The announcement made earlier this week by Artistic Director Dr. Carol Beynon to a stunned Primus: The Amabile Men’s Choir. Bonnie contemplated retirement a year ago, but was convinced to stay on to celebrate the Amabile Boys’ and Men’s 25th anniversary – much of that with Bonnie alongside them.
During the past 23 years, Bonnie Shewan Burroughs has become an integral and much loved accompanist: performing, touring and recording with the Amabile Boys Choirs at a wild pace, as their visibility on the world stage has exploded. This past season, Bonnie has been playing for the Young Men’s Ensemble and Primus: Amabile Men’s Choir.
After graduating in Piano Performance from UWO, with Dr. Damjana Bratuz, she studied and attended mater classes in Salzburg, Vienna, Siena and London, England. She has performed chamber music with leading instrumentalists, including her daughter Sarah Jeffrey (Toronto Symphony Orchestra), and son Paul Jeffrey (Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra) – most recently for the Millennium Summer series in Winnipeg.
Her final three performances with Amabile were poignant however: Roy Thompson Hall in Toronto, with 80 senior Amabile Choir members and guests in the choir loft above, surrounded by the members of Toronto Symphony Orchestra, across from Sarah and with Paul in the audience. Toronto Star called their performance of the Stephen Schwartz masterpiece Testimony “Deeply impressive stuff.”’
Bonnie performed in the prestigious Aeolian Concert Series at Wolf performance hall with members of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, in addition to performances with instrumentalists from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic and Orchestra London. She has performed frequently as a chamber musician and accompanist with leading instrumentalists. She may be heard on programmes recorded by CBC, CJRT, and also on the CD. Bonnie has taught piano in Toronto at Branksome Hall and Havergal College, as well as private schools in England.
With the Ardeleana Trio, she also premiered many newly commissioned works and recorded “Spinners of Starlight”, a CD of contemporary trios.
While this marks a bittersweet milestone for us, we celebrate all that Bonnie has contributed to each and every one of us personally and to our choirs. We have all grown up together in this musical organization and her role as collaborative pianist has been an integral part of our growth and development. She is a consummate professional and an intuitive accompanist – knowing exactly what was needed when.
While we are sad to see her go, we celebrate her accomplishments and the entire Amabile family wishes her well as she and husband Patrick slow their world down… just a bit!