Presenting two major concerts per year, in May and December, Bel Canto performs works from a assortment of genres, including opera choruses, Broadway show tunes, folk songs, spirituals, and even rock. The mix has proved popular with choir and audiences alike, as both have grown steadily over the past few years.
Bel Canto Singers was founded in 1993. The founding members envisaged a community choir that would provide fun and fellowship as well as excellence in singing for experienced and committed choristers. Under the devoted leadership of John Watkins for 14 years, the choir developed a broad repertoire. This mixture of styles and genres—as well as a commitment to excellence—continued under Linda Meyer’s inspired leadership for 9 years, until her recent retirement. Bel Canto Singers has recently announced the appointment of Leanne Piller as our new Music Director, starting in January 2018.
The choir meets weekly on Tuesday evenings 7:00 to 9:30 p.m. at St. Nicholas Church, 1512 Kingston Rd., east of Warden. Sectionals and other special rehearsals are often held 6:45 to 7:30 p.m., before regular rehearsals begin. Performances are held at Scarborough Bluffs United Church, 3739 Kingston Rd., in Scarborough, as well as at a variety of other churches and seniors’ homes, where we perform to benefit other audiences and charitable causes two or three times a year. Bel Canto also collects donations at its concerts that are passed on to worthy charities, most notably Kids Help Phone.
Volunteers are Bel Canto’s strength, starting with a volunteer Board made up of choir members. In addition, all functions necessary for the smooth running of rehearsals are performed by volunteers, from setting up and taking down chairs each week, to setting up sound equipment, to arranging for a snack at rehearsal break time.
Concerts are also a busy time, as choir members pitch in to set up the performance space, bake cookies and squares, and serve tea and coffee at intermission. Choir members are also mainly responsible for ticket sales, with family and friends making up the majority of our regular audience.
We hold an annual workshop aimed at improving aspects of our singing, such as breathing, tone quality, ear training, sight reading, and rhythms. This event has proven so enjoyable, we have begun calling it the “fun” shop!
The choir plans a number of social events throughout the year, including pre-rehearsal dinners, post-concert gatherings, and an annual banquet.
The heart of our group, however, is singing. That is what inspires us and what brings us together. We love to share our love of singing.
Are you a tenor or bass? We want to hear from you!