Every year I tell Cantala that they are the closest I’ll ever get to driving a Mercedes Benz. The fit and finish of the choir in May is so smooth, flexible and …well, just plain gorgeous. The choir can accelerate and decelerate quickly- at a moments twitch of my eyebrows too-and its all just plain fun for me now standing on the podium in front of them. But this year Cantala is no longer my Mercedes…..I have upgraded them to a Tesla. They have upped their game and we are so excited to share our sleek, polished performance on Saturday. Two more days until we get to deliver a transformative choral experience to your ears…..and maybe to your soul…
In my previous blog I talked about our repertoire for the concert. Now let’s meet the special guest musicians that will be joining us to deliver this glorious music as well as an update on what Cantala and I have been up to recently.
Nancy Dawe, Percussion, began her musical life as a trumpet player and choral singer in St. John's, Newfoundland. Currently a music teacher and instructional leader at University of Toronto Schools, Nancy has called Toronto home since 2003. Cantala has been part of Nancy's life since its inaugural season. She was a member of the alto section for several years, is past-President of the Board, and currently a Member-at-Large.
Asal Iranmehr, Collaborative Pianist & native of Iran, is an award winning collaborative pianist and pedagogue in Toronto. Some of her recent collaborations include performances with Tapestry Opera 101, AIMS summer music festival, Nuit Blanche Festival, Polish Embassy in Ottawa, Gallery 345 and the Cantala Women’s Choir. Asal received her Bachelor’s degree in Music at Azad University and an Advanced Certificate in Performance and Master’s Degree in Collaborative Piano from the University of Toronto.
Michael Schuck has been the resident organist at Blessed Trinity Church in Toronto for over 30 years. Michael holds an Associate Diploma in organ and piano performance from the Royal Conservatory of Music.
As a soloist, chamber musician, and curator, percussionist David Schotzko is a passionate advocate for contemporary composers, having premiered over 300 works with percussion by composers from around the globe. Currently the Artistic Director of Toronto’s Arraymusic, he was a founding member of the renowned International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) in New York and Chicago and was ICE’s Program Director from 2002 to 2008.
Phil Yetman, is a percussionist originally from St. John’s, Newfoundland. After moving to Toronto he completed a Master of Arts degree in Ethnomusicology from York University. Most recently he spent two months studying carnival music in Santiago de Cuba, Matanzas, and Havana.
NANCY SINGLA, founder and artistic director, completed her Master’s degree and Advanced Certificate in Choral Conducting at the University of Toronto, and her Undergraduate studies in vocal and piano performance from the University of Victoria and the Victoria Conservatory of Music. She also holds an Associate diploma in piano performance from the Royal Conservatory of Music. Nancy has had the honour of studying with Dr. Robin Wood, Doreen Rao, Agnes Grossman, Raffi Armenian, Helmut Rilling, Edith Weins, Lorna MacDonald and many others, all of which have informed and influenced her teaching style and musical understanding. In the Fall of 2014, Nancy was honored to have been nominated for the Leslie Bell Prize in Choral Conducting, which supports and recognizes young outstanding conductors in Ontario. She is currently the music director at Forest Hill United Church, and teaches piano, voice and a beginning adult singing group in her home. This past January Nancy became an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). A second career for her, Nancy is passionate about helping breastfeeding families meet their goals. You can follow Nancy’s lactation adventures on Instagram @Singing_lactation_consultant. Nancy currently lives in West Toronto with her husband Anu and their two children, Paul and Maya.
Founded in 2008, the CANTALA WOMEN’S CHOIR is an award-winning, vibrant young choral group in the Toronto choral community. Cantala is a “musical home” for those who have a passion for achieving choral excellence, a great love of choral music and value the quality of life that singing in a choir brings to one’s life. In the past 10 years Cantala has enjoyed workshops with esteemed conductors Elise Bradley, Zimfira Poloz, Catherine Glaser-Climie and Ontario composer Jeff Enns. Cantala has participated in the Peel Music Festival, Toronto Kiwanis Music Festival and the Ontario Provincial Choral festival and has received many awards, scholarships and accolades. In Spring 2018 Cantala travelled to New York to work and perform with Eric Whitacre at Lincoln Center as part of Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY).This was a transformative experience in many respects. Tonight you will see that we now sing without music and dress in uniforms. This was part of was transpired in NY. This past year Cantala released her first full length debut album. This self-titled debut album is now available online in digital and hard copy format. We are now eagerly anticipating the release of our next recorded album, A Ceremony of Carols, this coming Fall. We are so very excited to have achieved this milestone. Next season will we will be taking our first Fall weekend choir retreat. We are excited about this new adventure and what it will bring to our friendships and music making. Follow us on Instagram at Cantala_Womens_Choir_Toronto.