The Peterborough Singers’ 2019-20 Season Is Eclectic and Ambitious

If there were any doubts left, the Peterborough Singers’ planned 2019-20 season amounts to a resounding re-affirmation that this volunteer-based group of 100+ local musicians won’t ever be satisfied with being your typical community choir. Featuring a repertoire that is as eclectic as it is ambitious, and a roster of soloists more commonly encountered on the world’s top stages, the Singers’ upcoming season has something guaranteed to delight and astonish music lovers of all stripes.

This year’s season features four concerts, beginning with Yuletide Cheer (Nov. 30), which is followed by the Singers’ performance of Handel’s Messiah (Dec. 16). In the new year, the Singers will tackle choral arrangements of iconic Canadian songs in the Canadian Legends (Feb. 29) concert. The group will conclude its season with a bang, with a performance of Verdi’s monumental Requiem (May 9).

Right now, Peterborough music lovers can save up to 20% off regular ticket prices by locking in and purchasing series tickets of two, three, or all four of the season’s concerts.

“When people hear the word ‘community choir,’ unfortunately they sometimes think ‘boring’ or ‘amateur,’” said Peterborough Singers Artistic Director Syd Birrell. “At the risk of boasting, that’s certainly not what anybody thinks after coming to one of our shows. There’s nothing like the raw power and expressive range of a group of over 100 talented singers bringing to life some of the greatest music ever written. If you love music, but think choral music isn’t your cup of tea, come out and give us a try. You’ll walk away singing a different tune, guaranteed.”

It’s hard to think of a more uplifting beginning to the holiday season than the Singers’ Yuletide Cheer concert. With a diverse repertoire featuring the sacred and secular, familiar and new, contemplative and jubilant, this concert lets the Singers cut loose,  try new things, resurrect tried-and-true crowd-pleasers, and raise the roof with sing-along Christmas carols so moving that they leave audience members in tears. Once again the Singers will be joined by Venabrass, the talented family of brass players whose musical wit and virtuosity never fails to astonish.

Next, there’s the Singers’ annual performance of the Messiah. One of the highlights of this beloved Peterborough tradition is the rotating roster of world-class soloists the group brings to town for the Messiah. This year, the Singers will once again feature top-notch soloists, but with a twist. For this concert, the Singers are recruiting twelve of the most promising vocal soloists from the University of Toronto working under internationally renowned counter-tenor Daniel Taylor. Each will sing one of twelve solo pieces in the famed oratorio. “The Singers are just as committed to giving emerging Canadian artists the platform they need to advance their careers, as we are to showcasing established world-class talent,” said Birrell. “Working with Daniel Taylor gives us the best of both worlds. This year’s Messiah promises to be one of the best and most intriguing performances we’ve ever done.”

According to Birrell, nothing drives home just how rich with musical talent Canada is more than trying to select the repertoire for a single concert featuring “Canadian Legends.” Over the decades, these musicians have been honoured at the Junos, celebrated at the Grammys, and recognized with Polaris prizes. But most important, they have been adored by music lovers from Canada and around the world. And in February, Peterborough music lovers will get a chance to hear the most iconic works of these Canadian singers and songwriters, performed in a way they’ve rarely been heard before – in huge choral arrangements featuring a host of beloved local instrumentalists and vocal soloists.

Many would argue, however, that the Singers are leaving the best for last – the season-concluding performance of Verdi’s Requiem. From the composer of Aida, La Traviata, and Rigoletto comes a monumental work that is every bit as tuneful, dramatic, and full of rhythmic intensity as those operas. The Requiem will feature an amazing cast of four renowned Canadian soloists, a double choir, and the “orchestra” of Ian Sadler at the pipe organ.

Thanks, however, to the generosity of a generous donor, the concert will also feature a group of 13 brass players, ensuring that the Singers’ performance does justice to the massive scope of the work. “‘Epic’ is pretty much the first word that comes to mind to describe Verdi’s Requiem,” said Birrell. “And while the magnificent organ at Emmanuel United Church is capable of capturing much of the majesty of this work, the addition of the brass ensemble guarantees that this performance will be one of the most memorable in the Singers’ history. Personally, I can’t wait. I hope to see you there!”

To purchase series tickets, visit or call (705)745.1820.

Peg McCracken
Business Manager