The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir says good-bye to Artistic Advisor David Fallis and welcomes Associate Conductor Simon Rivard


The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir is planning many online programs for the Fall, but we really wanted to gather together (safely) in person to say good-bye to David Fallis who is completing his two year term as Artistic Advisor and conductor, and to welcome Simon Rivard who joins us as Associate Conductor for the 2020/21 season.

So, we:

  • Found an appropriate outdoor space (the park in front of Yorkminster Park Baptist Church).
  • Got singer’s masks (cloth masks with more room that make it easier for singers to open their mouths fully and stay covered) sewn for us by Toronto-based Diana Coatsworth Design based on a design created by Joan Fearnley, an Ottawa-based singer and choir director who shared her design widely to help other choirs.
  • Marked out the grass with physically-distanced markers to show where choristers could stand or sit.
  • Emailed music to be sung to choristers to print out (or upload to a tablet) at home.
  • Sent a mandatory health questionnaire to choristers to be completed the day of the event.
  • Zoomed the event so that choristers who couldn’t attend or were uncomfortable attending could participate.

On Monday, August 31, the weather held and a group of TMC choristers and conductors gathered for an hour. Three TMC conductors took turns conducting the singers and making music – our 2019/20 conductor David Fallis and associate conductor Ezra Burke, and our new 2020/21 associate conductor Simon Rivard. Our collaborative pianist Gergely Szokolay was on hand with a portable keyboard.  We welcomed  53 singers to the park – 44 current TMC choristers and nine TMC alumni who have recently sung with us. Under the leadership of David, Ezra and Simon, the choristers sang the following works:

  • Hashiveinu & By the waters of Babylon in round
  • Song of the Mendelssohn (composed by David Fallis for the Choir during the pandemic)
  • Felix Mendelssohn: Psalm 43: Richte mich, Gott
  • W.A. Mozart: Ave verum corpus
  • Andrew Balfour: Ambe
  • Maurice Duruflé: Ubi Caritas

This was the first time that our singers could make music together in person since March – a moving experience for all.

Here is a short video clip of the choristers singing Ubi Caritas under the direction of conductor Simon Rivard:  

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