Music has been an integral part of the worship and ministry of St. Andrew’s Church throughout its long history. Dan Bickle, Director of Music at St. Andrew’s, along with playing the organ at Sunday Service, directs both the eight-member professional Choir and the St. Andrew’s Choristers. Daniel holds an undergraduate degree in Music Education from the University of Toronto where he studied organ with Douglas Bodle, Music Director Emeritus at St. Andrew’s Church. He also has a graduate degree in Choral Conducting from the University of Illinois.
The Gallery Choir:
The members of the Gallery Choir are all trained as professional singers, some of whom work full-time in music.
Bradley Christensen enjoys a busy multi-faceted career as a baritone, voice teacher, and guest clinician, and has continued to earn praise for his “most well-rounded instrument … focused, rich, and sympathetically communicative” (Natasha Gauthier, Ottawa Citizen). He holds four degrees: a BMUS (Hons) in Vocal Performance and a BA in Italian, both from the University of Auckland, and a MMus and a DMA in Voice Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Toronto. In 2016, he was invited by The Royal Conservatory of Toronto to hold one of seven positions in its prestigious Rebanks Family Fellowship and International Performance Residency Program. He also furthered his development as a young artist with Opera on the Avalon, Highlands Opera Studio, and Opera North.
Bradley has had the pleasure of working with many arts organizations across Canada and internationally through the realms of opera, operetta, oratorio, chamber music, song recitals, and musical theater. Recent performance highlights include appearances with: Canadian Opera Company Concert Series, Cultureland Opera Collective, Confluence Concerts, Choral Connection, Bach Elgar Choir, New Opera Lyra, as well as a performance in Auckland, New Zealand of Brahms’ song cycle, Die schöne Magelone, staged by Aria Umezawa. Bradley made his US debut in 2017 performing the role of Agamemnon with Opera North in Offenbach’s La belle Hélène, while also covering the role of Fred/Petruccio in Cole Porter’s Kiss me Kate.
Awards include the Sondra Radvanovsky scholarship, awarded by the International Resource Centre for Performing Artists as one of 10 ‘Singing Stars: The Next Generation’; the Pears-Britten singing scholarship (University of Auckland); the Marie D’Albini scholarship in singing (University of Auckland); and a travelling scholarship to study in Italy in 2007 (University of Auckland). Bradley has also been a top 10 finalist in the New Zealand Aria Competition, the LEXUS Song Quest and the Rochester International Voice Competition.
Diane English has been a member of the Gallery Choir at St. Andrew’s for more than 20 years. Originally from BC, Diane moved to Toronto to pursue graduate work in music before joining the CBC as a producer for Radio 2/CBC Music. Diane worked at the CBC for a decade before starting her own arts management company, working with organizations like the Elora Festival, Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and Soundstreams Canada. Diane has also worked at a non-profit in parks and recreation sector and is now a consultant in that field. In addition to singing with St. Andrew’s and other professional choirs in Ontario, Diane is a certified fitness instructor with GoodLife and enjoys sewing, knitting and baking. Diane treasures many things about St. Andrew’s including the Karl Wilhelm organ, played so beautifully by Douglas Bodle and now Dan Bickle, the talented singers in the choir, the warm congregation, the gifted Ministers and the vibrant programs of this very special church community.
Mezzo-soprano Elizabeth Forster has been a member of St. Andrew’s Gallery Choir for more than 30 years. Her earliest memory is of singing at the top of her lungs, an activity she has happily pursued professionally with the Stratford Festival, the Canadian Opera Company, the Elora Festival, and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. Elizabeth was a featured soloist in the JUNO Award-winning series of Classical Kids albums, including Beethoven Lives Upstairs. A native Torontonian, she holds degrees in vocal music and medieval studies from the University of Toronto, where she studied with Douglas Bodle. After a varied career in communications and on-air work at the CBC, Elizabeth has recently launched a career in real estate. Since 2012, she has been part of the Music at St. Andrew’s team led by Dan Bickle, helping to organize, produce and perform in musical events for the St. Andrew’s community and beyond. Two of these events have been broadcast on CBC Radio. Elizabeth looks forward to singing in the gallery with her talented colleagues and rejoining the St. Andrew’s community in person.
Carrie Wiebe, soprano, is a versatile performer, having performed across genres, from opera to musical theatre to folk-country. She holds a Bachelor of Music – Performance from the University of Manitoba, an Certificate in Opera from the Vancouver Academy of Music, and spent three summers at the Banff Centre for the Arts where she performed in and work-shopped the productions of new Canadian works Frobisher and Filumena, by composer John Estacio and playwright John Murrell. (Incidentally, that is where she first met long-time friend and fellow St. Andrews soprano Allison!) Outside of music, she also holds a Master’s degree in Public Policy and Administration, and is currently working on her Professional Master’s in Law, both of which support her role as a Director at Toronto Metropolitan University.
Carrie has also been a soloist with Soundstreams and Queen of Pudddings Music Theatre and has recorded for CBC Radio and the Naxos classical label. A career highlight for Carrie was playing a nun in the critically acclaimed Toronto Mirvish production of The Sound of Music. She was a member of the Canadian Opera Company Chorus from 2012 to 2019.
After many years as a choir sub for Diane, Elizabeth and Allison in the St. Andrews Choir, Carrie is thrilled to have joined this wonderful group of singers full time. She is happy to be part of a vibrant, relevant and inviting church community in the heart of Toronto.
Mark Wilson has enjoyed singing at St Andrew’s for many years, having started when the building directly across the street was the Lord Simcoe Hotel, and Thomson Hall had yet to be built. He has worked professionally both as a performer and teacher throughout this time, in many diverse capacities and places. Although it’s all been very interesting, Mark really looks forward to a return to making good music, with great people, for great people – in person.
The St. Andrew’s Choristers
If you enjoy singing, we encourage you to come out and join us as a member of our wonderful congregational choir. The Choristers perform at selected Sunday worship services and at other musical events throughout the year.