For twenty-five years Gael Morrison accompanied the Peterborough Singers. Now, after a quarter century of making the drive from Lindsay to Peterborough for Wednesday night rehearsals, Gael has stepped down. She says she and her husband Ev “miss being part of the Peterborough Singers a great deal” already. (Though she’s glad to have more time for kayaking and hiking!) Looking back, she calls her years working with the choir “a dream come true.”
“It made me a better accompanist, since it requires a totally different skill from playing on your own. You need a certain quality and standard to do those big works. And certainly I’ve met some wonderful, interesting people — the music and the people are the highlights.”
Peterborough Singers artistic director Syd Birrell says he is very grateful for the way Gael “superbly fulfilled” the role of accompanist for the choir for the last 25 years.
“A good choir accompanist is the choral conductor’s most important ally in the rehearsal room, and for me, Gael was that person. She is a very fine pianist, an excellent sight reader, a true professional, and she played an integral role in establishing the high standards of the Peterborough Singers, helping build the choir in our early years and beyond.”
We’re happy to say that Gael is still involved with music, teaching and accompanying elsewhere, but we will miss her musicianship, her smile, and her dedication to our challenging repertoire. Here are just a few reflections from choir members about Gael that sum up so much about her contributions to all of us:
“Thanks Gael, for your weekly performance of the impossible! You kept us in tune, in rhythm, and inspired, while figuring out the cryptic clues from the conductor! I hope you are enjoying your well-deserved time off.” –Charmaine
“What a privilege to have such a committed, dependable and talented accompanist supporting us for 25 years. Always well-prepared, and seemingly able to read Syd’s mind, Gael played with such sensitivity and expression that we couldn’t help but be inspired to do our best!” –Cheryl
“When I sang in the Peterborough Children’s Chorus Gael was our accompanist, so her face was well known to me. I had taken a break from choir singing at age 15 after some back surgery, and dabbled with a high school choir, and university choir, until back in Peterborough I got involved with the Peterborough singers. And who should be playing the piano? None other than our very own Gael! So even though I didn’t know a single face I knew hers. I think I may have said as much to her, and doesn’t she just start talking to you as if she’s known you her whole life! She was very warm and welcoming for sure. Congratulations to our most fabulous accompanist!” –Victoria
Gael, we should also note, has a rich musical history in the Peterborough area, having worked with the Peterborough Pop Ensemble, the Peterborough Children’s Chorus and the Cambridge St. United Church Voices of Victory, following her training at the Royal Conservatory of Music and the University of Toronto. We have been lucky to have her and wish her all the best!