fourteen-year tenure as Music Director of the TSO, Peter Oundjian conducts an exquisite Vaughan Williams programme, supported by an all-Canadian cast of star soloists.
© 2018 Chandos. Grammy nominated and JUNO award winner!

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In the program notes of the concert preceding the recording, Oundjian declared: “Ralph Vaughan Williams was possibly England’s most significant composer, and he is a personal favorite of mine. This [recording] presents some of his finest works, featuring soloists from the Orchestra as well as some of Canada’s most notable solo artists, and the Elmer Iseler Singers. The lyrical and engaging Oboe Concerto is rarely heard, but it is one of his most inspired works. Serenade to Music showcases his exquisite vocal writing, which also figures prominently in the ravishingly beautiful Flos Campi, so surprisingly scored for solo viola, choir, and chamber orchestra. The Piano Concerto is more dramatic, with a juggernaut opening and a brilliant fugal finale.”


Piano Concerto in C*
Serenade to Music#
Concerto in A minor for Oboe҂
Flos Campi+


Carla Huhtanen, Soprano#
Emily D’Angelo, Mezzo-soprano#
Lawrence Wiliford, Tenor#
Tyler Duncan, Baritone#
Louis Lortie, Piano*
Teng Li, Viola+
Sarah Jeffrey, Oboe҂
Elmer Iseler Singers#+
Toronto Symphony Orchestra
Peter Oundjian


“The solo playing by Toronto Symphony principal Teng Li offers deep weight of tone, rapturous phrasing, and a musical personality that mesmerises the ear; the choral singing is superbly focused…”

BBC Music Magazine, August 2018

Read the full TSO news release.

Staniland: Dark Star Requiem

Staniland: Dark Star Requiem

An operatic oratorio with Neema Bickersteth, Krisztina Szabo, Peter McGillivray, Marcus Nance, Mark Duggan, Ryan Scott, Elmer Iseler Singers, Gryphon Trio & Wayne Strongman. © 2016 Centrediscs. Nominated for TWO 2017 JUNO Awards!

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Dark Star Requiem came to be after a commission from the Luminato Festival and Tapestry New Opera. The work premiered in 2010 at the Luminato festival in Koerner Hall, Toronto, Canada. The work is an operatic oratorio with music by composer Andrew Staniland and text by poet Jill Battson. It is scored for four singers, piano trio, percussion, and chorus. The topic of all of the poems in the work used is HIV/AIDS and how it affects the lives and worlds of those who live with the disease or love someone living with the disease.

Dark Star Requiem is at once intended to be challenging and joyous, complex and beautiful. A sequence of 19 poems charting a short history of HIV AIDS unfolds over the course of 14 musical movements. The poems vary stylistically from linked haikus, to ghazals, to praise poems and back to free verse. The musical movements are unified through a haunting melody and driving rhythm derived from the numbers attributed to HIV-1 and HIV-2 by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses: and In musical terms these numbers are interpreted in both melody and rhythm.


“A modern Carmina Burana […] Staniland has utilized the modern orchestra and the contemporary media to produce a work of vital dramaturgy and lasting, thought-provoking power.”

The Classical Music Guide

“Striking, beautiful, and wonderfully weird. […] The score is percussive, dissonant yet lyrical and evocative; very powerful and haunting.”

La Scena Musicale

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Harry Freedman: The Concert Recordings

Harry Freedman: The Concert Recordings

Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Danish National Radio Choir, Elmer Iseler Singers, Swedish Radio Choir and the Toronto Children’s Chorus. Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Conductor. ℗ 2017 Centrediscs.

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Harry Freedman (1922 – 2005) was a master of orchestration, an art that was informed by his 25 years as English horn soloist in the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. He wrote for many other genres, but his orchestral works contain much of his very finest work, a cannon that is not only large, but also diverse, both in style and creative approach. This compilation of orchestral works by Freedman displays five vivid examples of Freedman’s imaginative takes on orchestral composition, all recorded in live performances for broadcast on CBC Radio.

Freedman was one of Canada’s most frequently performed composers. His output consists of some 200 compositions, including three symphonies, nine ballets, two hour-long stage works, as well as various works for orchestra, choir, chamber groups, and much incidental music for stage, TV and film.


“As the liner notes for the CD assert and as my ears affirm, Freedman was a masterful orchestrator. The sound palette is ever of the most subtly brilliant sort, regardless of the stylistic variables of Freedman’s music over time. There is mystery in the music, all informed by a Modernist expression but not all of a piece. There is change, development, constant creative thrust to be heard.[…] This might be the sleeper of the year! What is clear is that Freedman was a master of the Modern Orchestral Arts! Put this one on and pay attention if you will! It is well worth your eartime.”

(Grego Applegate Edwards, Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review

“All the tracks are exceptional […] I feel this is one of the most significant releases from Centrediscs’ in recent years and as we enter Canada’s sesquicentennial an important reminder of our artistic heritage.”

David Olds, The WholeNote

“Make no mistake, however; while this is genuine Canadiana, it has a much wider appeal, not only because of its beauty, but also because of its power.”

Paul E. Robinson, Musical Toronto

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The Tokaido – Harry Freedman Choral Music

Harry Freedman: The Tokaido

Rob Piltch, electric guitar; Dave Young, double bass; Robin Enbelman, drum; Amadeus Chamber Singers; Elmer Iseler Singers; Aeolian Winds; Lydia Adams, conductor; &
Toronto Children’s Chorus ℗ 2012 Centrediscs.

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Canadian composer Harry Freedman’s contribution to choral repertoire was as substantial as it was extraordinary. His choral compositions exhibit a remarkable diversity of stylistic influences that range from rock, jazz and scat singing, to serial techniques, yet he spoke always with his own voice. This recording collects some of Freedman’s best-loved choral works spanning the years 1964-2002.

This Centrediscs recording was made possible through the financial assistance of the Fleck Family Foundation, the Julie-Jiggs Foundation, the McLean Foundation, and the George Cedric Metcalf Charitable Foundation.


“The performances on this disc are exquisitely presented as a fitting tribute to this brilliant light [Harry Freedman] of Canadian musical heritage.”

Dianne Wells, Wholenote

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People of Faith – Canadian Brass, EIS

Canadian Brass: People of Faith

Featuring Elmer Iseler Singers and Organist John Tuttle. © 2006 Opening Day Entertainment Group Inc.

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Hymns and chorales for brass, choir and organ. Features “Jacob’s Ladder”, “All Creatures of Our God & King”, and newly composed “People of Faith”.


“Peter [Tiefenbach] has always shown talent, imagination and flair in the arranging field… Performances are strong – stirring…”

Rick Phillips, CBC Sound Advice, April 01, 2006

“What a combination! Each a Canadian musical institution whose work is always first-rate… Performances are impeccable, the arrangements startlingly fresh.”

Glenn Cooper, Host and Producer of the syndicated radio program The Hymn Book, August 9, 2006

Joyful Sounds – Canadian Brass, Festival Singers

Canadian Brass: Joyful Sounds

Featuring Elmer Iseler and The Festival Singers and organist Douglas Haas. © 2007 Opening Day Entertainment Group Inc.

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A Canadian Brass Vintage Release Featuring Elmer Iseler & The Festival Singers and organist Douglas Haas.
Originally released as two LP’s: Joyful Sounds, 1973 and Canadian Brass plus Organ, 1977.


“Moving and celebratory, it all makes for a wonderful bounty by Canadian Brass that takes the listener on a joyous musical journey. This recording will not disappoint.”

Musical Heritage Society, 2011

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Sing all ye joyful: Music of Ruth Watson Henderson

Ruth Watson Henderson: Sing All Ye Joyful

Elmer Iseler Singers, Lydia Adams, conductor. ℗ 2008 CBC.

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Ruth Watson Henderson has an international reputation as one of Canada’s leading composers and as an admired pianist and organist.

Known especially as a composer of choral works, she has done much to promote the artistry of children through her wealth of compositions for treble voices, using the expertise gleaned over the 28 years she served as the accompanist of the Toronto Children’s Chorus under Jean Ashworth Bartle, until they both retired in 2007. She has at the same time written a wide spectrum of works for adult choirs – an activity started while she was accompanist of the Festival Singers under Dr. Elmer Iseler.

Her works are acclaimed, performed and recorded worldwide. Her pieces are often featured as the title track on recordings. The Elmer Iseler Singers released Sing All Ye Joyful devoted to the works of Ruth Watson Henderson. William Littler, writing in the Toronto Star, refers to this recording as “long overdue”, and states that Ruth’s “years as an accompanist for Elmer Iseler contributed to an understanding of the expressive possibilities of choral sound that has given birth to some of the most singable choral music in the Canadian literature.”

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Harry Somers: the glorious sounds of Somers

Harry Somers: the glorious sounds of Somers

Elmer Iseler Singers, Lydia Adams, conductor, Ruth Watson Henderson, pianist. ℗ 2012 Centrediscs

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The Glorious Sounds of Somers is the third in a special series of Centrediscs CDs entitled A Window on Somers celebrating and devoted to the music of one of Canada’s foremost composers. This recording brings together many of Somers’ best loved choral works given fresh, new performances by the Elmer Iseler Singers; and together with the previous Centrediscs choral music CD Sacred & Profane Somers constitutes a major body of work in the genre.


Lydia Adams (conducto), Micheal Fedeshyn & Bob Grim (trumpets), Ruth Watson Henderson (organ), Ruth Watson Henderson (piano), Lawrence Cherney (english horn), Erica Goodman (harp), Ryan Scott (percussion), Blair McKay (timpani), Lydia Adams (piano).​


“Suffice it to say that choral enthusiasts should waste no time in acquiring this one.”

Richard Todd, Opus Pocus

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Mother of Light

Mother of Light by Isabel Bayrakdarian

Armenian Hymns & Chants in Praise of Mary by Isabel Bayrakdarian; Ani Aznavoorian, cello; Coro Vox Aeterna; Anna Hamre, conductor; Siroun Kojakian; Marie-Jean Zaatar; Dr. Ishkhan Bayrakdarian. © 2016 Delos.

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For this recording, these hymns are arranged for soprano, female choir, and cello accompaniment. It is no coincidence that most of the performing musical forces are women: what better way to use the collective feminine power to exalt the virtues, sorrows, beauty, and glory of Mary, the most celebrated woman of all time.

This recording includes three types of hymns from the Armenian sacred music tradition: “sharagan” (hymn), “dagh” (ode) and “megheti” (canticle). Sharagan refers to a sacred hymn sung during liturgy, having specific musical patterns and restrictions. Sharagans are distinguishable by the specific musical keys in which they’re written, referred to here as modes unique to the ancient traditional Armenian singing system. Dagh and megheti are sacred songs, which have been accepted as additions to the sung liturgical repertoire, further enriching an already-rich tradition. The long melismatic vocal lines and brevity of text characteristic of megheti further distinguishes it from dagh.

From The Story Behind “Mother of Light” by Isabel Bayrakdarian.


“The evening really belonged to Bayrakdarian, the satin beauty, whose voice carried all before it. No, that doesn’t say it all: Her voice is one of the most engaging and congenial in the world today.”

Ottawa Citizen

“The enchanting, exotic music of Armenia is the perfect foil for Ms. Bayrakdarian’s “grown-up” voice. It’s lush, languid, opulent and absolutely remarkable. The arrangements for cello and voice shock with their purity of melodic line and meditative quality already built in. This may very well be an album to obsess about.”

Robert Tomas, The WholeNote

Elmer Iseler Conducts Canadian Music

Elmer Iseler Conducts Canadian Music

With Robert Aiken, Lawrence Cherney, Sandra Graham, & Orford String Quartet.
© 2012 Centrediscs

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This recording pays tribute to one of Canada’s foremost artists, the late choral conductor Elmer Iseler. As Ken Winters says in his introduction to this CD: “The work Iseler achieved with his three main choirs…will shine on in memory and through their numerous recordings for many generations to come. Indeed, Iseler’s work already represents at the highest level a choral history of music-making in Canada from the 1950s to the turn of the century.”

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Canadian Choral Classics

Canadian Choral Classics

With Miranda Brown, Elmer Iseler Singers, Elmer Iseler & CBC Vancouver Orchestra. ℗ 2000 CBC

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1-4. Sing unto the Lord a new song

5-7. Night Music

8-10. Trois Chansons de la Nouvelle France

11. Quebec May

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Sacred and Profane: Somers

Sacred and Profane: Somers

Harry Somers with Bruce Ubukata, Elmer Iseler, Elmer Iseler Singers, Roxolana Roslak, Timothy Cadan, Susan Cooper, Nelson Lohnes, Robert Missen, Elmer Chambers & Patricia Kern. © 2012 Centrediscs

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Originally released in the early 1980s on vinyl records, these three works are brought together on CD, and represent a major statement in Canadian choral music composition.

Composer Harry Somers offers three pieces, all of which exhibit a thoroughly different character and mood. From the traditional folksong lyricism of the Five Songs of the Newfoundland Outports through the atonally dramatic Kyrie to the witty and bawdy cabaret-like Three Limericks, Somers provides the listener with a rich diversity of musical expression.


“This collection of music by Toronto’s Harry Somers remains one of the finest vocal discs in the Canadian catalogue, with the Elmer Iseler Singers in top form… Would that Somers were more prolific; his music is as good as we have in this country.”

William Littler, The Toronto Star

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Canadian Brass – CBC Radio Years

Canadian Brass - CBC Radio Years

Recordings from the 1970s, including performances by the Festival Singers of Canada and Elmer Iseler Singers. ℗ 2008 CBC.

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With an international reputation as one of the most popular brass ensembles today, Canadian Brass has truly earned the distinction of “the world’s most famous brass group.

Canadian Brass is joined by the Toronto Festival Singers, Elmer Iseler Singers, Douglas Haas, Mario Bernardi & the Canadian National Arts Centre Orchestra.

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Carmine Lappano
Carmine Lappano
Composer for Give us the Wings of Faith

Carmine Lappano was born in 1977 and raised in Toronto, Ontario. Working primarily as a liturgical musician, Carmine is well respected as a Composer/ Conductor/ Organist, having held appointments in several churches throughout the last 18 years. Carmine has extensive choral experience, having sung with several professional choirs including the Elmer Iseler Singers. Carmine has had the privilege of working with prominent Canadian choral musicians such as Lydia Adams, Eleanor Daley, Jerzy Chichocki and Matthew Larin. A member of the Royal Canadian College of Organists, Carmine holds a professional diploma in Choral Conducting (Ch. RCCO). He has written several pieces of sacred choral music for liturgical use, and continues to create music for church choirs of any level. More recently, Carmine’s composition “Arise, Arise”, won first prize in the Chronos Vocal Ensemble Choral Composition Competition, and was premiered in November of 2023.

Matthew Boutda
Matthew Boutda

Matthew Boutda (he/him) is a Lao-Canadian conductor, tenor, and organist pursuing his Doctor of Music in Choral Conducting at McGill University, Schulich School of Music.

Matthew is the Principal Conductor of the McGill Concert Choir in Montréal, QC, and is also the Director of Music at Leaside United Church in Toronto, ON. He also serves as an ambassador for the Centre for Congregational Song, member of the executive committee of the Hymn Society in Canada and the United States, and Community Director for the Summer Institute of Church Music.

As a conductor, he has had the opportunity to work with choirs such as the Ontario Youth Choir, Pax Christi Chorale, Schulich Singers, Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, Vancouver Chamber Choir, and the Western University Singers.

Matthew holds a Master of Music in Choral Conducting from the University of Western Ontario, a Bachelor of Music, and a Master of Sacred Music from the University of Toronto, and an ARCT in Piano Performance from the Royal Conservatory of Music. Matthew is a recent recipient of the Clifford Evens Graduate Conducting Award, Gerald Wheeler Award, Helen Hall Prize, and Wayne Riddell Choral Award.

Norman E. Brown
Norman E. Brown

For the past 5 years bass-baritone Norman E. Brown has split his musical time between singing and conducting.  He has been conductor for many Ottawa-based choirs, including conducting pieces with the Ottawa Choral Society, Atlantic Voices and Musica Ebraica.  He has also been assistant conductor in Italy for the operas “Suor Angelica” and “Cosi fan tutte” with AEDO, and has conducted “Alcina” (Handel), “Suor Angelica” (Puccini), “Magic Flute” (Mozart) and two world premieres by Jack Hui Litster - “What is Love?” (2022) and “Gates of Heaven: Requiem for a Life of Peace” (2024) with OperOttawa. 

In the 2023-24 season, Norman was the recipient of a Canada Council for the Arts grant in conducting which enabled him to be mentored by Leslie Dala (Vancouver Opera and Vancouver Bach Choir), and shadow conductors Alexander Weimann (Messiah - Vancouver Early Music), Tania Miller (Magic Flute), Jacques Lacombe (Don Pasquale), and more recently with Simon Rivard (Orchestre Classique de Montreal).  Norman will be participating in the Conducting Workshop in June with Robert Franz and the Boise Baroque Orchestra. 

Michael Colla
Michael Colla

Michael is a vocalist and a music educator based in Toronto, who advocates and encourages the role of community in music. Michael is a graduate of St. Michael’s Choir School, York University (B.F.A. Vocal music), and Wilfrid Laurier University (B.Ed). He currently works as a Music Teacher in the Toronto Catholic District School Board and as a choir conductor for the Community Music Schools of Toronto. He served as an interim conductor for St. Paschal Baylon’s R.C Church choir and Coro San Marco and has been a guest conductor for “Singing Together”- a multicultural choral festival. Michael’s passion for music education and community music is a driving force in his development as an educator, conductor, musician, and lifelong learner.

Nataprawira Edmee
Edmee Nataprawira

Edmee Nataprawira is a music educator and multi-instrumentalist based in Toronto, Ontario. An advocate for music as a catalyst for community, creativity, and connection, Edmee enjoys collaborating with fellow artists in Toronto and Montreal. In addition to playing cello and piano, Edmee is an avid choral singer and taiko drumming enthusiast. She currently teaches music at St. Clement's School and VIVA Singers Toronto through song, movement, play, and composition. 

A graduate of the Royal Conservatory of Music (ARCT, piano; Gr. 10, cello) and the University of Toronto (Hon. B.Mus. and B.Ed.), Edmee has been the recipient of numerous scholarships and awards, including the Lloyd Bradshaw Prize for choral conducting, the Gordon Cressy Leadership Award and a Klingenstein Summer Institute Fellowship at Columbia University for early-career teachers. She loves to explore how music can nurture relationships, create change, and speak to our sense of wonder. 

Nila Rajagopal
Nila Rajagopal

An accomplished conductor and dedicated educator, Nila Rajagopal is driven by her passion for uniting people through the power of choral music.

Nila’s outstanding expertise has led her to assume numerous roles within the choral landscape. She is currently the Conductor of the Toronto Children’s Chorus’ Anima training choir, Associate Conductor of the Amadeus Choir of Greater Toronto and Associate Conductor of Modern Sound Collective’s Sehnsucht choir. Her exceptional contributions have earned her esteemed accolades, including the Doreen Rao Choral Award, the Iwan Edwards Award, the Ken Fleet Choral Conducting Scholarship, and the Helen Hall Prize. Nila was also a nominee for the 2023 Leslie Bell Prize for Choral Conducting.

A keen lifelong learner, Nila holds a Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting from McGill University and a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Toronto. Nila’s dedication to the choral community also extends to her role as South Central Regional Chair on the Choirs Ontario Board of Directors.

Zoitsa (Zoë) Gotziaman
Zoitsa Gotziaman

Zoitsa is a mezzo-soprano and emerging conductor based in Toronto. This season she sang in a new octet led and conducted by Andrew Balfour, and in the chorus of Opera Atelier’s Orphée et Eurydice. She thoroughly loves performing, and has sung in over 30 operas. She currently sings in The Nathaniel Dett Chorale. Past ensemble highlights include singing with Canzona, Dead of Winter, Xara Choral Theatre, and being section lead at Toronto Chamber Choir and VOCA Chorus of Toronto. Her education includes a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Manitoba, under the tutelage of Tracy Dahl. Zoitsa conducts the Butterfly Chorus at the Canadian Children’s Opera Company and used to teach Intermediate and Senior Choirs at Sistema Toronto.

Steven Webb
Steven Webb
Composer for The Going Out

Originally from South Africa, Steven Webb is a Tkarón:to (Toronto)-based composer and sound designer, living as a settler on the traditional territory of the Huron-Wendat and Petun First Nations, the Seneca, and the Mississauga’s of the Credit. With his artistic works being filtered through the personal lens of his own battle with mental illness, Webb creates new music and video art from an eclectic mix of influences including retro science-fiction, horror, 1990s computer software and video game culture, obsolete consumer gear, and the orchestral cinematic tradition.

His current compositional work is concerned with examining the contemporary human experience, with the disorientation, confusion, and dread that arises from living in a world dealing with a climate crisis, growing conflict and marginalization towards minority groups, and the increasing isolation of the individual in spite of our hyper-connectivity. Webb creates art primarily by investing in communitybased music making, aligning his musical output and practices to create closer communities through public performances, sound installations and musical recordings.

Webb is a member of the Society of Composers, Authors, and Music Publishers, (SOCAN), as well as the Screen Composers Guild of Canada, and is an Associate Composer at the Canadian Music Centre.

Elienna Wang
Elienna Wang
Composer for Words Unspoken

Elienna is a Toronto-based composer studying with Professor Norbert Palej at the University of Toronto. Her music has been performed at the University of Toronto's Student Composers Concerts and New Music Festival, the Women's Art Association of Canada, the Neighbourhood Unitarian Universalist Church, and retirement homes across the GTA. Most recently, her choral piece, "Wings," was premiered by the Spirit Singers Choir at the "Come In From the Cold" fundraising concert this March, and her art song, "Rosé Leaves" will be premiered at the SPO's "Prelude to Hope" concert this April. By sharing her musical voice, Elienna hopes to bring joy, hope, and belonging to her listeners.

Emily Hiemstra
Emily Hiemstra
Composer for Oudh

Emily Hiemstra is a real life viola mom. She is a violist, composer and mom to four boys under 6.

A JUNO-nominated composer, she has had her music performed at festivals throughout Europe, USA and Canada. Her orchestral and operatic background as a performer has deepened her understanding of colour and texture which she readily applies in her compositions to create clear and innovative works.

As a violist and dedicated chamber musician, she has performed at festivals around the world and is founder of the Charis Collective, a chamber ensemble creating family-friendly concerts in London, ON.

Gordon Burnett, Bass
Gordon Burnett

Gord Burnett maintains an active career as a singer, conductor and voice teacher. In addition to the Elmer Iseler Singers, his professional choral experience includes the Elora Festival Singers, Tafelmusik Chamber Choir, and 16 years with Tactus Vocal Ensemble, an octet dedicated to the performance of early music. Presently he conducts the Sanctuary and Handbell Choirs at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Kitchener and the Guelph Male Choir. He maintains a successful private voice studio in Waterloo. In his spare time, he enjoys working through the Sunday New York Times crosswords.

Sharang Sharma, Tenor
Sharang Sharma

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 comprises 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 was the 43rd and 44th season James T. Chestnutt Scholar.

Michael Sawarna, Tenor
Michael Sawarna

Michael began singing with the Elmer Iseler Singers in 2004. He is the second Iseler Singer to originate from Kemptville, Ontario a small town south of Ottawa. Now living in Toronto he is a Tenor Section Lead for the Amadeus Choir and St. Andrew’s United Church Choir. He is studying voice with Catherine Robbin at York University. In his spare time Michael hopes to become as good a hockey player as now-retired tenor Ed Wiens.

Mitchell Pady, Tenor
Mitchell Pady

A Graduate of the University of Western Ontario, Mitchell Pady pursued his studies in composition and voice.  He has performed and participated in many festivals and conferences including the national conductors’ conference run by the Association of Canadian Orchestras.  He has acted as choral adjudicator for both the Kiwanis and Music Fest Canada competitions and is the Choral Conductor for the acclaimed Inter-Provincial Music Camp.  During the last six years Mitchell has worked with teachers and students as a choral clinician for a number of professional development workshops across the Toronto District School Board. He is presently Artistic Director of the Oriana Singers and conductor of The Cellar Singers, succeeding Albert Greer who retired in May 2012.

Doug MacNaughton, Baritone (Photo: Catherine Charron-Drolet)
Doug MacNaughton

Doug MacNaughton began his singing career at the age of 20, when he made his operatic debut with Edmonton Opera. Since then, he has gone on to sing throughout Canada, the United States and Europe. He is at home in opera, operetta, musical theatre and concert work, and he is known as much for the versatility of his acting as for his singing.

Eric MacKeracher, Tenor
Eric MacKeracher

Eric is from Pickering, Ontario. He joined the EIS in September 2000 and in the same month became the music director at Kingston Road United Church in the Beaches area of Toronto. He also sings tenor in the Amadeus Choir. In his spare time Eric likes to read – preferably with one of his several cats curled up in his lap! 

Michael Thomas, Bass
Michael Thomas

Baritone Michael Thomas, a native of Toronto, has been a member of the Elmer Iseler Singers since 1998. His powerful, emotive voice has been featured in performances as a soloist with numerous choirs in the Toronto area, most notably with the Amadeus Choir and the Elmer Iseler Singers. He was also the baritone soloist with the Toronto Symphony’s New Creations Festival in 2013 in the Canadian premiere of Vabeni: Ritual of Prehistoric Fossils of Man by Krystof Marayka. Michael is a music instructor for the Toronto District School Board and, since August 2006, has been Music Director at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Markham. Michael was selected to sing with Placido Domingo as a member of the Blackcreek Summer Music Festival Chorus.

Nelson Lohnes, Bass
Nelson Lohnes

Nelson was born in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. Organist and music director at St. James The Apostle, Brampton. Occasional teacher for the Dufferin Peel Roman Catholic School Board and Peel Board of Education. Grade 10 Silver Medal and A.R.C.T. Gold Medal from the Royal Conservatory of Music. Music Associate and Music Licentiate Diplomas from the Western Board of Music. Solo work during career has included opera, musical and choral societies in England, the United States and Canada. Recent solo work was in August at Niagara on the Lake International Festival singing several Spanish Tango pieces with chamber quartet. Nelson will soon be recording a new solo CD, including “Song for the Mira”.

Andrea Ludwig, Mezzo Soprano (Photo: Bo Huang)
Andrea Ludwig

Juno-nominated mezzo soprano Andrea Ludwig is an artist of tremendous depth, musicality and scope. Hailed by Halifax Chronicle Herald critic Stephen Pedersen as having “tones of silver and gold,” Andrea has appeared with the Canadian Opera Company in numerous roles including Nireno in Handel’s Julius Ceasar, the Second Niece in Britten’s Peter Grimes, Flora in The Turn of the Screw, Moira in Paul Ruder’s The Handmaid’s Tale, and Liesgen in Bach’s Coffee Cantata. Andrea is proud to announce her recent Juno nomination for a recording of Canadian composer Peter Togni’s Responsio in collaboration with Jeff Reilly, Suzie LeBlanc, Charles Daniels and John Potter.

Gisele Kulak, Soprano
Gisele Kulak

Saskatchewan native, Gisele Kulak has enjoyed a widely varied career, beginning with opera and operetta, but shifting to oratorio and recital work, dabbling in pop and jazz along the way. Gisele has performed as a soloist with The National Ballet Orchestra, Esprit Orchestra, Tapestry New Opera Works, The Victoria Symphony, The Oakville Symphony, The York Symphony, The Burlington Civic Chorale, and in many concerts with “Music at Metropolitan”, the concert series of Metropolitan United Church in Toronto.

Gisele has established a focus on choral music, singing with the Elmer Iseler Singers for eleven seasons and Soundstreams’ Choir 21 for seven seasons.  She has also been a member of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, The Nathaniel Dett Chorale, “voxworks”, and the Adelphi Ensemble. Gisele teaches singing and provides choral techniques workshops as well as being the vocal coach for The Oriana Women’s Choir.

Susan Suchard, Soprano
Susan Suchard

Soprano Susan Suchard is a native of London, Ontario. She holds a BMus from Western University and an MMus in Vocal Pedagogy from the University of Toronto. Now in her 21st season with the Tafelmusik Chamber Choir, she is also a frequent singer with the Elmer Iseler Singers, and a former member of the Elora Festival Singers, the professional core of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and the Canadian Opera Company Chorus. She enjoys a career as a voice teacher, with students ranging from beginners, to advanced amateurs, to aspiring professionals. As a conductor, Susan has served as Director of Music for Rosedale United Church,  as Preparatory Chorus Conductor for VIVA Singers Toronto, and on projects with Tapestry Opera and Jumblies Theatre. She was an Artist Educator for the Canadian Opera Company and a music teacher in the public school system. As an arts administrator, Susan was General Manager for VIVA Singers Toronto, Managing Editor for Opera Canada magazine, and Leadership Legacy Intern for Tapestry Opera.

Valerie Nunn, Alto
Valerie Nunn

Valerie was privileged to sing for Elmer in the 80’s and is thrilled to be back singing with EIS.  While in the Singers, she met her husband, Gord Burnett and has Elmer to thank for that!

Her choral experience includes Hart House Chorus, Ontario Youth Choir, University of Western Ontario Faculty Singers, Gregg Smith Singers (NYC), Elora Festival Singers and Tactus Vocal Ensemble. She enjoys playing guitar for the Buddy Choir, a group of developmentally challenged adults who love to sing! 

Karen Freedman, Alto
Karen Freedman

Despite growing up in a musical household, with her mother a founding member of Elmer Iseler's Festival Singers, Karen only discovered choral singing herself at McMaster University, where she studied French. During an 11-year stay in France, she sang with the Ensemble Vocal de Provence and Audite Nova de Paris. Throughout her teaching career with the Toronto District School Board, she sang first with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir under the direction of Elmer Iseler, then with the Amadeus Choir and Lydia Adams.

Now retired from teaching, Karen joined the Elmer Iseler Singers as a substitute in 2018. She is busier than ever, as an alto and librarian with the Amadeus Choir and as a volunteer in the Choirs Ontario Music Library. She loves to travel and read historical novels when she has time.

Shawn Grenke, Accompanist
Shawn Grenke

Conductor, Pianist and Organist Shawn Grenke is Director of Music at Eglinton St. George’s United Church in Toronto, Associate Conductor and Accompanist for the Amadeus Choir of Toronto, Accompanist to the Elmer Iseler Singers of Toronto, and Artistic Director to the Woodstock Fanshawe Singers of Woodstock Ontario.

Shawn is also the Director of the 80 voice Achill Choral Society based out of Orangeville, Ontario. Shawn has made international appearances as conductor, pianist and organist in Poland, Sweden, Korea, the United States and Europe.


Paul Winkelmans, Baritone - Photo:Simeon Rusnak Photography
Paul Winkelmans

Paul Winkelmans joined the Singers at the start of their 2017/2018 season, having just received his Master of Music in Voice and Opera Performance from McGill University. At McGill he enjoyed performances as part of Opera McGill, as well as his involvement in Michael McMahon’s Song Interpretation class. He loves exploring and sharing both standard and unconventional repertoire, combining works by classical masters Schubert and Schumann with contemporary pieces in his programmed recitals, and even commissioning a new Canadian work to premiere for his fourth year undergraduate recital at the University of Manitoba.

Graham Robinson, Bass
Graham Robinson

Graham studied under Dr. Bruce More, Alexandra Browning, and Susan Young. He was a featured performer for the University of Victoria Chorus and Chamber Singers, and the Victoria Chamber Orchestra In addition to his role as a soloist, Graham has managed a vocal studio and provided vocal coaching to the Cantiamo Youth Choir. After spending time in Cuba and Japan, he now resides in Toronto. In addition to singing with Elmer Iseler Singers, he is featured regularly with the Nathaniel Dett Chorale, Univox, Humbercrest United Church, and All The King’s Voices.

Cathy Robinson, Soprano
Cathy Robinson

Cathy joined the Elmer Iseler Singers in 2005. She has an extensive operatic career, including the role of Marguerite in Gounod’s Faust with Premier Opera, Fiordiligi in Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte with Oberlin’s Summer Opera Program in Casalmaggiore, Italy. Cathy has also appeared in three operas with the New Opera and Concert Centre in Toronto, and was the winner of the 1996 Oshawa-Whitby Kiwanis Senior Rosebowl Competition. Cathy maintains her role as a soprano with the Amadeus Choir, in which she has sung for many years.

Claire Renouf, Soprano
Claire Renouf

Claire is thrilled to be a part of the Elmer Iseler Singers. Born in Toronto, she began her formal training as a child when she joined the Toronto Children’s Chorus. After singing with them for seven years, she continued her studies at Queen’s University, where she received her Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance. During her time at Queen’s, she also sang with the Queen’s Choral Ensemble, and performed in several stage productions, such as Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretal, as well as Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado. After graduating, Claire sang as a member of the Exultate Chamber Singers under Dr. Hilary Apfelstadt for five years. Claire has studied under such Canadian talents as Patricia Harton-McCord, Elizabeth McDonald, and Bruce Kelly. She continues to use her vocal training as a prospective voice-over talent.

Claudia Lemcke, Alto
Claudia Lemcke

Claudia Lemcke studied Piano and Voice in her native Germany. With her ‘warm and clear voice and a reliable sense of style’ (Rheinische Post) and ‘her charming sound and directness of interpretation’ (Brantford Expositor) she has established herself as a versatile Mezzo Soprano equally at home in art song and oratorio.

Claudia has been a frequent soloist in Toronto and the GTA and has extensive choral and solo experience with several of Toronto’s finest ensembles. After singing with the Elmer Iseler Singers as a substitute for several years she finally joined the ensemble in 2016.

When she is not singing in Toronto, Claudia can either be found in Montréal, singing with La Chapelle de Québec under Bernard Labadie, or teaching Piano and Voice in her own private studio.

Lynn McMurray, Alto
Lynn Featherstone

Lynn Featherstone joined the Singers in September 2017. She was raised in Cambridge, Ontario, where she started piano lessons at age six, beginning a life-long pursuit in musicianship – as a choral singer, soloist and conductor. At the University of Toronto she completed both her Bachelor of Music in Music Education in Voice Studies and her Masters in Music Education, and has sung with the University of Toronto MacMillan Singers and the Bach Festival Singers. For over a decade Lynn has been an alto soloist at Fairlawn Avenue United Church. She was formerly Associate Conductor for the Bach Children’s Chorus, under conductor Linda Beaupré. Lynn is the private vocal coach and piano teacher at Crescent School.

Amy Dodington, Soprano
Amy Dodington

Amy Dodington joined the Elmer Iseler Singers in the Fall of 2012.  Her musical family has had a long association with the EIS since the days of the Festival Singers.  Originally from Port Carling, Muskoka, she moved to Toronto in 1996 to study Zoology and then Voice Performance at the University of Toronto.  She then studied privately with Monica Whicher.  Amy is now a freelance soloist regularly performing concert works and giving eclectic solo recitals.  As a soprano soloist and section lead she sang for seven years with the Toronto Chamber Choir, sixteen years at Kingsway-Lambton Church, and is currently at Fairlawn Avenue United Church under Eleanor Daley.  Amy’s extensive choral experience includes the Ontario Youth Choir, the Hart House Chorus, the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, the Oriana Singers, Helmuth Rilling’s Stuttgart Festival Ensembles and Soundstreams Choir 21.  You can discover the next thing that’s up her sleeve on her website: 

Gillian Grant

Since graduating from Queen's University School of Music, Gillian's enthusiasm for her work has provided her with a breadth of experience including teaching private piano and voice lessons, singing with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, singing backup vocals in a folk band, and working as soprano section lead at St. Aidan’s in the Beach. 

Charles Davidson, Tenor
Charles Davidson

Hailed for "refined tone, luxurious timbre and superb technique" (Opera Going Toronto),

Charles Davidson trained foremost at the Guildford School of Acting (UK) many moons ago.  A former member of Tafelmusik chamber Choir (2 Juno nominations) and Elora Festival Singers, Charles appears as a soloist with various ensembles around the GTA.  Engagements this season include concerts with Les Violons du Roy/La Chapelle du Quebec and a special "Show Tunes for 200" celebration at Metropolitan United Church, Toronto on May 26.  Favourite roles include Tony in West Side Story,  Frank Jr. in Catch Me if You Can and the title chracters in Jekyll and Hyde: The Musical.  For updates, find his FB fan page ('Charles Davidson, Tenor').  It's always a treat to be back in Orillia with The Cellar Singers, Mitchell and the amazing Mariposa Market!

Alison Roy, Alto
Alison Roy

Alison was born in Ottawa, Ontario and has been with the Elmer Iseler Singers since 1994. She works for the Toronto District School Board as a Music Itinerant. Alison is Second Alto Section Lead at Metropolitan United Church and Alto Section Lead for the Amadeus Choir. In her spare time (whenever that is!), she does studio work, and writes.

Will Reid, Tenor
Will Reid

Will is a Toronto-based musician, conductor and educator. When not singing with the Elmer Iseler Singers, he can be seen singing lead for the funk and soul band, Yasgurs Farm as well as the 50s group, The Redeemers. Will is also the Assistant Choir Director and George Black fellow of Sacred Music at the Church of the Redeemer, a position held since 2015. Will holds a B.Mus from the Faculty of Music and a B.Ed from OISE, UofT. 

Ben Keast, Tenor
Ben Keast

Ben joined EIS in the fall of 2016. He is a composer, chorister, teacher, and music director. As a composer, he combines his experience in Korean traditional music and his knowledge of western classical music to achieve a unique soundscape – with a focus on choral music. Every summer, he can be found working with talented children, putting on six musicals over the course of a summer at Camp Manitou in McKellar, Ontario. Every Sunday, he sings Renaissance polyphony at Holy Family Roman Catholic Church in Parkdale, Toronto. He holds a Master of Music degree in Composition from the University of Calgary and a Bachelor of Arts in Biology and Music from Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa.

Clara Krausse, Soprano
Clara Krausse

Clara Krausse is a soprano who hails from Montreal and is currently based in Toronto. She enjoys performing a wide variety of music, including choral, chamber, and solo music, from early to contemporary.  She performs regularly with groups such as Soundstreams’ Choir 21, Concreamus, Trinity St. Paul’s United Church choir, and is thrilled to now be singing with the Elmer Iseler Singers. Recent solo performances include Buxtehude’s Mit Fried und Freud and Fauré’s Requiem with Serenata à St-Jean, Montreal, and Sarah Kirkland Snider’s Mass for the Endangered with Trinity St. Paul’s United Church. She obtained her Bachelor of Music at the University of Toronto where she studied with Nathalie Paulin. Besides singing, she also plays the recorder, having performed with Serenata à St-Jean and the University of Toronto’s Collegium Musicium.

Manishya Jayasundera
Manishya Jayasundera
Soprano, Conductor, JTC Scholar

Manishya Jayasundera is an emerging conductor, educator, singer and pianist. She received her Bachelor of Music from the University of Toronto where she completed her degree in Classical Voice Music Education. She is currently in the Master of Teaching program at OISE with Vocal Music and French as her teachable subjects. She received her ARCT diploma in piano performance from the Royal Conservatory of Music. Manishya was the apprentice conductor with the Exultate Chamber Singers at the October 2022 concert. She was also the most recent conducting intern at St. Michael’s Choir School in Toronto. Currently, Manishya is the Senior Choir Conductor with the Brampton Children’s Chorus and she sings with various groups in the GTA.

Alice Dearden
Alice Dearden
Composer for Song

Alice Dearden is a Toronto-based music educator, choir director, and composer who has studied for many years with Roger Bergs. Crux, her choral requiem, premiered in May 2016. Her cantata Seven Words from the Cross was sung by Knox Presbyterian Church (Toronto). Others of her choral works have been performed by Musicata – Hamilton’s Voices,  le Choeur gai d’Ottawa Gay Men’s Chorus, The Fountains of the Sun Choir, the Arizona Girls Chorus,  Acquired Taste, and several church choirs. Her first opera, Victoria, or Tony Gets Schooled, has received a semi-staged reading. Alice also writes art songs,  music for strings and other ensembles, and elementary to advanced piano pieces. Her piece Thistle Flower, from Thistle Flower: a little suite for piano, won the CFMTA 2021 Call for Compositions. She received a Cornerstone award from Music for Young Children for her contributions of songs and elementary piano pieces to the MYC curriculum.  

Michael Colvin
Michael Colvin
Composer for Sure on This Shining Night

Celebrated Irish-Canadian tenor Michael Colvin began his musical journey at St. Michael’s Choir School in Toronto with daily instruction in Gregorian chant, music theory and piano. Further studies followed at the Britten Pears School for Advanced Musical Studies in Aldeburgh, England and the Opera Division at the University
of Toronto Faculty of Music.

Michael maintains a busy international performing career with regular appearances at the world’s great opera houses including Teatro alla Scala, Opéra de Paris, London’s Royal Opera and the Salzburg Festival. He also has a long-standing relationship with the Canadian Opera Company, having launched his career with the Ensemble Studio over 25 years ago. His compositional style is heavily influenced by his work as a performer. Grounded in simple, singable melodies, Michael’s works are infused with a love for dissonant, ‘crunchy’ harmonies.

He looks forward to furthering his studies with Canadian composer, Matthew Emery in the Fall of 2024.