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.


INTRODUCING OUR GALLERY CHOIR

 

 

Allison Angelo

Soprano Allison Angelo began singing at St. Andrew’s while she was a student of Douglas Bodle’s at the University of Toronto Faculty of Music. She is now an 18-year veteran of the choir, but is still technically one of the newbies, as half the choir has been here longer than she has. It’s just that kind of choir – no one wants to leave! Allison has also been involved with Music at St. Andrew’s and the St Andrew’s Refugee Committee.

Professionally, Allison’s passion for singing has taken her across Canada, singing for many of Canada’s orchestras including the symphonies of Toronto, Edmonton, Vancouver, Winnipeg, Kingston and Victoria as well as Symphony Nova Scotia and the National Arts Centre Orchestra. She has appeared on stage with l’Opéra de Montréal, the Boston Pops, the Tanglewood Festival, Toronto Operetta Theatre, the Luminato Festival, the Mountain View Connection Concert Series, Off-Centre Music Salon, Cecilia Concerts, the Elmer Iseler Singers, and the Elora Festival. Her debut recording, Moon Loves Its Light, received an ECMA nomination for Best Classical Recording in 2017.
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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.

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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.

Tenor Keith Klassen has emerged to become one of Canada’s busiest vocal artists. Since graduating with honours from the Opera Division at the University of Toronto in 2002, he has performed over one hundred roles from the standard and new operatic repertoire. He has been engaged across Canada, as well as in Scotland, Ireland, Germany, the United States, the Czech Republic, and the Bahamas. He has received rave reviews, praised as a  “tour de force, a commanding presence with superb vocal skills” (The Ontario Arts Review), for being “a skilled tenor, vocally spirited and robust, who works his emotional range with depth and authenticity” (For The Record), and as “one of the country’s most versatile artists, whose leading-man swagger, comic panache and solid-brass vocals steal the show whenever he appears” (The Toronto Star). NOW Magazine went so far as to rate Keith as one of Toronto’s top ten theatre artists. Keith has enjoyed singing at St Andrew’s for a decade and can’t wait to receive his commemorative watch, but will happily settle for singing and worshipping together in person.

Jason Nedecky is very glad to be acting as substitute soloist this season in the bass section of the choir, having also filled in on several occasions in the past. Since 2005, Jason has been a regular chorister of the Canadian Opera Company. He is also an instructor of diction and repertoire at the University of Toronto Faculty of Music, and at the Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory. His textbook on French lyric diction will be published by Oxford University Press later this year.

 Since moving to Toronto in the fall of 2014 Sri Lankan tenor, Asitha Tennekoon has quickly established himself as a versatile singer and actor. His breakout performance in Tapestry Opera’s Rocking Horse Winner earned him critical acclaim and a 2017 Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding Performance in Opera. While Tennekoon continues to perform regularly with opera companies around Canada, as a concert performer he is highly sought after for his skillful interpretation of baroque and modern repertoire.

Tennekoon is a Co-Founder of Amplified Opera. A company that places artists at the centre of public discourse with a view to inspire audiences to embrace diverse and challenging cultural experiences

 

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.

You don’t need a great voice, just a love of music and an interest in learning.