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)
Elmer Iseler Singers’ Artistic Director, Lydia Adams shines the spotlight on Ryan Billington, conductor, Cape Breton Chorale
The Cape Breton Chorale are participants in the Elmer Iseler Singers’ Canadian choral mentorship initiative of hope and optimism, culminating in a virtual performance of ‘We Rise Again’, by Leon Dubinsky – coming this Spring!
Lydia and Ryan talk about the impact of singing music by Cape Breton composer Leon Dubinsky and the song’s relevance today.
“it’s going to be very emotional for [the choir] and powerful for them … in bringing the message of that song and its Cape Breton roots to everybody across the country”
Lydia Adams’ Interview with Ryan Billington
Cape Breton Chorale
The internationally-acclaimed Cape Breton Chorale has been thrilling audiences at home in Canada and around the world since its formation in 1973. The 50-plus voice mixed adult group has played an important role in the cultural life of Cape Breton. The Chorale has performed in the Maritimes, Scotland, Ireland, England & Wales. They have shared the stage with musical stars including Celine Dion and Rita MacNeil, and performed before numerous visiting dignitaries, including Queen Elizabeth II. The Chorale has also made numerous appearances at the renowned Celtic Colours International Festival which takes place all over Cape Breton Island in early October.
Ryan Billington has been serving as Artistic Director and Conductor for the Cape Breton Chorale since 2017. He is also an Associate Professor in the music department at St. Francis Xavier University where he teaches voice, vocal jazz ensemble, and other courses. In 2011, his student vocal ensemble EXTRA from StFX was featured nationally on CBC Radio 2 Choral Concert with host Peter Togni. Prior to his appointment at StFX, Ryan performed as a professional choral singer in Toronto with the Nathaniel Dett Chorale and other choral ensembles. In more recent years, Ryan has performed across Atlantic Canada in jazz, oratorio, musical theatre and choral settings.