Toronto Jewish Folk Choir

The Toronto Jewish Folk Choir is Canada's oldest Jewish choral group. It consists of approximately 30 singers and is conducted by Alexander Veprinsky. Its repertoire, sung in four-part harmony, encompasses a wide range of secular Jewish music, classical works on Jewish themes and songs of many countries but specializes in Yiddish folk songs and songs of a working class character.

The amateur choral group was founded in 1925 as the Freiheith Gezangs Farein (Freedom Singing Society) with Hyman Riegelhaupt as its conductor. In the late 1930s it was given its English name in an attempt to reach out to a broader audience in order to promote opposition to Nazism.

The choir's repertoire consisted largely of Yiddish and Hebrew folk songs and operettas and reflected a working class sentiment. It increased in size to 130 singers by the late 1940s and its repertoire expanded to include Canadian folks songs as well as works by Handel, Mendelssohn, Schubert, and others and, in its heyday, was often accompanied by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

The choir continues to give an annual spring concert in Toronto and performs at various Jewish festivals and events.

Among the well-known composers who have written works for the Choir are John Weinzweig, Louis Applebaum, Milton Barnes, Srul Irving Glick, Ben Steinberg and Leon Zuckert.

The Choir is based at Toronto's Winchevsky Centre and is affiliated with the United Jewish People's Order.

References

* [http://www.winchevskycentre.org/institutions/choir.html The Choir's Webpage]


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