Amabile Festival in Pictures


















Pictures by Priya McHardie Photography

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Wanted: Amabile Choristers!

If you love to sing, we should get together!!

Amabile Choirs of London have eight choirs for ages 8 through adult – four for boys and men, four for girls and women.

We always welcome new choristers!!


Amabile Chorister FAQ:

Do I need to be an experienced singer to join Amabile?
While helpful, singing or choral experience is not necessary for the boys’ and girls’ children’s choirs. However, those auditioning for the Amabile Youth Singers, the Amabile Young Men’s Ensemble, Prima (women’s adult choir) or Primus (men’s adult choir), should be experienced singers.

What does the Amabile audition involve?
The audition is a 10 minute time period when the new singer can meet with the artistic staff to sing and find out more about the choir. It is meant to be informative and not stressful. Normally, singers choose a song to sing for the artistic directors, and the artistic staff will also check the singer’s range.

How often are rehearsals?
Amabile choirs all rehearse Tuesday evening for approx 2 hours, with occasional extra rehearsals for big events/concerts. Each choir rehearses at a different location within London, Ontario.

How many performances are there in a year?
The choir season runs September through June with 4-6 main concerts per season, plus 2 or 3 run-out performances as guest performers for someone else’s concert. The numbers vary depending on the requests received.

Do the choirs perform together?
There is really only one concert each season – the annual Amabile Festival concert each spring, where all 8 choirs perform on one stage.

Do the choirs tour and/or record CDs each season?
We try to limit touring and recording to every second or third year.

How much are registration fees?
Choir fees vary by choir – approximately $50 per month or between $4-500 per year depending on the choir – less than the cost of House League Hockey. Amabile Choir Registration Fees do qualify for the Canada Revenue Agency’s “Children’s Arts Tax Credit”.

What happens if I can’t afford the fees?
Amabile Choirs never turns away any deserving chorister. We have a Bursary Program that may be able to cover some or all of the fees for you or your child. Speak to the conductor or manager of the appropriate choir for information. There will be an anecdotal form to fill out and submit before your request will be considered. A Bursary is for one year and is not automatically renewed. Knowing that circumstances do change, it must be applied for each season.

Where can I get more information about Amabile auditions?
Find out more about auditions or get information about the individual choirs here or call (519) 641-6795 to find out more.

It’s “With Heart & Soul”

Amabile Youth Singers & Prima: Amabile Women’s Choir present “With Heart & Soul”

The concert features the Canadian premiere of “Cassiopeia” by Minneapolis composer and member of the vocal group “Cantus”: Timothy Takach, plus songs that will speak to your soul and touch your heart.

AYS edited - Copy

The concert is Sunday June 1st, 2014, at First-St. Andrew’s United Church, 350 Queen’s Ave., London at 2:30 pm.

Tickets are $20 adults, $15 for students, available at (519) 641-6795 and at the door.


Remembering John Barron

How fitting that Saturday’s “Celebration of Life” for John Barron in Toronto featured a mass choir of over 150 singers. The choristers came from many of the choirs that had experienced John’s magic: Amabile Youth Singers (the London choir he co-founded), Amabile Women’s and Men’s choirs Prima and Primus, plus members of Amadeus Choir, Elmer Eisler Singer, Festival Singers, Ontario Youth Choir and Eglinton St. George’s.

The congregation who enjoyed this breath-taking music were family and friends as well as many more choir executives, parents of choristers and some of John’s former pupils… although regardless of the aforementioned group they fit into, everyone there considered themselves also in the ‘friend’ category. That was John!

The preponderance of red sashes and bow ties were a salute to John’s years with Amabile. In his early years he wore a white dinner jacket and red bow tie, matching the AYS red sashes.

Regardless of how busy he was, he always had time for his choristers. John’s legacy will live on in the music of the hundreds of choristers whose lives he touched.

Click here for a biography of John’s life and just a small look at his influence on Canadian choral music.


John's Celebration of Life pic

Carol conducting - closer

Brenda conducting

Lydia conducting

Ken conducting

Bob Cooper conducting

John Barron 1939-2014

It is with great sadness that the family of John Barron share the news of his passing. John died peacefully at home, surrounded by family, after a long and courageous struggle with cancer. He left this world amid glorious music, listening to a recording of the 1975 Ontario Youth Choir (which he had conducted) and taking his last breath on the final note of the final piece, “Le Temps de Vivre”.

He will be deeply missed by Lowell, his loving wife of 47 years, his four daughters, Jennie (Erik Leslie) of Nelson, BC, Naomi (Troy Milleker) of Toronto, Julie (Michael Zaugg) of Edmonton, and Katie (Lee Waxberg) of Toronto, and his eight grandchildren – Quinn, Felix, Liam, Luna, Matilda, Clara, Lucy and Benji – who provided him with such delight in his final months and days. Also lovingly remembered by dear brother Ken (Peggy) of Penticton, many sisters- and brothers-in-law, nephews, nieces, and friends.

John grew up in Trail, BC and left in 1958 to pursue a degree in music at the University of Toronto, where he was blessed to sing under some of Canada’s most well-known conductors, Healey Willan, Roland Pack and Elmer Iseler. It was also in Toronto that John met and fell in love with Lowell. In 1970 John and Lowell moved to London, where he taught music and worked as the music consultant for the Middlesex County Board of Education for 24 years. In 1976, John and his young family spent a year in Kecskemét, Hungary, where he studied the Kodály method of music education. He later devoted considerable energy adapting the Kodály method for use in Canadian schools. In 1985 he and Brenda Zadorsky co-founded the Amabile Youth Singers in London, Ontario, which grew into an organization that now includes eight choirs and has touched the lives of thousands of young singers and their families.

John was an inspiring music educator, consultant, clinician, arranger, author, and conductor. He received numerous awards for his contributions to choral music, including the Order of Canada, and, most recently, a lifetime achievement award from the Association of Canadian Choral Conductors. John’s passion, musicality and generosity inspired and supported hundreds of young musicians. He loved hearing from former students and choir members and learning what paths their lives had taken. He especially treasured the close relationship that formed between Amabile and Canadian composer Stephen Hatfield.

Outside of music, John loved golfing, gardening, traveling, and playing cribbage. He had an irrepressibly impish sense of humour, an abiding interest in history, and a quiet but very sincere concern for those less fortunate.

The family offers their deepest thanks to Ben Osaku, Dr Langlois, Dr Joshua, Dr Direnfeld, and Dr Mark Percival for the excellent guidance and care they provided. Heartfelt thanks also to Carol Beynon, Bob Cooper, Stephen Hatfield, and Julie and Larry Steinman for their profound support, presence and thoughtfulness near the end.

Visitation will be Thursday May 8, from 6-9 pm, at Yorke Chapel, 2357 Bloor St West, Toronto. A memorial service will be held at Eglinton St George’s (35 Lytton Blvd, Toronto) on Saturday May 10 at 2:00 pm.

Those wishing to join an ad hoc choir to perform at the service may contact Tammy Rees ( (London) or Olena Jatsyshyn ( (Toronto). There will be a rehearsal at the church at 12:00 pm on the day of the service, with a bus bringing singers from London that morning. Lydia Adams will hold an additional rehearsal for those in Toronto on Friday evening.

In lieu of flowers, donations to the John and Lowell Barron Amabile Choirs Endowment Fund (P.O. Box 201, London, Ontario, Canada N6A 4V8) would be gratefully appreciated.

Online condolences may be left at