The New Tecumseth Singers was founded by John Dodington and Margaret Kukurugya, both accomplished musicians who had long desired to form a community choir in the Alliston area. Dodington is a local resident who at the time was a regular cast member in the Phantom of the Opera at the Pantages Theatre in Toronto.
The choir’s inaugural spring concert was in May of 1992, at St. John’s United Church in Alliston. In front of a sold-out crowd, we showcased our vocal talents through English and French music, spiritual songs and pieces from the works of Gilbert and Sullivan. In the following years, the group’s membership grew, along with a knack for wowing music lovers time and time again. The group has also become an integral part of the community, through its fundraising concerts and participation at events, like the Santa Claus parade and Light Up night.
Sharon Poelstra of Stratford became the director of the choir in 2000, and led us through 14 seasons of glorious music-making, including performances of Handel's Messiah, which have become a cherished tradition in the community, and Mozart's Requiem.
A high point for the choir was in 2007 when we recorded our first CD, titled Look to This Day. Towards the end of 2013, Sharon indicated that she would be retiring, and a search for a suitable replacement was undertaken. On December 1, 2013 the new Music Director, John Wervers, conducted the choir in concert for the first time.
The group is well known for singing spiritual music. However, the choir has performed everything from contemporary to classical, from master works to musical theatre, to world music, and even pop music arrangements. For the most part the choir stays close to home, performing in Alliston, Tottenham and Cookstown. But the group has made successful appearances in competitions, like at the Newmarket Voices Festival and the Barrie Music Festival. Over the years, the group has included members of all ages and musical talents who all share a true passion for singing. New members are welcome!
Under the new leadership of John Wervers, the choir has focused on one major work per concert, in addition to a variety of shorter contrasting works and guest instrumentalists. One of the mainstays of John's mission with the NTS is the inclusion of youth and local artists at each concert, when and where feasible. Under his leadership, the choir has performed Vivaldi's Gloria, Pergolesi's Magnificat, Haydn's Little Organ Mass, and the Schubert Mass in G, along with a collection of works by Rutter, Rachmaninoff, Thompson and Chilcott. Many other short works have been included, and the compositions of well-known Canadian composers and arrangers have been presented.
To date, John has utilized the talents of local artists including: Sunyatta Guild, Sean Derraugh, Lorne Derraugh, Katie Thurman , Olivia Cacciola, The Banting Brass, The Banting Glee Club, The Doddington Youth Singers, Ken Inkster, Mark Gagnon, Kim Stevenson, Heather Faris, Alessandra Garzon, andAmelia DePiero.
Another goal of John's is to make music more accessible to all. This he does by programming at least one or more opportunities for the audience to sing along with the choir, and therefore rekindle the most ancient and most natural form of music that we are all blessed to be a part of: singing.
John also believes that community choirs can gain a great deal by working together in combined projects. More recently, the NTS has enjoyed the opportunity of combining forces with the Dufferin Concert Singers of Orangeville and the Sound Investment Community Choir of Collingwood in massed choir presentations, some of which have been accompanied by chamber orchestra. More recently, under Mr. Wervers direction,the choir has performed in Collingwood, Creemore, Brantford, Shelburne and Orangeville.