The Aeolian Singers – Our 44th Season
Now in its 44th season, the Aeolian Singers the Aeolian Singers began under the direction of founder Claire Wall as a program of Dartmouth Continuing Education. From 1976 to 1990 the choir under Claire’s leadership competed and won in music festivals, made recordings, performed with Symphony Nova Scotia and toured the United Kingdom, Europe and many parts of Canada. From its beginning the Aeolians were enthusiastic champions of new music for women’s voices, including commissions 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 others.
The choir became a provincially registered non-profit society and in 1990 Jacqueline Chambers became its second artistic director, a position lasting 20 years. During her tenure, the choir made two recordings, 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 choir, with original 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, Janet Gaskin became the third artistic director. A former choir member and guest conductor, Janet brought a wealth of choral experience and musical knowledge to the Aeolians, creating innovative programs with choral colleagues Malcolm Bradley/Dartmouth Choral Society, Jacqueline Chambers/Creative Voices of Truro, and Moncton’s Carolyn Keirstead/Riversong, Coastal Voices, 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, the choir’s assistant conductor, led the choir in the fall of the 2016-17 season and music educator and conductor Frances Farrell led the choir later in the winter/spring term.
Heather Fraser became the choir’s fourth Artistic Director in the 2017-18 season and has been presenting exciting repertoire with the choir in themed-concerts with special guests such as harpist Alys Howe, author Donna Morrissey and oud player Hussam Al Assad. Halifax pianist Diana Torbert accompanies the choir.
The Aeolians are thrilled to be returning to their Dartmouth roots and to sing for DCCA audiences in the coming season!