Choral Newsletter May 2019
May 13, 2019

Dear choral friends,

Happy spring! We hope that your choral season has been a great success and you are wrapping up or preparing for final concerts. The end of the choral season means that you can start looking forward to exciting plans for next season and, as always, your choral print music specialists at The Leading Note are here to help!

Order through the summer!

To be sure that you are not caught short at your first rehearsal this fall, contact us as soon as possible to place your orders. Let us know when you need the music to arrive to you and we will do everything possible to meet your deadline.
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Use our resources!

We would like to draw your attention to our invaluable Guide to Choral Music Repertoire which includes many resources to help you plan your choral programs. We will be highlighting the various parts of this guide in the coming months so you can have all the tools necessary to select your music. First up is a series of articles covering various aspects of choral music.
Read Articles

Ever wondered how your choir can afford the newest and best choral arrangements?

Check out Jackie Hawley’s article explaining how to use sponsorships to build your choir’s library.



Read Jackie Hawley’s Article

Edition Peters Sale!

From May 13 to May 26, receive a 20% discount on all music from Edition Peters. If your choir is programming major works by Brahms, Bruckner, Verdi, Haydn or Bach, Edition Peters is one to consider. They also publish a few classic titles by Canada’s own Healey Willan, as well as more contemporary arrangements by Voces8, Jonathan Dove and select works by the ever-popular Ola Gjeilo.
View All Edition Peters Choral Titles


Music Library Sponsorship: Fundraiser and Community Builder
May 10, 2019

Jackie Hawley

This is a guest post by Jackie Hawley, who has been a regular contributor to Anacrusis, the official journal of the Choral Canada and current board member of Choirs Ontario.  She is the Founding Artistic Director of the Cantiamo Choirs of Ottawa and co-founder of the Nipiit-Katittut – Voices United (NKVU) educational engagement project.

Good ideas should be shared! Here is something that has worked very well for my choirs. I hope you will find this useful for your choir as well.

A few years ago, when my Cantiamo Girls Choir was quite new, we had a local business person offer to make a donation to the choir. We had not solicited this sort of thing at that time in the choir’s development so we were happily inspired to think about how we could recognize our supporters with more than a tax receipt. This person had a favourite piece that we had sung in our concert. I thought that it might be a nice idea to have the donation directed towards covering the cost of buying those scores for the choir. (Read more…)

Messiah 101
September 10, 2014

Messiah 101

Have you always wanted to sing Handel’s Messiah?

Messiah - Novello EditionStarting September 17, Alcorn Music Studios presents Messiah 101, a 12-week course to help you learn and master the world’s favourite oratorio. Led by choral director Elise Letourneau, this course will help you learn how to keep your place in the score, how to count in your vocal entries, how to listen to the accompaniment or other vocal parts for your note, how to mark up your score and more. Learn about important vocal techniques and choral etiquette to bring you up to speed for CAMMAC’s annual Come Sing Messiah event on December 5th at Dominion-Chalmers United Church.

Don’t forget to bring a copy of the Messiah vocal score, available at The Leading Note for $12.00 +HST.

(Read more…)

Unison Choral Festival: May 16-19 in Ottawa!
March 1, 2014

National Festival Showcases the Best of Canada’s LGBTQ Choral Scene

Unison Festival Unisson 2014Unison Ottawa 2014 is the fifth edition of a once-in-four-years Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans, Queer (LGBTQ) choral festival that will bring together choristers and other music artists from across Canada to the nation’s capital for the first time ever!

Unison Ottawa 2014, under the leadership of Artistic Director Kurt Ala-Kantti, offers a showcase of the cross-country LGBTQ choral scene, and artistic and social networking to choruses within Canada’s LGBTQ communities. The Leading Note is proud to be selling tickets for Unison Festival concerts and will be hosting a “Meet and Greet” event for choir directors and other artistic representatives.

(Read more…)

MosaiK Choral Festival – Workshops & Concerts
February 19, 2014


This week, Harmonia Choir of Ottawa will host the MosaiK Choral Festival, bringing Canadian composer and choral clinician Brian Tate, to Ottawa for a series of workshops and concerts.  Choristers, music teachers, choral directors, and choral enthusiasts are all invited to attend.  This is a great opportunity to explore some wonderful repertoire on the festival’s theme: Voices of Planet Earth. (Read more…)

Jack Layton & James Wright’s “To Young Canadians” now available!
February 22, 2013


The Leading Note is very proud to announce the recent publication of James Wright’s “To Young Canadians” by Cypress Choral Music.

“To Young Canadians” was composed for The Leading Note Foundation’s OrKidstra program and was premiered at a ceremony in Ottawa’s City Hall on September 29, 2012 at which the Honourable Jack Layton was posthumously awarded the Peace Award. The Honourable Olivia Chow accepted the award on Layton’s behalf and attended the performance with MP Paul Dewar and other members of Jack Layton’s family.

“To Young Canadians” is a setting of Jack Layton’s final public letter to Canadians before his death in August, 2011. The text is a message of hope and optimism directed to the younger generations of Canadians whom Jack Layton so greatly inspired.  What better way to spread this message than through the universal language of music!

James Wright is an Ottawa composer and Professor of Music at Carleton University. “To Young Canadians” is arranged for SSA, SAB, or SATB choir with piano and optional strings. The premiere performance was conducted by Jeannie Hunter and featured soloist Jenna Glatt with OrKidstra, the KidSingers, the Cantiamo Girls’ Choir, the chamber choir of the Ottawa Children’s Choir, with composer James Wright at the piano:

The Leading Note has perusal copies of all three arrangements in stock. This work makes an excellent selection for children’s choirs or community choirs at any occasion to mark peace and social justice.

Special Choral Books from Podium Now in Store
May 30, 2012

We at The Leading Note have been busy in recent weeks helping to organize Podium, the biennial choral conference hosted by the Association of Canadian Choral Communities. We had a booth in the trade show at Podium this past weekend. For this special choral conference, we stocked a wide variety of books on choral strategies, vocal techniques, warm-ups, and sight-singing. Many of these books are new to the Leading Note and we are very excited to have them in stock. Please come by the shop to browse our special display which is now located in the choral room.

We also have multiple copies of many of the choral pieces performed at Podium as well as the titles featured in The Leading Note’s Children’s Choir Reading Session, hosted by local clinician Jackie Hawley. Among these are some of our top-selling choral titles, including Klee Wyck by Brian Tate and Al Shlosha and Shiru by Allan E. Naplan. We also featured several new pieces including the following:

Laura Hawley: Au champ d’honneur

Au champ d'honneurAu champ d’honneur is the official French adaptation of John McCrae’s famous poem In Flanders Fields for use in Remembrance Day ceremonies. Hawley has set the text for unison children’s choir with minor divisi used sparingly at the works climax. Unlike the original English poem, Au champ d’honneur has rarely been set for choir. Hawley’s composition is consequently a very useful addition to the repertoire of Canadian choral music.

Willi Zwozdesky: Hearth and Fire

This new arrangement by Vancouver composer Willi Zwozdesky of the traditional song Hearth & Fire is set for three-part children’s choir with piano. The setting is expertly crafted, moving from the unison beginning to a three-part climax that can optionally be sung a cappella.

Sandy Scofield: Song of Life

Song of LifeSandy Scofield is a singer/songwriter from the Saulteaux and Cree First Nations. Her Song of Life uses vocal sounds to convey a joyful celebration of life without using a literal text. The piece is scored for a solo singer who leads the chorus in canon. The piece is accompanied by rattle and hand drum.

Donald Patriquin: Carol of the Field Mice

The text of this new carol by Donald Patriquin is taken from Kenneth Grahame’s Wind in the Willows. Sung by a troup of field mice carrying lanterns through the night a-carolling, the song is overheards by Mole and Rat as they scavenge in the kitchen. Patriquin’s setting includes a few good vocal challenges for young singers including a descant on the final verse. This makes a good twist on the familiar Christmas concert repertoire.

Garrett/Nickel: I Dreamed of Rain

I Dreamed of Rain is a beautiful song by American singer-songwriter Jan Garrett arranged here for SSA choir by Larry Nickel, the curator of Cypress Choral Music. The arrangement is set so that each verse builds on the textural density of the previous one. Some brief four-part writing is reserved for the final coda, which ends a cappella.


We also have many other works by local composers whose works were performed at Podium, including Elise Letourneau, James Wright, and myself.


Job Listing: Musica Viva Singers
February 27, 2012

As a service to Ottawa’s music community, we will post job and audition notices here on The Leading Note blog.  We are pretty “in-tune” (pun intended) with the ins and outs of  the Ottawa classical music scene but if you know of a vacancy, please let us know about it at  Please note that we may not be able to post all the listings that we receive but we’ll do our best!

One such announcement was made earlier this month – Musica Viva Singers, an enthusiastic SATB community choir, is looking for a new director for its 2012-2013 season after the departure at the end of this season of their current director (and Leading Note regular) Marg Stubington.  See all the details here.  The deadline for applications is March 17th.  Best of luck to all that apply!