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.
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.
Born in Yunnan, China, Xin wang arrived in Canada at the age of 18 in 1994. She has since then made her home in Toronto with her husband Wallace Halladay, three children and a giant dog. Xin has loved Singing since early childhood and she is grateful that she lives daily doing what she loves. She teaches, now virtually, an active studio of hardworking students looking for ways to use their voice freely. She gives masterclasses to university students in pursuing Contemporary Music performance techniques. She performs contemporary music regularly in Toronto. She also is a passionate cook always looking for ways to make even the pandemic delicious. Xin has been with St. Andrew’s choir since 2007 and she enjoys making music weekly with friends in a beautiful, welcoming and supportive Church such as St andrew’s.
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.