The Calgary Philharmonic Chorus, led by Chorus Master Timothy Shantz, is a group of over 100 voluntary singers who perform diverse repertoire including oratorio, opera, light classics, contemporary music and pops. The acclaimed ensemble is featured in approximately eight concerts with the Orchestra each Season.
Established in 1963, the Chorus works with the Orchestra to achieve excellence in the performance of choral music and to promote the enjoyment and development of choral singing in the Calgary community. Chorus members come from all walks of life and include physicians, students, lawyers and stay-at-home mothers who dedicate over 19,000 hours annually to rehearsals and performances. The Chorus is proud to perform for local charities during the Christmas season and often takes part in community education and outreach activities with the Orchestra throughout the year.
In the winter of 2011, in order to help warm up the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra Chorus, Calgarians were asked to tweet their tips on how to keep warm in Calgary's winter wonderland. Chorus Master Timothy Shantz arranged 20 tweets into the riveting song performed by the Calgary Philharmonic Chorus. The performance, set to the classic song O Fortuna from the cantata Carmina Burana, was recorded on Tuesday, November 29, 2011 at the Jack Singer Concert Hall.
The Chorus has reached a level of artistic distinction that has garnered excellent reviews from the media. The following are quotes from the most recent two Seasons:
“The choir, greatly expanded for the occasion, was magnificent; its hushed opening magical, with the music rising to its shattering climax, complete with high B-flats from the sopranos…This was a brilliant concert and should not be missed.”
– Kenneth DeLong, Calgary Herald, on Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony
“Was it the beautiful sacred choral motet Ave Verum Corpus, or the Laudate Dominum section of the Solemn Vespers with (Rosana) Lamosa as soloist, and the wonderful Calgary Philharmonic Chorus - a combined performance that almost moved you to tears? In short, Mozart at the Opera was a grand night for singing - an occasion to rejoice in music that is pure unfathomable delight.”
– Bob Clark, Calgary Herald, on Mozart at the Opera
The Calgary Philharmonic Chorus had clearly been well prepared by Chorus Master Timothy Shantz, and sang with precision, good tuning, and that kind of healthy choral sound that makes one want the choir to keep singing when the piece is over. This was the case in the chorales as much as in the more complicated movements, the exquisite harmonisations of the melodies beautifully coloured and emphasized.
– Kenneth DeLong, Calgary Herald, on Bach’s St. John Passion
The Chorus has participated in choral festivals across Canada, been featured in live recordings and has performed for Queen Elizabeth II in a special presentation conducted by the late Mario Bernardi, CPO Music Director Emeritus.
The Chorus always welcomes prospective new members and interested vocalists are invited to review current audition information on cpo-live.com.
The Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra has four paid positions in the Calgary Philharmonic Chorus (Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Bass Section Leaders). There are no auditions for these positions at this time. Auditions will be posted when there is a vacancy.
The Borak Forte Program Sustaining the Art of Choral Music
What's it for?
The income is to support not only the operating costs of the chorus but to allow us to do large scale activities to benefit the chorus, that we have never been able to afford. Some examples from the program document are:
Professional development for the Chorus Master; full time placement
Workshops and tutorials given by world-renowned conductors
Commissioning a choral work
Access to technology
Special performances: supporting production costs of new/unusual/large choral works
Fundraising concerts with prominent guest artists
So that's the Borak Forte Program. The chorus master will have more flexibility each successive year to spend money on developing the chorus. We will get better, we'll have personal joy, we will continue to give our musical gift to happy audiences and if we do that, we will end up the best in the country.
Please consider joining me in support of the Calgary Philharmonic Chorus.
– Ellen Borak
Why did I do it?
For personal as well as practical reasons. Choral music is my love. It's a gift to me, and I absolutely love the musical gift we give the audience when we perform. I want the chorus to continue strongly and happily with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. As they develop and improve, so must we. The embracing of the chorus by the administration with Ann Lewis-Luppino at the helm, the CPS Board and Maestro Minczuk has been very, very encouraging for me to see. Tim Shantz' talents can lead us to great things. Importantly, there has been no designated donor program for choral supporters until this point. The timing is just right.
Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus at the Jack
Singer Concert Hall.
Photo Credit: Trudie Lee