Guelph Chamber Choir Closes Their Season with World-Class Canadian Soprano and Chamber Orchestra of Solo Instruments

charlene and ggc oct 2019 concert cropped

By Brenda Lewis

The evening of Saturday, March 28th marks the final concert of the Guelph Chamber Choir’s 2019/2020 season, and the end of newly-appointed Artistic Director Dr. Charlene Pauls’ inaugural year. The excitement is building toward next year’s fortieth season!

Dr. Charlene Pauls conducting the Guelph Chamber Choir. Photo credit, Sandra Pitts.

The cornerstone of the program will be one of British composer John Rutter’s most beloved pieces, his “Requiem” for choir and chamber orchestra. Dr. Pauls explains: “Some readers may remember his “May the Lord Bless You” as a selection at the wedding of Meghan and Harry – not a surprise given that John Rutter has been one of Britain’s foremost composers of the last several decades. The “Requiem” was written in 1985 and is dedicated to Rutter’s father, who had passed away the previous year. Of note is his choice of text. He creates a very personal approach to the Requiem form by weaving traditional Latin liturgy together with excerpts from the Psalms sung in English.”

gcc conductor charlene pauls in red med 2019
Dr. Charlene Pauls, Conductor of the Guelph Chamber Choir
Photo provided by Guelph Chamber Choir

“Stylistically, Rutter’s compositional palette encompasses a wonderful range of colours and musical styles, tied together by gorgeous melodies that sound as if they could not have been written any other way. The Guelph Chamber Choir has enjoyed exploring the melodies and lush harmonic colours created by Rutter and is very much looking forward to the addition of our chamber orchestra comprised of solo instruments as they augment our choral forces on March 28.” 

Joining the forty-plus voices of the GCC are Benjamin Bolt-Martin, Cello; Richard Burrows, Percussion; Christopher Dawes, Organ; Jef ten Kortenaar, Violin; Máté Szigeti, Flute; David Vanbiesbrouck, Oboe; and Sharlene Wallace, Harp. 

The soprano soloist will be Mireille Asselin. Dr. Pauls proudly enthuses: “We are so pleased to be featuring the fabulous Soprano, Mireille Asselin who will be joining us on the stage of the River Run Centre. I met Mireille while she was in her undergrad and we were both in the Tafelmusik Summer Baroque Institute in Toronto. Since that time she has taken her place on the world’s stages, appearing across Europe and at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. What a treat to be working with this exceptional musician once again at this point in her career.” Ms Asselin will also be featured in Mozart’s “Laudate Dominum” and Latvian composer Eriks Esenvalds’ “Only in Sleep”.

Mireille Asselin Soprano
Soprano soloist, Mireille Asselin. Photo provided by Guelph Chamber Choir.

The first half of this concert will also feature Katerina Gimon’s 2019 “beneath/sound” for choir and chamber ensemble. Dr. Pauls offers some background on the composition: “This is actually not a premiere performance of the piece – Orpheus Choir of Toronto commissioned the work for a concert last year featuring all female composers – but what I find important is that we are giving this piece ‘legs’ by continuing to program the work. As far as I know, of the four pieces that were commissioned by Orpheus for that concert last year, this is the only one that is receiving a second performance so far. I was attracted to Gimon’s piece because the music is very well-written and equally importantly, the text is an homage to nature and earth – a theme that is particularly important in our current climate.” 

What a wonderful way to finish this year, and looking ahead to next year’s Season Number 40!

Looking Ahead To Season Number 40!

Below is a sneak peek at Guelph Chamber Choir’s programming for next season. Many more details (plus celebration events in the community!) to come:

Saturday March 28th, 7:30pm
Guelph Chamber Choir presents John Rutter’s Requiem
at the River Run Centre

Saturday, November 7th, 7:30pm:
Guelph Chamber Choir’s 40th Season Opening Concert
(includes post-concert Meet and Greet with our conductor Charlene Pauls and the choir)
at the River Run Centre

Sunday December 6, 3pm
Guelph Chamber Choir presents Annual Carols for Christmas Concert
at St George’s Anglican Church, Guelph

Saturday December 19th, 7:30pm
Annual Handels Messiah with the Guelph Chamber Choir 
at the River Run Centre

Learn much more and order tickets at or phone (519)763-3000.

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