1992 (age 25)
Vancouver, Metro Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Chor Leoni has a polish, a sound, a spontaneity and a style that I feel is unequalled by any male voice choir that I have ever heard…
Maestro Bramwell Tovey
A rich full-bodied sound, innovative programming, technical precision, meticulous intonation, and versatility coupled with an ever-present musical curiosity and commitment to the creation of new Canadian choral works are qualities that have catapulted Chor Leoni to national and international fame since its founding by Diane Loomer C.M. in 1992. Whether it be a sombre moment of reflection during a Remembrance Day performance or a joyful turn of comedic phrasing at a Summer Solstice show, Chor Leoni is renowned for reaching across the footlights and transforming the performance from ‘concert’ to ‘conversation.’ The lions live up to their name as they fearlessly move between musical genres, always aiming to communicate, engage, and entertain. Engendering tears of emotion, peals of laughter, and gasps of awe from their audiences, Chor Leoni prides itself on its ability to perform in many languages and styles, always sung with fresh energy and poise.
Building on a long history of success in the biennial CBC/Radio-Canada National Radio Competition for Amateur Choirs, Chor Leoni took first in their class of the 2006 competition. In 2002 Chor Leoni won the Male Voice and Contemporary Categories and received a special prize for the Best Performance of a Canadian Work, Chant to Bring Back the Light by R. Murray Schafer. They went on to represent Canada in the Let the Peoples Sing international choral contest. Here they competed against world-renowned choirs representing twenty-one countries. Despite being the only male choir and the only North American choir in the entire competition, Chor Leoni finished in the top four.
The choir is regarded as a leader in the Canadian male choir movement, acting as mentors and inspiration to choirs across the country. Chor Leoni’s Remembrance Day and Summer Solstice concerts are recognized as popular fixtures on the Vancouver choral calendar.
The choir has performed regularly with Vancouver ensembles and orchestras, toured nationally, and recorded several national broadcasts. In addition to their main concert series, Chor Leoni performs frequently at community events throughout the Lower Mainland and is heard “live-to-air” on CBC Radio each December, as part of the CBC Food Bank Day and on Shelagh Rogers’ Christmas Eve broadcast of Sounds Like Canada. In 2005 the choir launched PROMYS (PROgram for Mentoring Young Singers), inviting talented singers from surrounding high schools to join with Chor Leoni in rehearsals and performance.
Chor Leoni has performed for the Association of Canadian Choral Conductors’ PODIUM 2000, the International Society of Music Educators’ 2000 convention, and for the 2002 regional conference of the American Choral Directors Association in Tacoma, WA. They were the Canadian choral representative for the 2002 AmericaFest World Festival of Singing for Boys and Men at Collegeville, MN, and were enthusiastically received at the Sixth World Symposium on Choral Music, held in Minneapolis, MN in August 2002.
In 2006 the choir was asked to record a CD for use in the hospice and palliative care field. Undertaken as a specific non-profit recording project, Healing Voices is a collection of contemplative works that engenders compassion, understanding, and affirmation of life's purpose. It is marketed through the Vancouver-based Callanish Society. Also, Chor Leoni has produced eight CDs which are commercially available, two on Skylark Records (Songs of War and Peace and Magnificat), and six on their own Cypress Choral Recordings label (Canadian Safari, Canadian Safari 2, Goin’ Home, Chor Leoni, Yuletide Fires and Circle of Compassion). Yuletide Fires was awarded the prestigious 2004 National Choral Award for Outstanding Choral Recording by the Association of Canadian Choral Conductors, and a 2004 Western Canadian Music Award in the category of Outstanding Classical Recording by the Western Canadian Music Alliance. Their latest recording, Circle of Compassion, features music the choir has performed in recent Remembrance Day concerts, much of it commissioned by or arranged for Chor Leoni.
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