Strata Vocal Ensemble began with a group of friends from various choirs who loved to sing, laugh and perform a wide variety of music. We were an ad hoc group who would gather in the backyard in the summer over a beer or two to sight read..… our idea of fun! At the end of the summer, we would put together a program for family and friends. We were a self-directed and consensus-driven ensemble who just lived to sing.
Out of this group, Strata evolved as a performance choir doing 2 or 3 concerts per year. After taking a full season to bond and build repertoire, we gave our first concert in June, 2005. There were only 9 of us at that inaugural concert. Small but mighty! Our audience responded enthusiastically to our eclectic programming, as well as our sound in the beautiful acoustic of MacNeill Baptist Church. Thus encouraged, we even entered the CBC Canadian Choral Competition in 2006 and placed as national semi-finalists, though we had to bulk up to a dozen singers in order to qualify to compete. Our juried performance aired on CBC Radio 2’s program, Choral Concert. We had caught the bug!!
In Strata, we strive to keep a communal approach both to programming and to musical interpretation. Choristers are welcome to put forward suggestions to enhance the music. We also have a committee of volunteers that meets in the summer to plan concerts. We truly believe that working together will produce a better product.
In 2010 Strata invited Dr. Gordon Adnams to be our conductor. Gord had a wealth of experience and also had the necessary collegial style of leadership that worked for us. We grew under his tutelage, but in June of 2017, Gord decided to hang up his baton in order to spend more time with his grandchildren.
As of September 2017, we are very excited to welcome Laurel Forshaw as our conductor. With her leadership, we are still consensus-driven, delighting in eclectic programming and striving to highlight Canadian composers in particular. We look forward to experiencing Laurel’s musical sensitivities, knowledge and vision as we grow under her new direction in a long and fruitful collaboration.
Our tribute to the sun, moon, and stars
- Saturday April 28th at 7:30 pm
Knox Presbyterian Church, 89 Dunn St, Oakville
- Sunday April 29th at 3 pm
MacNeill Baptist Church, 1145 King St W, Hamilton
We in Strata Vocal Ensemble are excited to reveal some details of our upcoming concert, Strata’s Sphere, which will showcase all manner of songs about the sun, moon, and stars. Clearly our vibrant new conductor, Laurel Forshaw, is inspiring us to new heights!
Highlights include Northern Lights by Ola Gjeilo, Sure on this Shining Night by Morten Lauridsen, Ballade to the Moon by Daniel Elder, and Choose Something Like a Star by Randall Thompson. We are thrilled to have found a gorgeous, mystical piece by Eleanor Daley composed for a poem by Mary Louise Martin, a Mi’kmaq poet, called grandmother moon. Also featured are “heavenly” selections by Canadian composers, Stephen Chatman, Robert Ingari, and Susan Ellenton.
For a change of pace the program will include Butterfly by the hit vocal group Rajaton, along with arrangements of George Harrison’s Here Comes the Sun and Irving Berlin’s oldie but goldie I got the Sun in the Morning. There’s always something for everyone at a Strata concert!
We invite you to join us in celebrating the splendor of the heavens! Buy tickets online.
The Big Sing!
On Friday December 15th we invited you to embrace the holiday spirit at the historic Ancaster Old Town Hall, 310 Wilson Street, for live music, hot cider, treats and Christmas Tree Awards. Enjoy a sample of an earlier magical evening in 2016: