Bringing together over 300 Canadian youth and young adult singers, the Bridge Choral Collective connects with luminary guest artists from across Canada and around the world. Using virtual means, we build real-world musical connections with enriching artistic experiences.
Our upcoming artists are featured on our home page, but here are our amazing guests from September-November 2020.
The UP Youth Choir is part of a generation of South Africans that has, as a reference point in their history, the struggle for freedom and peace. This multi-racial teenage choir represent the colours of peace by embracing the qualities that diversity brings to the table. The singers are part of the born free generation that embodies the philosophies of our international icon, Nelson Mandela. The concept Ubuntu, the Nguni term that means: ‘human kindness’ that in the philosophical sense translates to ‘the universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity’, is part of the fabric of this unique choir from South Africa.
Among the choristers in our choir can be seen the immense bonds of friendship and collegiality that develop among these young people, and one would be similarly astounded by the beautiful music they are able to make together. The caliber of the performances and the audience reception of their music, whether at an informal concert, or an international choral festival, demonstrate that there is something unique about this choir. There is something magical about seeing young people working co-operatively, making music, and sharing a profound lesson with us all – that it doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from, or what your personal priorities are; but instead, what you seek to gain from an experience, how you are required to work hard to succeed, and how collaboration often reveals itself as a solution to the many problems our society needs to resolve.
The choir was established in January 2001 and since 2005 conducted by Lhente-Mari Pitout. The choir forms part of the multi-choir model of the University of Pretoria. The regional multicultural youth choir consists of 90 singers between the ages of 14 and 19 years old from 34 schools in the greater Tshwane area in Gauteng South Africa.
They represent the full diversity of South Africa and embracing this diversity gave this wonderful youth choir their unforgettable passionate sound and musicality.
Singer, composer, and song-collector Moira Smiley has sung in arenas, cathedrals, kitchens, back porches, sound stages, and on glaciers. She’s performed with the likes of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Tune-Yards, Tim O’Brien, Eric Whitacre, Los Angeles Master Chorale, New World Symphony, Solas, and The Lyris String Quartet. Moira’s original compositions, choral arrangements, and folk music are being sung by millions of voices around the world today. Original sheet music for more than 170 pieces are available through this website, and Moira’s sheet music library.
Sherryl Sewepagaham is of Cree-Dene ancestry from the Little Red River Cree Nation in northern Alberta. She holds a Bachelor of Music Therapy (Capilano University) and a Bachelor of Education (University of Alberta). Having taught elementary music for 14 years, Sherryl is an experienced elementary Music Educator focusing on Indigenous Music Education and First Nations songs for the classroom. Now as a Music Therapist, she works with Indigenous patients in the areas of Geriatric and Palliative Care at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton, AB, but still continues to provide education workshops in schools on Fridays.
Sherryl is also a 22-year member of the 2005 Juno-nominated, Edmonton-based trio Asani and composes drum songs in the Cree language. Asani received a 2010 Canadian Folk Music Award, a 2010 Indian Summer Music Award, a 2005 Canadian Aboriginal Music Award, and many other music awards nominations. Asani toured extensively around the world performing at Carnegie Hall in New York, The Kennedy Centre in Washington D.C., and the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver BC.
Sherryl is also a composer of traditional and contemporary First Nations drum songs. Her 2014 debut solo album, Splashing the Water Loudly, received a 2015 Indigenous Music Award nomination and is featured in APTN’s Chaos and Courage series. Sherryl wrote the music and lyrics for the National Arts Centre’s Music Alive Program (MAP) song, “Music Alive”, which has been shared with elementary schools across Canada. Sherryl also created and co-created three teacher resources for the MAP program and continues to develop cultural programs for music teachers.
The Finnish word Rajaton translates as “boundless” – a word that so accurately describes the way this six-voice a cappella ensemble approaches music. Regularly performing around a hundred concerts and workshops each year, Rajaton exposes their audiences to the kind of diversity of repertoire, singing style, and stage presentation that has made them a phenomenon on the world stage.
Performing at concert halls, churches, jazz and choral festivals, this distinct group of musicians approaches all styles of music with the same level of commitment and integrity, making it difficult to imagine an audience that they could not inspire, or a type of music they could not make their own. In their native Finland, Rajaton is a bona fide pop phenomenon, successfully bridging the gap that often exists between classical and mainstream convention.
Rajaton has released 16 different albums. In 2017, Rajaton celebrates 20 years of music-making with one double platinum, three platinum and eight gold records in Finland under their belt, as their worldwide record sales are drawing over 400.000 copies altogether.
Ever seeking new artistic challenges, the group has grown immeasurably through collaborations with other a cappella artists, including The King’s Singers and The Real Group, as well as productions with film directors and choreographers. But it is perhaps their deep passion for choral art, their generosity of spirit and their sheer enjoyment of singing that has won the hearts and acclaim of audiences and critics everywhere. Their energy – infectious; their ability to entertain and inspire – Rajaton!
The voice is boundless.
This season marks Elise Bradley’s eleventh year as Artistic Director of the 300-member Toronto Children’s Chorus. A passionate musician, award-winning conductor and educator, and internationally respected adjudicator and clinician, Ms. Bradley served for many years as the Head of Department, Music, at Westlake Girls’ High School in Auckland, New Zealand. She was also a soloist and member of New Zealand’s national Chamber Choir, Voices NZ.Since arriving in Toronto in 2007, Ms. Bradley has garnered praise for her artistry and for her deep commitment to children and the art of treble choral music. She has led the Chamber Choir on eight international tours – Austria, the Czech Republic and Germany (2009), Brazil and Argentina (2011), Sweden (2012), South Africa (2013), Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland (2015), Boston and New York City (2016), Bahamas (2016) and Spain, to perform at the World Symposium on Choral Music in Barcelona (2017) – and three provincial tours: Ottawa (2012), Montreal and Ottawa (2013), and Halifax, Truro, and Amherst (2014). In late June 2018, she will travel with the Chamber Choir to St. John’s, Newfoundland, to perform once again at ‘Podium’, Choral Canada’s biennial national conference.
Under her direction, the choir’s latest CD, Sounzscapes: From Our Lands, was named ‘Outstanding Choral Recording’ by Choral Canada in 2014. She has also commissioned Canadian composers to write new works to be premiered by the Toronto Children’s Chorus and has prepared the Main Choir to perform as guests of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Youth Orchestra, Opera Atelier, the Bach Consort, Soundstreams, and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir.
Ms. Bradley receives many invitations to work with choirs and present at conferences around the world, including Choralfest 2017 hosted by the Australian National Choral Association (Brisbane), Dozan wa Awtar children’s choir (Amman, Jordan), the inaugural New Zealand National Children’s Choir (Auckland), the IFCM World Choral Expo (Macau, China), Kokopelli Choirs (Edmonton, Alberta), and Gondwana Voices (Sydney, Australia). In August 2017, she was honoured to be invited by Choirs Ontario to serve as conductor the Ontario Youth Choir during its celebrated tour to Ottawa, Cobourg, and Toronto, and next March she looks forward to adjudicating and conducting choirs in Hong Kong.
In 1987, Dublin composer Michael McGlynn founded ANÚNA. The ensemble’s name, originally An Uaithne, derives from the collective term for the three ancient types of Irish music Suantraí (lullaby), Geantraí (happy song) and Goltraí (lament). While most of the performers in ANÚNA come from the island of Ireland, the group’s members are drawn from across the world. The music they perform is composed primarily by Michael McGlynn, and includes reconstructions of medieval song from Ireland and traditional arrangements. ANÚNA perform live with twelve singers, and are equally at home in an amplified theatrical setting or an unamplified concert hall. While the group’s atmospheric stage performance still enthralls listeners across the world after over thirty years, it is the unique sound the ensemble make that continues to bring new audiences to see ANÚNA. Despite numerous changes of personnel their collective voice retains its power and ability to connect with people all over the planet.
Jason Max Ferdinand is a Full Professor, Chair of the Music Department, and Director of Choral Activities at Oakwood University where he conducts the Aeolians of Oakwood University.
A native of Trinidad & Tobago, Ferdinand received his Bachelor of Arts degree in piano from the Oakwood College (now Oakwood University), the Master of Arts in Choral Conducting from Morgan State University, and the Doctor of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting from the University of Maryland.
The Aeolians of Oakwood University was originally organized in 1946 by the late Dr. Eva B. Dykes. Since its inception, the choir has traveled widely, touching the hearts of both young and old with their inspirational singing.
A Grammy-winning crossover jazz vocalist and multi-instrumentalist with a flair for harmony and arranging, Jacob Collier became an Internet sensation in the early 2010s with his layered performances, achieving a one-man harmony vocal group, often with accompanying video takes. A mix of original songs and heavily stylized covers, his debut album, 2016’s In My Room, reached the Top Three of the Billboard jazz chart.