Handel’s Messiah

Monday, December 18, 2017 at 7:30 pm
Emmanuel United Church East (formerly George Street United), Peterborough


Featuring: Suzie LeBlanc, soprano | Erin Fisher, mezzo | Colin Ainsworth, tenor| Andrew Tees bass | Ian Sadler, organ | Paul Otway, trumpet | Stan Ewing, tympani |

“Handel knows better than any of us what will make an effect . . . when he chooses, he strikes like a thunderbolt.” — W.A. Mozart

Composed within a four-week period in 1741, Handel’s Messiah awoke in people an emotion that, over 275 years later, still resonates and draws us together in a shared experience of love and wonder. Join the Peterborough Singers and a stunning line-up of guest soloists and artists as they present for you an experience like no other that has brought joy to millions of people for generations.

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Soprano Suzie LeBlanc is one of the most sought after early music sopranos of her generation, as well as a gifted interpreter of lieder, French mélodies, Acadian repertoire and contemporary music.

Concerts engagements have led her around the world, as well as to over 50 recordings with the world’s leading early music ensembles. On the opera stage, she has performed for De Nederlandse Opera, Festival de Beaune, Opéra de
Montréal, Boston Early Music Festival, Tanglewood, and Early Music Vancouver.

Ms. Leblanc’s engagements in 2013/2014 include a world premiere by Peter Togni, Debussy”s Pelleas et Melisande, Carissimi’s Jephte with Tafelmusik, recitals with Alexander Weimann and the Pacific Baroque Orchestra, and songs on the poetry of Elizabeth Bishop with the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra. A recent CD of Canadian settings of poems by Elizabeth Bishop by Canadian
composers Hatzis, Plant, MacLean, and Doolittle, was released in 2013, along with a documentary of her walk in Newfoundland, following Bishop’s footsteps and 1932 journal.

In 2014, she released two CDs, La Veillée de Noël (a recording of traditional songs from the collection Rondes et chansons popularizes illustrées) and Constantinople: Metamorfosi–Impressions Baroques.

LeBlanc is the recipient of four honorary doctorates for her artistic achievements and research. She also played the lead role in the award winning film Lost Song (Best Canadian Feature Film at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2008). With Alexander Weimann and Marie-Nathalie Lacoursière, she founded Le Nouvel Opéra, which gives workshops in Baroque Opera at the Orford Arts Centre and produces chamber operas.




Erin Fisher began her professional career at a young age, receiving her first soloist contract with the Canadian Opera Company when she was 21 and still completing her bachelor’s degree at UBC. Fisher has worked with world-class coaches, teachers, conductors, directors, and singers, and has sung internationally in the USA and Europe.

She has over 20 operatic roles to her credit and a handful of oratorio and musical theatre credits, but her favourite stage performances include Rosina in Rossini’s opera Il barbiere di Siviglia, at Prague’s Rudolphinum, Cherubino in Mozart’s Il Nozze di Figaro, Idamante in the opera Idomeneo at Toronto’s Four Seasons Centre, Vivaldi’s Gloria with the VSO in Vancouver’s Orpheum, and Lily in The Secret Garden at Toronto’s Trinity St. Paul’s.

Fisher grew up singing musical theatre, pop, classical, and jazz. Today, she enjoys singing a variety of genres as a member of the classical-crossover trio ViVA. With the ViVA trio, she has released singles throughout 2016 and has performed to sold-out audiences of over 1000 at both Casa Loma and The Living Arts Centre. ViVA’s debut album will be released in September 2017.

With the ViVA trio, Fisher has been a featured guest of the CSO, and, as a VIVA member, she looks forward to performing with Poland’s Dolnoslaska Philharmonic, the Greater Toronto Philharmonic Orchestra, MPO, and the International Symphony Orchestra.

ViVA has gone international with its version of “What a Wonderful World,” which is now being featured in two commercials in South Korea. In the press, ViVA has been featured by the Toronto Star and  CityTV CityNEWS, and its members were interviewed by CKUW 95.9 FM radio for “Shades of Classics.”

Fisher is excited to make her debut with the Peterborough Singers in Handel’s Messiah.




“Ainsworth has always been blessed with an unusually high, pure tenor. Now it thrills with remarkable power and expressivity.” Stage door, 2016

Canadian tenor Colin Ainsworth has distinguished himself with his exceptional singing and diverse repertoire. His many performances have included the title roles in Orphée et Euridice, Pygmalion, Castor et Pollux, Roberto Devereux, and Albert Herring; he has also performed the roles of Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, Tamino in Die Zauberflöte, Almaviva in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Ernesto in Don Pasquale, Rinnucio in Gianni Schicchi, Fenton in Falstaff, Tonio in La Fille du Régiment, Nadir in Les Pêcheurs de Perles, Pylades in Iphigénie en Tauride, Renaud in Lully’s Armide, Tom Rakewell in The Rake’s Progress, and Lysander in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. An avid supporter of new works, he has appeared in the world premieres of John Estacio’s Lillian Alling at Vancouver Opera, Stuart MacRae’s The Assassin Tree at the Edinburgh International Festival, Victor Davies’s The Transit of Venus with Manitoba Opera, and Rufus Wainwright’s Prima Donna at Sadler’s Wells in London and at the Luminato Festival. Other past opera engagements have included appearances with the Canadian Opera Company, Chicago Opera Theatre, Glimmerglass Opera, L’Opéra de Français, Opera Atelier, Pacific Opera Victoria, Edmonton Opera, Royal Opera (London), and the Greek National Opera.

A prolific concert singer, Ainsworth has appeared with the Cincinnati Symphony, Montreal Symphony, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Pygmalion, Vancouver Symphony, Calgary Symphony, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra of San Francisco, Music of the Baroque in Chicago, Mercury Baroque in Houston, Les Violons du Roy in Montreal, and Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra in Toronto. He has also appeared at the Lanaudière, Montreal Baroque, Elora, and the Aldeburgh Connection festivals and has toured throughout Germany. His vast concert and recital repertoire includes Bach’s Mass in B MinorSt. John Passion, and Matthew Passion; Handel’s Messiah, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Mozart’s Requiem, Schumann’s Dichterliebe, and Janácek’s The Diary of One Who Vanished.

Mr. Ainsworth’s growing discography includes Vivaldi’s La Griselda (Naxos), Castor et Pollux (Naxos), Schubert Among Friends (Marquis Classics), Gloria in Excelsis Deo with the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra (CBC Records), the collected masses of Vanhal, Haydn, and Cherbuini with Nicholas McGegan (Naxos), and the premiere recording of Derek Holman’s The Heart Mislaid, which was included on the Aldeburgh Connection’s Our Songs (Marquis Classics). He also appears in a live DVD recording of Lully’s Persée with the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra (Euroarts). His new disc of songs of Derek Holman, A Play of Passion, was released the fall of 2016.

This season, Mr. Ainsworth sings Renaud in Lully’s Armide with both Opera Atelier (in Toronto and Versailles) and Opera Columbus, makes his debut both at the Teatro Nacional de São Carlos in Iphigénie en Tauride and at Seattle Opera as the Steersman in Der fliegende Holländer. He also appears in concert with Music of the Baroque, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and the Grand Philharmonic Choir.




Baritone Andrew Tees is one of the most dynamic singers of his generation. Blessed with a rich baritone, he is at home whether singing opera, oratorio, pops, or musical theatre.

On the operatic stage, Tees has performed for companies such as the Canadian Opera Company, Pacific Opera Victoria, Cleveland Opera, Opera Lyra Ottawa, Edmonton Opera, Manitoba Opera, Vancouver Opera, Opera Ontario, and Opera York, singing roles such as the title roles in both Nozze di Figaro and Don Giovanni (Mozart), Silvio in I Pagliacci (Leoncavallo), Escamillo in Carmen (Bizet), Sonora in La Fanciulla del West (Puccini), Marcello in La Boheme (Puccini), Danilo in The Merry Widow (Lehar), Monterone in Rigolett, Figaro in Barber of Seville, and the title role in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, among others.

A frequent guest of Maritime Concert Opera, Andrew is looking forward to singing Tonio in I Pagliacci this season. His other roles for them include Scarpia (Tosca), Marcello (Boheme), Escamillo (Carmen), and Germont (Traviata). For Toronto’s Opera by Request, Andrew has performed Golaud in Pelleas et Melisande as well as Wotan in Rheingold, Die Walkure & Siegfried. While a member of the Canadian Opera Company’s Ensemble Studio, Tees made frequent appearances on the main stage. He won praise for the as Tarquinius (Rape of Lucretia), Donald in Billy Budd, Sonora in La Fanciulla del West, as well as Fiorello in Il Barbiere di Siviglia. While with the COC, he covered many roles including Marcello, Belcore, Don Giovanni, Figaro, Billy Budd, and Krusina. With the COC Ensemble, he sang Papageno in the Magic Flute tour and Peter in the Hansel and Gretel tour. Since leaving the Ensemble Studio, Andrew has returned to the COC to sing several roles including the Mill Hand in Lady McBeth of Mtstensk and Marquis D`Aubigny in La Traviata.

No stranger to debuting new works, Tees has premiered Ian McAndrew’s Cassandra for Amphion Opera. He sang the role of the unprincipled oil executive Walter Swenson in Isa Suarez’s Carpe Diem for Bravo Television. He played Gandalf in Dean Burry’s The Hobbit with the Canadian Children’s Opera Chorus. For the Stratford Summer Music Festival, he depicted a tyrannical Claudius in the Premier of Mark Richard’s Hamlet. He was a Madrigalist in Henze’s Venus und Adonis for the Canadian Opera Company, a role he repeated at Amsterdam’s Concertgebou. He made a sympathetic Stash in the North American premiere of And the Rat Laughed by Israeli composer Ella Milch-Sheriff.

Andrew revisits Mendelsohn’s Elijah this spring with the Georgian Bay Concert Choir. Passionate about oratorio, Andrew has had the pleasure of singing with many choirs and orchestras across the country. He has received praise for his interpretation of Verdi’s Requiem; Orff’s Carmina Burana, Handel’s Messiah, Saul, and Solomon; Brahms’s Requiem; Durable’s Requiem; Mendelssohn’s St Paul; and Faure’s Requiem. He has sung several works of Haydn: The Creation, The Seasons, Mass in a Time of War, and the Lord Nelson Mass. Andrew has performed the haunting Five Mystical Songs as well as the Fantasia on Christmas Carols, both by Vaughan Williams. He has performed as soloist in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and the composer’s Mass in C. He has also sung the Jean Gilles Requiem and Howard Goodal’s Eternal Light Requiem.



Ian Sadler began his musical training as a chorister at St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, England. He then won a music scholarship to The King’s School, Canterbury, followed by an organ scholarship to Bristol University. During postgraduate study at London University, Ian held the Organ Scholarship at St. Paul’s Cathedral from 1978-80. Ian holds degrees in musicology and education, with organ diplomas from Trinity College of Music, London, and The Royal College of Organists. Before Ian moved to Canada, his final engagement in the UK was to play the organ in the movie, Chariots of Fire.

Ian moved to Canada in 1980 following his appointments in Toronto as Director of Music at Grace Church-on-the-Hill and Choral Director at Upper Canada College. In 1986, the year that he became a Canadian citizen, he won 1st prize at the Syracuse International Organ Playing Competition in the USA. As a Canadian recitalist, Ian has toured extensively. Tours have taken him to  Denmark, Sweden, Germany, France (Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris), Austria (Vienna’s St. Stephen’s Cathedral), Australia (Sydney, Newcastle, Adelaide, and Melbourne), the USA (New York, Boston, Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor, San Francisco, and Hawaii), and back to the UK (Winchester Cathedral, Truro Cathedral, Norwich Cathedral, York Minster, St. Giles – Edinburgh, Coventry Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, King’s College Cambridge, and St. Paul’s Cathedral). In 2000, Ian was presented with a Juno award for a choral CD by his Burlington chamber choir, Pro Musica. Ian has been involved with the launching of the organs at three major concert halls in Canada.  He was invited to perform a programme of British music in the inaugural series of organ recitals at Jack Singer Hall, Calgary. He played the first recital in the inaugural series at Toronto’s Roy Thomson Hall and performed with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra in a programme entitled “A Night At The Movies” to inaugurate the organ at the Winspeare Centre.

For his dedication to promoting the organ and Canadian music, both at home and abroad, The Royal Canadian College of Organists honoured Ian in 2007 with its highest award: “Fellowship of The Royal Canadian College of Organists.”

In 2016, Ian was appointed Organist of St. James’ Cathedral in Toronto. Ian is also conductor of The Stratford Concert Choir, a position he has held since 1989. He is also conductor of The Cathedral Singers of Ontario, a choir which he founded in 1999. In December, this choir will sing for a week of services at Chichester Cathedral in England. In August 2018, The Cathedral Singers of Ontario will be choir-in-residence for a week at Ely Cathedral.




Paul Otway is a freelance trumpet player in Southern Ontario. He works with several orchestras including the Windsor Symphony, the Niagara Symphony, and the Peterborough Symphony.

Paul has played in numerous Mirvish productions, including The Wizard of OzMary PoppinsThe Sound of Music, Wicked, The Phantom of the Opera, and Les Misérables, as well as in Dancap Productions, including My Fair Lady, Anne of Green Gables, South Pacific, and West Side Story. Paul has also performed in several productions at the Shaw Festival. Freelance work has allowed him to play with many well-known artists including, in 2015, Idina Menzel and Diana Krall.

Paul’s playing has been recorded on several CDs and broadcast on CBC Radio with a variety of different ensembles. Paul can be seen in the movie Fever Pitch (look for the trumpet player!). He has performed for live audiences in thirty-six states and seven provinces.





Stan Ewing was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and showed an interest in music at an early age. Upon emigrating to Canada, he became the Bandmaster of the Danforth Citadel Band in Toronto, before moving to Peterborough in 1978. Stan was a member of the Salvation Army Staff Band for 16 years, serving with distinction in the percussion section. The Staff Band travelled on conducted tours of the U.K., Europe, Australia and New Zealand, the U.S.A., as well as in many parts of Canada.
Stan has been involved with the Salvation Army Summer Music Camp programme and has been Bandmaster of the Peterborough Temple Band since 1985. Stan is also in demand to play with local community and theatre groups.