Syd Birrell F.R.C.O, G.R.S.M., A.R.C.M.
Syd Birrell is the founder and conductor of the Peterborough Singers, one of Canada’s top-ranked choral societies.
The life of Syd is a coat of many colours. He was born in Sarnia, Ontario, and began his musical career as a young chorister at St. George’s Anglican Church, Montreal. He studied at the Royal School of Church Music in London, England, and the Royal College of Music, winning a Sawyer Prize in Organ performance. Returning to Canada in 1975, he took the post of Organist and Choirmaster at St. John’s Anglican Church in Peterborough until 1984, and then held the post of Director of Music at Murray St. Baptist Church until 2008. From 2015 to 2019 Syd served as Organist and Choirmaster at Peterborough’s All Saints’ Anglican Church.
Syd is a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists. He has been organist at Lakefield College School for 36 years, where the Friday-morning “Sing With Syd” has become a much-loved tradition for generations of students. A talented entrepreneur, Syd has interests in real estate and church organ sales, and is a published writer and motivational speaker. He is also active in providing innovative in-home care for the brain injured.
Syd and his wife Pamela, herself a cancer survivor, launched the James Fund for Neuroblastoma Research at Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto while their young son James was fighting the childhood cancer. Since his death, the James Fund has raised over $5,000,000. The Fund is an ongoing testament to James’ courageous life, and has become a major force in the search for a cure for cancer neuroblastoma, due in large part to Syd’s wholehearted drive and commitment to the Fund. He is the author of Ya Can’t Let Cancer Ruin Your Day.
Syd is active in the Peterborough community, and is well regarded for fostering connections and bringing people together. He and Pam continue their adventures in living with their surviving children, Rebecca and Ben.