Gather Round Singers

Gather Round Singers learning ASL lyrics with Tamyka Bullen, May 2020

The Gather Round Singers meet every Thursday from 6-8pm via Zoom. All are welcome to join us! If technology is a barrier, we can offer support.
For info e-mail

The Gather Round Singers is a Toronto-based radically inclusive community choir that creates and performs new musical works with arts and community partners. The choir is made up of singers of mixed ages, abilities and backgrounds, and upholds core values of access by eschewing auditions; learning music by ear; providing transportation, healthy food, interpretation and translation (including ASL), personal care workers, and on-site childcare; using step-free venues, and welcoming new singers at any point in the process (up to and including the day of a performance!).

Despite the sad fact that choral singing is not something that can happen in real life at the moment, our choir has been carrying on through virtual and remote means. In May 2020 the choir took part in MABELLEarts Virtual Iftar Nights In November the choir presented two new works at the virtual Vancouver Downtown Eastside Heart of the City Festival. In the spring the choir is hosting two ‘Virtual Coffee Houses’ to share new works in progress.

Conductor & Director: Shifra Cooper
Resident Composer: Arie Verheul van de Ven
Resident Choreographer: Anmikiique Couchie
Accompanist: Daev Clysdale
Choir Manager: Joanna Prescod
Vocal Coaches/Anchor Singers: Natalie Fasheh, Sam Rowlandson-O’Hara, Risa DeRege, Lisette Cogdell
Outreach & Wellness Coordinators: Catherine Moeller, Rakefet Arieli
Outreach & Tech Support: Ahmed Hegazi, Tijana Spasich, Oshan Starrevelt
Composers: Hussein Janmohamed, Arie Verheul van de Ven, Martin van de Ven, Christina Volpini, Cheldon Paterson
Choreographers: Michelle Silagy, Kevin Ormsby, Sasha Mattock
Artists & ASL Poet: Tamyka Bullen
& others tbd.

Guest Artists during virtual sessions:
Composers: Hussein Janmohamed, Martin van de Ven, Christina Volpini, Cheldon Paterson
Choreographers: Michelle Silagy, Kevin Ormsby, Sasha Mattock
Artist & ASL Poet: Tamyka Bullen
ASL Interpreter: Latasha Lennox

The Gather Round Singers have performed many newly-commissioned works, in partnership with Continuum Contemporary Music, Soundstreams and other partners, with composers including Juliet Palmer, Jason Doell, Alex Eddington, Britta Johnson, Emilie LeBel, Cathy Nosaty, Alejandra Nunez, Binaeshee-Quae Couchie-Nabigon, Daev Clysdale, Rosary Spence, Lieke van de Voort, Monica Pierce, Christina Volpini, Martin and Arie van de ven, Melody and Beverley McKiver, and Hussein Janmohamed.

Shifra Cooper is the founding conductor and director of The Gather Round Singers. She has ten years experience working as a community-engaged artist and choir conductor. She has worked on community arts projects in Toronto and across Canada, including with MABELLEarts, Jumblies, Vancouver Moving Theatre, Spence Neighbourhood Association, Making Room Community Arts, and The United Jewish People’s Order. Shifra has received a nomination for the Leslie Bell Prize for Choral Conducting (2016), a Metcalf Performing Arts Internship (2017), and completed a Masters of Teaching at OISE (University of Toronto) in 2020. 

Daev (pronounced Dave) Clysdale is a musician from Ottawa, now living in Toronto. Daev plays a variety of instruments and musical styles, specializing in the performance of Irish traditional music on his main four instruments: wooden flute, tin whistle, piano and accordion. He has been playing, performing and composing music for over twenty years. Daev attended the music program at Carleton University, where he studied both classical and traditional Irish music. In 2015, Daev composed an original suite for orchestra and tin whistle, and performed it with the North Bay Symphony Orchestra. Daev is a member of the band Rant Maggie Rant and a regular piano accompanist for the Gather Round Singers.