The Elora Singers
• Founded 1980
The 22-member, all-professional Elora Singers are among Canada's most accomplished small choirs. They offer a concert series in their hometown of Elora, Ontario, north of Kitchener, and are associated as well with several other organizations: the three-week Elora Festival, to which they trace their origins, the larger Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, and the smaller Mendelssohn Singers. The origins of the Singers lie with the Elora Festival, which was established in 1980 as the Three Centuries Festival by Michael Purves-Smith; it took its present name in 1990. The idea of a resident choir at the growing festival seemed natural, and the Elora Singers, originally known as the Elora Festival Singers, were established in 1980 by Noel Edison, a Toronto native who had moved to Elora and was involved with the growth of the Elora Festival. He remained the Singers' artistic director and conductor for many years and received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012. He was succeeded by Mark Vuorinen, a Kitchener-based choral conductor who has championed Canadian choral music; as of 2018 he held the title of Interim Artistic Director. The Elora Singers' association with the new Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and Mendelssohn Singers began in 1997. With its warm sound, the Singers appeal to the Elora festival-goers who come to hear a wide range of Canadian classical and pop acts that have included Maureen Forrester, Ben Heppner, Randy Bachman, and Buffy Sainte-Marie.
The Elora Singers have a longstanding recording career on the Naxos label that has resulted Juno and Grammy award nominations. In 1988, as the Elora Festival Singers, they issued The Mystery of Christmas, and they have recorded music by both North American (Eric Whitacre, Julian Wachner) and European (Arvo Pärt) composers, often stressing music that has challenged their technical capabilities. Edison has continued to lead the choir on recordings, such as 2018's And So It Goes: Songs of Folk and Lore.