Gather Round Singers

Gather Round Singers learning ASL lyrics with Tamyka Bullen during Virtual Iftar Nights, May 2020

Despite the sad fact that choral singing is not something that can happen in real life at the moment, our all abilities all ages community choir has been carrying on through virtual and remote means.

Every Thursday evening, from March through August, the Gather Round Singers met on zoom and explored ways to make music and art online. In May the choir took part in MABELLEarts Virtual Iftar Nights Following this, the choir experimented with, rehearsed and presented some Virtual Choral Etudes by Arie Verheul van de Ven, as well as exploring approaches to dancing via zoom, with guest choreographers.

The Gather Round Singers resumes its regular Thursday 6-8pm sessions via zoom on September 24, 2020. All are welcome to join us! If technology is a barrier, we can offer support.
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Conductor & Director: Shifra Cooper
Resident Composer: Arie Verheul van de Ven
Accompanist: Daev Clysdale
Outreach Coordinator: Tijana Spasich
Vocal Coaches, Facilitators, Singers: Sam Rowlandson-O’Hara, Natalie Fasheh, Risa DeRege)
Outreach Assistants: Oshan Starrevelt, Karis Jones Pard
Guest Artists during our virtual sessions –
Composers: Hussein Janmohamed, Arie Verheul van de Ven, Martin van de Ven
Choreographers: Michelle Silagy, Kevin Ormsby, Sasha Mattock
Artists & ASL Poet: Tamyka Bullen
Singers: Natalie Fasheh, Sam Rowlandson-O’Hara
& others tbd.

Guest Artists during our virtual sessions –
Composers: Hussein Janmohamed, Martin van de Ven, Andrew Balfour, Christina Volpini, Cheldon Paterson
Choreographers: Michelle Silagy, Kevin Ormsby, Sasha Mattock, Anmikiique Couchie
Artist & ASL Poet: Tamyka Bullen
Singers: Natalie Fasheh, Sam Rowlandson-O’Hara, Risa de Rege, Lisette Cogdell

The Gather Round Singers is a Toronto-based radically inclusive community choir that creates and performs new musical works in collaboration with arts and community partners. The choir is made up of singers of mixed ages, abilities and backgrounds, and upholds core values of inclusion and 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!). The Gather Round Singers have performed many newly-commissioned works, including by 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, 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.