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Choir of St John's

Choir of St John's, Elora

According to the community’s Elora Express, St John’s Choir attracted local attention for its singing in the late 19th century. That choral tradition was revived in 1965 with the appointment of Shirley MacRae, as choral director, by Canon Robert Hulse. She was a graduate of the Royal Conservatory of Music at the University of Toronto and had studied organ with Dr Charles Peaker of St Paul’s, Bloor Street, Toronto. Shirley started a youth choir that expanded into a mixed choir as her music programme grew. In 1972, the parish was instrumental in founding the present St John’s-Kilmarnock School. The church and school shared music directors well into the 1980s. In 1977, Noel Edison was invited to lead the parish girls choir. (Boys still sang the treble line in the parish choir.) In 1982, he assumed full responsibility for the parish music. Noel pressed Canon Robert Hulse to let the mixed choir evolve into a professional adult choir. The canon believed that the Anglican liturgy required the best possible choral music to accompany it, so he was a keen supporter. The nearby universities of Laurier, Guelph and Waterloo provided potential members from amongst their music students and graduates. Thus, the present all professional, 22-member choir, continues under the direction of Dr Noel Edison. During Noel’s thirty year tenure the choir has undertaken two English expeditions, including stops at St Paul’s Cathedral, Windsor Castle, Coventry and Canterbury Cathedrals. The choir tours locally in Canada and the US.




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