When COVID-19 arrived in our community, the choirs of Greater Sudbury fell silent.
Young Sudbury Singers (YSS) general manager Ralph McIntosh started speaking with local choir directors about the future of choir and what next year may look like.
“Several choirs were discussing organizing online rehearsals and making videos, and one had already participated in a virtual recording project with singers in southern Ontario,” McIntosh said.
“When my wife, Councillor Deb McIntosh, overheard one of these conversations, she said we can’t have fireworks on Canada Day this year, so we need something to help the community celebrate.”
With that, Sudbury’s O Canada Project was hatched.
After securing the potential interest of several other directors, Ralph researched how to produce a virtual choir video, obtained funding support from YSS and The Bel Canto Chorus, and recruited a local recording technician who had worked with YES Theatre on its virtual fundraiser for the Sudbury Food Bank.
He then wrote a choral arrangement of the national anthem in both French and English, and invited members of five community choirs to participate.
“We owe a huge debt of thanks to the people who have helped with the technical aspects of this production, specifically Tess Dufour and Dr. Hoi Cheu, as this has been a huge learning curve for me," he said.
It was a learning curve as well for the 100 singers who signed up to record their parts at home and submit them online.
The virtual mass choir includes members of The Bel Canto Chorus, Nickel City Sound, Sudbury Chamber Singers, Sudbury Studio Singers, and YSS.
They are joined by local essential service workers from Greater Sudbury EMS, fire, police Services, Health Sciences North, Pioneer Manor, and Public Health Sudbury & District, as well as several community leaders.
Check out the video performance above.
The performance will also be featured during the Sudbury Celebrates Canada Day virtual event on July 1.
“We hope that people from all across the country and those Canadians living abroad will stand with us on Canada Day to sing along with Greater Sudbury’s virtual Canada Day Choir.”