Thirty minutes before the Young Singers choir took to the stage, the Scarborough community jammed into St. Dunstan’s of Canterbury church. Jockeying at the doors hoping to snag a choice seat, the following restlessly anticipated the choir’s first performance of the season. The line-up at the doors to the performance hall was huge, spilling outside.
The Young Singers made themselves worth the wait, putting on a celestial two-hour set last Sunday afternoon. Playing to a capacity crowd at the Scarborough church, it was the cast’s first performance of many for their event calendar year. With members ranging in age from six to 20, the choir performed various cathedral classics, a Jewish jingle, and even a cover of Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing.
Split into four age groups, the different ages rotated throughout the night, finally collaborating into a colossal choir of about a hundred to end the afternoon. The youngest group, the YoungER Singers, stole the heart of the crowd, their pure tone projecting powerfully in the church hall. The oldest group, the Random Notes, showed off precision timing, heavenly vocal harmonies, and angelic falsetto singers.
Conducted by program founder and artistic director Anna Lynn Murphy, the choir showed off their vocal ranges and even a bit of choreography for select songs to entertain the audience.
The highlight of the show was when the church hall lights dimmed, and the entire group performed a Native American number with a pulsing, march-like drum beat. Spreading throughout the hall, the divided choir distorted the sonic landscape, creating earthly noises like the wind blowing or wolves howling coming from all around the room. It was a unique experience, leaving a few audience members with their eyes closed, soaking in the atmosphere.
Adding some variation to the set, pianist Lois Craig wowed the crowd with two flawless piano solos; one Mozart and one Beethoven. Articulating emotion through her finger tips, the mesmerized mob was silent, taking in the artist’s technical talents. It was a good opportunity for the crowd to appreciate the work the pianist does for the choir every show.
Approaching the 20th anniversary of the Young Singers inaugural 1992 year, the group showed why they have had such an illustrious and celebrated two decades. The organization’s playing experiences includes performing in Nashville at the Grand Ole Opry as part of the Crossroads Children’s Choral Festival, and in front of the Queen, the Prime Minister and for the Toronto Blue Jays, Argonauts and the Marlies.
It was a surprising and satisfying performance, the young group displaying collective and individual skills. If the Young Singers put on a show of this caliber at their huge annual Christmas concert on Sat. Dec. 3, at Trinity Pentecostal Church, it wouldn’t be surprising to see people head to church one day early.