Elise Bradley, now in her ninth season as Artistic Director of the Toronto Children’s Chorus in Toronto, Canada, is an award-winning and internationally respected conductor, adjudicator and clinician. A recipient of New Zealand’s Regional and National Excellence in Teaching Awards for Secondary Teaching, Ms. Bradley has dedicated her career to the education of children and the art of choral music. Her long tenure at Westlake Girls’ High School in Auckland brought international honours to her Key Cygnetures choir, including the City of Vienna prize at the Internationales Jugendmusikfest and the Award of the City of Vienna at the Summa Cum Laude International Youth Music Festival. Ms. Bradley also served for many years as Director of the New Zealand Secondary Students’ Choir, which won awards at the International Kathaumixw in Powell River, Canada, was named Champion of the Youth Choir section at the World Choral Games in Xiamen, China, and also won the World Choir Award at the Hong Kong International Youth and Children’s Choirs Competition.
Since moving to Canada in 2007, Ms. Bradley has received many invitations to work with choirs and to present at conferences around the world, most recently in Australia, Colombia, the United States, Korea, China and in a number of cities across Canada. During this season, she will have been a guest clinician at the IFCM 1st Asia Pacific World Choral Expo in Macau, the Grande Prairie Boys’ Choir, and at the University of Montana. She has taken the Toronto Children’s Chorus Chamber Choir on three national tours, to the National Choral Conference, Ottawa (2012), with the Fujii Percussion Ensemble to Montreal and Ottawa, (2013), and to the National Choral Conference Halifax, (2014), and also on five international tours – to Austria, the Czech Republic and Germany (2009), Brazil and Argentina (2011), Sweden (2012), South Africa (2013) and Russia, the Baltics and Poland (2015). In 2016, the choir has been invited to perform in Boston, in Carnegie Hall, New York City, and in Nassau, Bahamas at the 8th American Cantat. Ms. Bradley has also collaborated in performance with such prominent figures as Krzysztof Penderecki, Christopher Plummer, Gordon Pinsent, Charles Dutoit, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Peter Oundjian, Sir David Willcocks and Sir Andrew Davis. During the choir’s 2015-2016 season, Music of the Spheres, Ms. Bradley and the Toronto Children’s Chorus are honoured to perform with a galaxy of renowned Canadian guest artists, including NEXUS percussion ensemble, baritones James Westman and Russell Braun, and mezzo-soprano and TCC Alumna Krisztina Szabó.
Her first CD with the Chorus, Sounzscapes: From Our Lands – a juxtaposition of contemporary and First Nations music from Canada and New Zealand – was recently named ‘Outstanding Choral Recording’ by Choral Canada.
South African youth choir lights up Vancouver
University of Pretoria Youth Choir (UPYC)—South Africa’s most renowned high-school-aged choir—is coming to town for an electrifying evening of song. UPYC performs in concert (with Coastal Sound Youth Choir and Vancouver Youth Choir) Wednesday, April 27, 8:00 p.m. at St. John’s Shaughnessy Church.
With their powerful voices, UPYC embodies hope and unity for their home country. The choir combines 80 students from 33 schools, drawing together youth from every cultural and socioeconomic background, with repertoire spanning all eleven of South Africa’s official languages. Onstage, they display an intense and joyful bond that easily transcends their differences. Over the years, UPYC has amassed a huge number of national and international awards, including gold medals at the World Choir Games.
The choir is being hosted in Canada by Edmonton’s Kokopelli Choir Association, which has been “sister choirs” with UPYC since 2010. That spring, a much-anticipated UPYC Canadian tour was heartbreakingly cancelled at the last minute because of the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland. Three years later, in 2013, Kokopelli spent a month in South Africa, finally connecting face-to-face with UPYC for an extended visit (and several performances). The two choirs have also shared several members back and forth for six-month exchanges.
Now, finally, Kokopelli can introduce UPYC to Canadian audiences. “I don’t think it’s possible to hear UPYC and not come away feeling better about the world,” said Scott Leithead, Kokopelli’s artistic director. “I can’t wait to see them on one stage with Coastal Sound and VYC, two of my favourite Canadian youth choirs. Their spirit, their optimism, and their wonderful music go straight to your heart.”
See University of Pretoria Youth Choir (with Coastal Sound Youth Choir and Vancouver Youth Choir) Wednesday, April 27, 8:00 p.m. at St. John’s Shaughnessy Anglican Church (1490 Nanton Ave.). Tickets ($25) are available at upyc.brownpapertickets.com and at the door.
INTERVIEW REQUESTS: Scott Rollans firstname.lastname@example.org
HIGH-RESOLUTION PHOTOS: tinyurl.com/UPYC-photos
UPYC on YouTube: tinyurl.com/UPYC-video
BBC radio profile: tinyurl.com/UPYC-BBC
Music is My Medicine: A Cultural Exchange between Children’s Choirs
Coastal Sound Children’s Choir is thrilled to host Jeunes chanteurs d’Acadie from Moncton, New Brunswick April 30 – May 7, 2016.
This cultural exchange, made possible with funding from Experiences Canada, has local choristers twinned with an Acadian French-speaking choir of teens based in Dieppe, New Brunswick. Singers in the two choirs will be living in each others’ homes for 8 days, studying local history, culture and geography while sharing their towns and cultures through the lens of choral singing.
Choral music brings people together, and creates community. One goal of the exchange is to develop new skills and appreciation for music of our respective communities: Acadian, Japanese-Canadian, Coast Salish for example.
While visiting this area, Jeunes Chanteurs d’Acadie will gain deeper understandings of the people and history of this area, and will have many opportunities to connect with locals through song, in places of cultural and historical significance. For Coastal Sound’s Artistic Director Diana Clark, this connection to place, people and history is an important objective of the exchange:
“It’s not just about singing songs on tour. It’s about intentionally and purposefully creating opportunities for profound and transformative experiences for these young artists, using choral singing as the means to do so. For instance: singing about cherry blossoms, in Japanese, for Japanese-Canadian elders at the Nikkei Centre, while learning about Japanese-Canadian history including internment and redress.”
Local singers in Coastal Sound Children’s Choir are also brushing up on their French speaking skills, since Jeunes Chanteurs d’Acadie are mostly of Acadian heritage. “This is a wonderful opportunity for everyone to practice their second (or third) language skills”, says Clark. Both choirs also routinely sing in a number of different languages.
Throughout the exchange, singers will serve as ambassadors and tour guides of the area. When on stage, Coastal Sound choristers will be recounting anecdotes about local lore and geography. For Clark and her singers, it is all a valuable opportunity for professional and artistic growth.
“We need to explore our own identities and cultures, so that we can then be engaged, invested and contributing citizens. At Coastal Sound, we help people of all ages make these explorations and connections through choral singing.”
Coastal Sound Children’s Choir will be travelling to Dieppe/ Moncton New Brunswick, July 3-10, 2016. Of all of the experiences, one the most fun and interesting is staying in each other’s homes!
“There is a lot of nervous excitement and much anticipation at the idea of living with another family for a week, experiencing life and culture in their town,” says Clark, who herself remembers such experiences many years ago on school Band program exchanges. “It is always surprising and reassuring to find kindred spirits with so much in common, in another part of the world. These exchanges build connection and understanding between people– sharing music together deepens the experience.”
Jeunes Chanteurs d’Acadie and their director Nadine Hébert will perform around the area, including performances at the top of the Sea 2 Sky Gondola; on BC Ferries; Vancouver Aquarium; Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre; at the Komagata Maru monument; Royal BC Museum and at the BC Parliament Building.
Hear all the Coastal Sound Children’s Choirs and Jeunes Chanteurs d’Acadie at 7pm on Tuesday, May 3, 2016 at New Westminster Christian Reformed Church:
8255 13th Avenue, Burnaby
Buy Tickets: $10 and $5
For more information or to request an interview:
Andrea Howorth 604-802-2440
Coastal Sound Music Academy – Biography
The Coastal Sound Music Academy transforms lives and builds community through the pursuit of choral music excellence. From the 4-year-olds in the Sources song play program to the professional, award winning Youth and Children’s Choirs and DeCoro choir for adults, there is a place for singers to share a sense of spirit, artistry, heart and community. Whether they are singing “O Canada” at Grey Cup, Indie rock arrangements or traditional a cappella singing, Coastal Sound has gained a reputation for presenting artistic, entertaining and engaging performances.
Jeunes Chanteurs d’Acadie – Biography
The Jeunes Chanteurs d’Acadie choir was founded in 1969 by Sister Lorette Gallant and is now conducted by her grandniece, Nadine Hébert. Throughout the years, the choir gained national and international recognition by participating in many competitions and festivals across Canada, the United States, Cuba and Europe. The choir, which is now comprised of 35 singers aged 11 to 17, continues to thrive towards musical excellence. The choir’s multilingual repertoire features selections ranging from classical to the modern. The various musical genres explored are a testament to this young choir’s versatility over its 40 years of existence. The Jeunes Chanteurs d’Acadie choir continues to spread the Acadian’s “Joie de vivre” by singing songs from the traditional Acadian repertoire.