VIVA!’s six choirs offer members, ages four through adult, the opportunity to achieve artistic excellence in a singer-centered, collaborative choral community, featuring the Choral Mentoring and Leadership Program and the TD Bank Group Inclusion Program.
Founded in 2000 by Carol Woodward Ratzlaff in response to widespread cuts to public school arts programs, 2018-19 marks VIVA!’s 19th season as a downtown family of choirs.
VIVA!’s choirs include: the Preparatory Chorus (ages 4-6); the Junior Choir (ages 6-10); the Main Chorus (ages 9-16); the SATB Chamber Choir (senior high school, university students and adults); and the non-auditioned VIVA! Community Choir (SATB) which incorporates Everyone Can Sing (ECS), an auditioned group for those aged 13 and up with disabilities. VIVA’s unique TD Bank Group Inclusion Program provides support for singers with special needs.
Also singular to VIVA! is the Choral Mentoring and Leadership Program, which forms an integral part of VIVA!’s structure. This Program provides young leaders and aspiring educators with vital opportunities to assist with and instruct singers of all ages and needs. Each choir boasts a number of Teaching Assistants and Vocal Coaches, drawn from the Community & Chamber Choirs.
Performance opportunities are available for all singers through Series Concerts in Jeanne Lamon Hall at the Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre for Faith, Justice and the Arts, and through other professional engagements. Each year, VIVA! invites Canadian guest artists to join the choirs in concert, at the Performing Arts Camp, and at the Annual Spring Gala Fundraiser.
Recognized for its Canadian commissions and diverse programming, VIVA! has an enduring relationship with arts organizations including The National Ballet of Canada, The Toronto Consort, Jumblies Theatre, Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre for Faith, Justice and the Arts. VIVA! has commissioned and performed works by composers including Dean Burry, James Rolfe, Juliet Palmer, Alice Ho, Leslie Arden, Wende Bartley, Norman Gabriel Nurmi and in 2018, Sarah Quartel. Full-length recordings include Carols by Candlelight (2013), and The Best Years (2010).
VIVA!’s choirs have participated in performance tours to New York City, England, Wales , Greece and most recently Spain, where they attended the International Federation for Choral Music World Symposium in Barcelona and performed at Circles Concerts.
VIVA!’s goal of authentic music-making and community-building through the best possible repertoire is achieved by a team of fine musicians and educators, members of the Choral Mentoring & Leadership Program, and a dynamic Board of Directors.
Website Photography by: Erika Jacobs, Bill Fallis, Ria Tzimas, Kate Fowley, Simon Au
Past Season Highlights
- VIVA! Youth Singers responded to the findings of the calls to action by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission exploring music/arts inspired by First Nations and indigenous peoples, and engaging in a cultural dialogue with our young singers, guest musicians, and community leaders
- January 27 Concert The Time of Snow
- March 30 Concert Pergolesi Stabat Mater, MacMillan Cantos Sagrados and Balfour Take the Indian
- April 7 Treble Choir Festival in St. Catharines
- May 23 Concert by Community Choir and ECS at Regis College, U of T
- June 2 Concert Ambe…Welcome!
- June 10 Concert at Christie Gardens
- December Concert Carol of the Child
- February Performance at Leonard Cohen: Ethics and The Artist
- May Youngest Choirs Performance at a local retirement residence
- May Concert Juntos (Together) – España meets Canada at 150
- July Tour to Spain
- Performance at the Metro Convention Centre at the Children’s Aid Foundation Gala
- November Concert – SHANTI! Our Native Land with Cree Hand Drummer and Song Catcher Veronica Johnny
- March – Bach John Passion for Main Chorus and Chamber Youth Choir with orchestra and the Trinity St. Paul’s United Church Choir
- June – The Sword in the Schoolyard, A World Premiere composed by Dean Burry
- performance at the Bliss Ball Fundraiser for the Dilawri Foundation
- Chamber Youth Choir performance at Trinity St. Paul’s Centre’s Remembrance Day Service
- January concert Songs of Innocence with guest artist Michelle Colton, percussion
- Main Chorus participation at the Ontario Vocal Festival in Caledon in February
- Noon Hour Concert at Roy Thomson Hall by Main Chorus and Chamber Youth Choir in March
- The Play of Daniel, a medieval liturgical drama, with The Toronto Consort
- June concert Sumer is Icumen In with guest artists Colin Savage, recorder and Terry McKenna, lute
- Canada’s Walk of Fame Performance with rocker Alice Cooper in honour of legendary music producer Bob Ezrin, broadcast on Global TV
- performance at the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre’s 100th Anniversary Chandelier Gala
- 5th Annual City Carol Sing, a foodbank fundraiser, broadcast on City TV
- Brother Heinrich’s Christmas, a seasonal concert
- Requiem by W. A. Mozart with the Talisker Players Orchestra
- Gilbert & Sullivan’s classic operetta The Mikado performed by all choirs with the Kingsway Chamber Strings
- children’s opera Noye’s Fludde by Benjamin Britten
- A Medieval Bestiary with Toronto Consort by Dean Burry
- music inspired by Greek mythology
- music by Greek Canadian Christos Hatzis
- Greek folk dancer participation
- all choirs house organization by Greek gods
- season culminating tour to Greece in July 2012