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MONTREAL, OCTOBER 29,  2013-- The English Montreal School Board’s  (EMSB) Chorale’s 34th season has started much the same way as every one that has come before, with a flurry of auditions, the welcoming of new members and the return of veteran choristers all ready to take on the challenge of a new musical adventure.

Choir Director Patricia Abbott notes that the first few weeks are hectic as new members arrive throughout September, packages of new music to learn are distributed and parent volunteers work hard to start getting everyone outfitted with their concert uniform (more than 100 choristers to dress!). For new choristers, it can be a little overwhelming at first as they learn warm-up routines, new music vocabulary and start to learn their way around a choral score. With the help of the conductor, assistant conductor and veteran choristers, they soon begin to understand their new role as a choir member and by the time the annual October mini-concert comes around, they have learned and memorized several new pieces in different languages and voice parts. Sleepover weekend camps in November will help solidify concert preparations and help everyone to get to know each other better.

Each new season brings with it special projects in addition to planning and rehearsing for the two big concerts the choir produces each season in December and May. For example, in early October, five senior choristers recorded music by Martin Léon for the soundtrack of Philippe Falardeau’s new film, The Good Lie, starring Reese Witherspoon and which will be released in 2014. (Léon also wrote the music for Falardeau’s Oscar-nominated movie, Monsieur Lazhar.)

Meanwhile, the entire EMSB Senior Chorale (high-school members) was feverishly preparing for the 11th edition of the CBC/McGill Youth Choir Gala, featuring excerpts from Benjamin Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols. This year’s event has an added dimension to it: in addition to the concert at Pollack Hall on November 8, Britten’s music will also be videotaped and form part of CBC’s contributions to the international celebrations for Britten’s centenary. The choir is a veteran of international events, having participated in a number of festivals that bring choirs from all over the world together.

Last July, the EMSB Senior Chorale was once again invited to perform at Festival 500 in St. John’s, NL, after having auditioned more than a year ago. The Chorale performed on its own, sharing concerts with a number of choirs as well as singing as part of the massed choir under the direction of Francisco Nuñez (New York) and Bob Chilcott (United Kingdom).  The final gala concert, aptly bearing the title Vocal Fireworks, took place at Mile One Stadium in St. John’s and also featured the Belgian a cappella group Witloof Bay and internationally-acclaimed Canadian tenor David Pomeroy in addition to the more than 1,000 choristers participating in the event. While at the Festival, the choristers also had the opportunity of meeting the young Canadian composer Kathleen Allan, whom the choir has already commissioned to write a piece for next season’s 35th anniversary celebrations.

The EMSB Chorale is especially excited about its debut performance in Montreal’s new Maison symphonique, which will take place in April 2014. The choir has been invited to sing in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with the Orchestre Métropolitain under the direction of Yannick Nézet-Séguin, who is an international conducting star. This is one of Western music’s great masterpieces and the senior choristers are ready to work very hard to meet the high standard of music-making that will be expected of them, which will also require them to sing from memory in German.

EMSB Chorale rehearsals are held Saturday mornings (junior and senior) and Tuesday evenings (senior) at Westmount Park School. For more information on joining the chorale or on the choir’s performances, contact Patricia Abbott at or at 514-483-7200, ext. 7234.

Upcoming Performances:

November 8, 7:30 p.m. – The EMSB Senior Chorale performs as part of the 11th CBC/McGill Youth Choir Gala at Pollack Hall (McGill).

December 7, 4 p.m. – The EMSB Chorale’s Annual Holiday Concert at Mountainside United Church.



Michael J. Cohen
Communications and Marketing Specialist
English Montreal School Board
Tel: (514) 483-7200 ext. 7243
Fax: (514) 483-7213