Amabile Boys & Men Celebrate 25 Years!

Sing Your Song was an amazing evening of music!

Hard to believe that a quarter of a century ago, a young boy whose two sisters were singing with Amabile Choirs, why there wasn’t a choir for him to sing in.

The boys mother Carol Beynon set about to remedy that situation, and along with Bevan Keating, the younger brother of Brenda Zadorsky, one of the co-founders of the Amabile family of choirs, created the Amabile Boys Choir. (The name was changed in later years to reflect the fact that boys who joined the choir often stayed… and stayed, becoming the Amabile Boys & Men’s Choir.)

The ABMC celebrated their silver anniversary Saturday night with a concert program that also celebrated the man who replaced Bevan when he moved on to other endeavors, Ken Fleet.

Fleet was already well-known across the country, having taught choral and instrumental music at Medway High School for three decades, developing one of the largest and most successful choral programs in Canada. Ken also conducted London Pro Musica for 22 years; and taught choral conducting and music education at UWO’s Don Wright Faculty of Music.

While the family suspected Ken might have Alzheimer’s, the diagnosis was confirmed four years ago.

The concert’s title “Sing Your Song” came from a video that the Alzheimer’s Society of London & Middlesex created, that featured Fleet. Ken was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s and said that to get through the day, you needed to get up every morning and just ‘sing your song’.

One of the highlights of the evening was the world-premiere of a commission by Amabile, from Composer-in-Residence Matthew Emery, an Amabile alumni and former chorister of Fleet’s at Medway. The work, entitled, “Sing Your Song” was created to depict Ken musically, and to bring artistic life, and the ‘joie de vivre‘ that these choirs have come to symbolize across Canada, and around the world.

Other music selections for the night, were chosen from a long list of Ken Fleet favourites: Danny Boy, Operator, Loc Lomand, I’se the B’ye, The Storm is Passing Over and Bridge Over Troubled Water.  Besides the Amabile Boys & Men, the evening featured a few dozen Amabile alumni, plus former members of Ken’s Medway High School choirs, London Pro Musica, Ontario Youth Choir and UWO choirs, who all came to sing in Ken’s honour.

Rehearsal 2

Carol Conducting the boys & menBoys & MenABMC plus alumni and guests

So many wanted to pay tribute to a beloved music teacher, conductor, and friend that the concert was sold out, days in advance.

Alzheimer’s Walk for Team Phoenix

Saturday May 9th was an excellent day weather-wise, and an even better day for the Alzheimer’s Society of London-Middlesex. Their Walk for Memories was headquartered at Springbank Gardens with over 800 walkers. Honouree family was Ken Fleet and family, walking as Team Phoenix, with a big contingent of Amabile friends to support them. Thanks to all of our donors and those who walked for Ken, raising over $11,800! The entire day raised over $120,000 for the Alzheimer’s Society! Here’s a glimpse of the fun…

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by the way: Amabile Boys & Men’s Choir’s 25th Anniversary concert is May 23rd – also a tribute to Ken, it’s entitled “Sing Your Song”, with a portion of the proceeds to the Alzheimer’s Society.

Amabile shows their true Amabile colours

Amabile Boys & Men knocked it out of the park, at the recent “Colours of Music” in Barrie.

We couldn’t be prouder of our 60 Amabile ambassadors who continue to put London, Ontario on the map in Canada.

While it was a long day, the boys showed their expertise, character, ‘gentle’-menliness, and artistic excellence at every step of the way. We had effusive compliments all day from school staffs to the caterers, about their excellent deportment and excellence in singing. There is NO doubt in my mind that these boys/young men who can show this level of commitment to hard work and excellence in the arts will become our country’s leaders.

Highlights included meeting renowned Canadian composer, Andrew Ager, who was touched by our performance of the song commissioned for its world premiere last evening. He marvelled to the sold-out house how our choir had interpreted and performed the ‘lament’ he had written as he envisioned it. (Everyone else will hear it in concert on Nov 10, 2013).

In 24 years of Amabile history, I have never heard such an early performance level from our guys over 3 full concerts. The boys drew on their strong character, intelligence and inner selves to ensure they had last night’s audience on its feet for the Hallelujah Chorus encore. We sold out all of the CDs we took after last night’s concert and could have sold another 25 — that is the proof of the pudding.

And, sincere thanks to our guys’ families — you have raised wonderful sons and you would have been so proud of each and every one of them.

Excerpt from a Facebook post by  Carol Beynon, Artistic Director Amabile Boys & Men’s Choirs.

Vlog of AYWE tour to Greece!

Amabile Women Young Women’s Ensemble toured Greece this summer, and were lucky enough to have London Free Press journalist James Reaney as an embedded journalist.

AYWE in Greece

Here’s his v-log of his journey with our ladies!

http://video.lfpress.com/video/featured/latest/1311514528001/amabile-greek-odyssey/2573004495001

Glad you enjoyed the Amabile experience – We’ll consider that Korea offer too James!

Chris