Our History

by Kathleen Stephenson (tenor); Aditi Magdalena (any range mezzo)

Musica Viva Singers was founded in 1997 under the direction of Brian Cameron in the basement of Glebe-St. James United Church. There were far too many altos, far too few tenors and no pianist. Within a year, we had a name and were ready to entertain an enthusiastic audience.

Brianā€™s untimely and tragic death in 2002 almost marked the end of our story. Two of Brianā€™s close musical colleagues, Matthew Larkin and Gordon Johnston graciously stepped in and directed the remaining rehearsals. Gordon directed the April concert.

But voices that sing together stay together.

James Calkin succeeded Cameron as Musical Director in 2002. Under his direction, Musica Viva Singers celebrated their 10th anniversary season in May 2007, by commissioning and performing the world premiere of Thomas Annandā€™s Lyrics of Earth, a setting of four poems by Canadian poet, Archibald Lampman.

The choir also benefited from the talents of Stephen Candow, our interim director in spring 2008.

From 2008 to 2013, Marg Stubington was our Musical Director. Marg's energy and enthusiasm were infectious and her skill led us through a growing and challenging repertoire. Marg introduced the choir to a range of choral styles influenced by diverse musical cultures of the world, while continuing to perform "standard" Western classical choral repertoire.

In 2013 Musica VivaĀ welcomed its current Musical Director,Ā Scott Richardson. Scott's lifetime passion for Canadian, Celtic and American folk and popular styles has been contagious. With his background in literature, he constantly challenges choristers to become more aesthetically aware of the intimate relationship between lyrics and musical setting. Scott's thematic programmes combine music from diverse eras, genres, and cultures and allow the choir to showcase our versatility. See an overview of past concert themes as illustrated by Erin Jamieson's wonderful original artwork.

During the covid lockdown years of 2020-2021 we experimented with Zoom choir rehearsals as well as a "proxy choir," a small group of socially distanced singers on separate microphones, meeting live with the director and accompanist in a large space to lead the rest of the group by Zoom meeting. Many evenings we also met for remote voice technique workshops.

Musica Viva Singers is grateful to the Ottawa Community Foundation for support of our proxy choir development and production costs.

Like many other musical ensembles, Musica Viva faces the challenge of rebuilding a live choir in 2022. Please plan to attend our next concert scheduled for December 5, on the theme of Rejuvenation! We are sure you will enjoy this programme as much as we enjoy preparing and presenting it!