The King Edward Choir originated in 1952 at King Edward School. The founder, the late Jean Dobson, gathered together a small group of teachers and parents and formed the King Edward Ladies’ Choir. The group quickly increased in size and reputation. Some of Barrie’s best male singers were added to the ranks and, before long, both the choir and its audience had grown significantly.
We attribute the success and longevity of King Edward Choir to three ingredients. Firstly, the Choir has enjoyed excellent leadership for 60 years. Jean Dobson, Charles Woodrow, and the late Morley Calvert brought many changes in the music and direction of the Choir. Barbara McCann, conducted the choir from 1987 to 2012.
In September of 2012, we were pleased to announce that Floydd Ricketts had agreed to join our ensemble as the new Artistic Director. With the retirement of Barbara, Floydd was King Edward Choir’s first choice to take her place. Floydd, at the time, was completing his Doctorate in Musicology and Choral Conducting at York University.
Also joining us in September 2012 was Lucie Veillette, as Associate Conductor and Accompanist. Lucie received her musical training in Montreal and Sherbrooke, Quebec. Floydd and Lucie, Lucie with her impeccable keyboard skills and Floydd, with his challenging musical vision and vocal-conducting talents, introduced us to a whole new world of first-class music-making
Over the years, we have attracted some of the area’s best choristers and accompanists to be a part of the choir. Susan Cowan, was the choir’s vocal coach for many years, and we credit much of our fine choral sound to her coaching. Many fine accompanists including Margie Padfield, Jim Leonard, Nena LaMarre, and Blair Bailey, have shared their many talents with us.
The second ingredient is the varied and challenging repertoire offered to the choristers and their audiences. Over the years many major classical choral works have been presented including Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony & Missa Solemnis and Mozart’s demanding Great Mass in C Minor with guest conductor, Robert Cooper, Brahms' German Requiem with Peter Mahon, and two appearances at Barrie’s Choral Fest under John Branum and most recently under the direction of Oliver Balaburski. Among the contemporary works in our repertoire are Requiem by Steve Dobrogosz, Requiem by Eleanor Daley and The Armed Man by Karl Jenkins.
We enjoy taking our show on the road and to share our programs with professional orchestral ensembles and renowned vocal and instrumental soloists from across Canada. Highlights over the years include participating in the Joy of Music Festival in Toronto, singing under the baton of Swedish conductor, Eric Ericson; singing at Festival 500 in Newfoundland; and travelling to Germany in 2003 to Barrie’s twin city Zweibrücken.
The third ingredient to King Edward Choir’s success is the dedication and enthusiasm of the talented choristers who have brought their diverse musical backgrounds to the creation of the choir’s signature rich and vibrant sound. To sing, to learn, to be challenged and to share live choral music with our community is our passion!