After more than 60 years, the Kingston Choral Society continues to occupy a special place on the Kingston music scene. Chorus master Ian Juby directs the 100-member, mixed-voice chorus composed of enthusiastic men and women who qualify by audition. The chorus master and choir are committed to challenging choral experiences. KCS searches out new music and new fields of work resulting in a wide repertoire ranging from early to contemporary music including oratorio and operatic works.
The Kingston Choral Society collaborates with the Kingston Symphony, BrassWerks, Orchestra Kingston and other music groups. In the spring and summer of 2014 Ian Juby, Clare Gordon and many KCS members performed, with the North Lakeshore Mass Chorus, ‘Till The Boys Come Home, produced by Michael Korn and Claire Shragge. This tribute to Canadians who served in World War I was presented in various cities in Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada. In the summer of 2015 the North Lakeshore Chorus traveled to Europe to perform the same program in England, Belgium, and France.
Graham George founded the Kingston Choral Society in 1953 and the new Symphony Orchestra of Kingston (renamed Kingston Symphony Orchestra in 1963). Musical directors following Graham George were Lloyd Zurbrigg (1957-58), F.R.C. Clarke (1958-77), Margaret McLellan (1977-80), Rudi Schnitzler (1980-82) and Brian Jackson (1982-91). Glen Fast served as Music Director of the Kingston Symphony Association from 1992-2014 and worked with chorus masters Mark Sirett from 1996-98 and Ian Juby from 1998-2014.
Over the years the Kingston Choral Society has performed most of the major choral works, including Bach's Mass in B Minor, St. Matthew Passion and St. John Passion, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, Brahm's German Requiem, Elgar's The Dream of Gerontius and The Music-Makers, Haydn's The Creation and The Seasons, Mendelssohn's Elijah (Performed again in March 2015), Vaughan Williams’ Sea Symphony, Walton's Belshazzar's Feast, and numerous mass and requiem settings by Fauré, Haydn, Mozart, Verdi, Willan and others. At Christmas time KCS frequently performs Handel's Messiah or Bach's Christmas Oratorio as well as the perennially popular concert, Candlelight Christmas. The choir has also given opera-in-concert performances, hosted by Stuart Hamilton, including Beethoven's Fidelio, Bizet's Carmen, Puccini's Madama Butterfly and Verdi's La Traviata.
Historical highlights include a 1974 appearance with the National Arts Centre Orchestra under Mario Bernardi on CBC Tuesday Night: performances with guest conductors Alexander Brott and Nicholas Goldschmidt, and performances with soloists Maureen Forrester, John Vickers and Lois Marshall. Recently the Kingston Choral Society has enjoyed performing with renowned and upcoming soloists such as Jean Stilwell, Theodore Baerg, Russell Braun, Measha Brueggergosman, Monica Whicher, Julie Nesrallah, Joni Henson, Sarah Gartshore and Marianne Fiset.
Premieres of Canadian Music
The Kingston Choral Society has championed performances and world premieres of Canadian music. Some of the Canadian composers represented include Godfrey Ridout, Sir Ernest MacMillan, R. Murray Schafer, Mark Sirett, Marjan Mozetich and John Burge. In 1973 KCS premiered the Festival Te Deum by F.R.C. Clarke (commissioned for the Tercentennial of Kingston). In 1988 KCS sang the inaugural performance of Healey Willan's Requiem Mass, as completed and orchestrated by F.R.C. Clarke. The choir repeated the work 23 years later, in 2011, as a tribute to Dr. Clarke who died in 2009. In 2002 KCS and KSO premiered Srul Irving Glick's final commissioned work, Isaiah. In 2007 KCS performed Jean Coulthard's Quebec May and Imant Raminsh's Laudate Dominum.
In 2013, the Kingston Choral Society sang for the fourth time in the past 20 years Carl Orff's renowned Carmina Burana with guest conductor Richard Lee. The performance received a standing ovation from a sold-out audience at the Kingston Gospel Temple. On Sunday 26 October 2014 KCS joined other local choirs in a Choralpalooza at the newly opened Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts. The choir performed "O Magnum Mysterium," Mendelssohn's "He, Watching Over Israel," and Ola Gjeilo's "The Ground."
Kingston Choral Society with the Queen's Choral Ensemble in Grant Hall November 1995
For more information on past KCS repertoire and concerts, please see files attached below.