The Aeolian Singers – 41 Years!
Now in its 41st season, the Aeolian Singers began under the direction of founder Claire Wall as a program of Dartmouth Continuing Education. From 1976 to 1990 the choir performed under Claire’s direction, competing and winning in music festivals, making recordings, performing with Symphony Nova Scotia and touring throughout the United Kingdom, Europe, and many parts of Canada. The Aeolians have always been enthusiastic champions of new music created for women’s voices, including commissions in those years supported by the Canada Council for the Arts and the CBC, such as Dennis Farrell’s Vestigia and Alasdair MacLean’s Songs and Sayings, among other pieces.
Over time the choir became a provincially registered non-profit society and in 1990, Jacqueline Chambers became the choir’s second Artistic Director, a position she held for 20 years. During Jackie’s tenure, the choir made two CDs, collaborated with many Nova Scotian and Canadian women artists, and developed themed concerts for International Women’s Day under the Celebrating Women title. These partnerships broke new ground for women’s choirs, developing programs featuring modern dance, flamenco, poetry and theatre. The Aeolians continued to commission new works for women’s voices from a who’s who of Canadian arrangers, songwriters and composers, including Stephen Hatfield, Scott Macmillan, Donna Rhodenizer, Lydia Adams, Susan Crowe, Connie Kaldor, Jennifer Wyatt, the late Raylene Rankin, Christopher Palmer and others.
In 2011 The Aeolian Singers entered a new phase with the appointment of Janet Gaskin as its third Artistic Director. A former choir member and guest conductor, Janet has brought a wealth of choral experience and musical knowledge to the Aeolians. She’s created innovative programs with choral colleagues Malcolm Bradley/Dartmouth Choral Society, Jacqueline Chambers/Creative Voices of Truro, and Moncton’s Carolyn Keirstead/Riversong, Coastal Voices (of which Janet is also the Artistic Director) and Bryan Crocker/Nova Voce. The Aeolians produced an original show, Babes on Broadway, written and conceived by Eleanor Hall, and collaborated with artists such as Laura Smith, Shimon Walt and Lydia Hanson.
Joanne Slack is the Assistant Conductor of the Aeolian Singers, and is leading the choir for the fall season. Our Accompanist is Diana Torbert. Heather Fraser will become our fourth Artistic Director commencing in the 2017-18 season. Local music educator Fran Farrell will lead the choir for the rest of the 2016-17 season, from January to May, and will conduct our spring concert on Saturday, May 27 at First Baptist Church in Halifax. Stay in touch with the choir at www.aeoliansingers.ca, or find us on Facebook or Twitter. We are always looking for new committed choral singers.