Anglican Chorale of Ottawa

Anglican Chorale of Ottawa

The Anglican Chorale of Ottawa (ACO) is an unusual Canadian Church choir in that we have no church building to call our own, and we have actually sung more services in the UK than in Canada. There are about 30 members of the choir, ranging in age from 18 to 80.


Every other year we travel overseas for two weeks. For the first 4-5 nights we usually stay in a private school in a rural area where we rehearse intensely, and sing at a local church or cathedral. Then we move to a “touristy” location where there is more time to spend seeing the local sites (e.g. 2008 – Cambridge). The second week we are the "choir-in-residence" at one of the UK Cathedrals. The Chorale sings the daily services while the usual Cathedral choir vacations, thereby allowing a centuries-old Choral tradition to continue uninterrupted.


Every trip has a “Mystery Tour” where we go on a surprise expedition for the day. In 2010 our “Mystery Tour” included a falconry, a seaside town, and a tour of the Aberlour distillery. The trip always includes unique experiences that an average tourist would not have. For example, in 2006 after Canterbury Cathedral closed for the evening we sang alone in the Quire, by candelight. In 2006 the Chorale sang Remembrance ceremonies at the Canadian Vimy Memorial in France, and at the Menin Gate in Ypres, Belgium.


In the ACO's 2012 trip to Ireland, we sang at Christchurch and St. Patrick's Cathedrals in Dublin and visited such sites as the Giant’s Causeway, Antrim Trail, and the Cliffs of Moher (near Galway).
We are currently planning our August 2014 trip to the UK and Wales where we will sing at Brecon, Gloucester, Hereford, and Worcester Cathedrals.


When we are not travelling, the choir rehearses infrequently in Ottawa, and sings approximately three evening services a year at various parishes in the Ottawa region, some of which would not otherwise be able to celebrate Choral Evensong.

2014 Brecon & Worcester Tour

2014 is the 20th anniversary tour for the ACO, and to celebrate this achievement the ACO will sing at the three cathedrals of the Three Choirs Festival.  The Festival, one of the world’s oldest classical choral music festivals, has been held annually since the early eighteenth century and rotates between the three great cathedral cities of Gloucester, Worcester and Hereford.    We leave Ottawa Saturday August 2, 2014 for London.
The first week will be spent at Christ College in Brecon, Wales.  The Dominican friary was founded there c.1250, and there is still evidence of the surviving medieval building.  King Henry VIII established the school in 1541, and the modern school was founded by an Act of Parliament in 1855. Today the school is a boarding and day school for 350 7-18 year old girls and boys. 
Members who have stayed at Christ College with ACO in 2004 report that it is a great place for rehearsal and a beautiful location.  We will all be able to stay in the same residence, with rehearsal space in the school and the chapel (fine example of 13th century work).  Brecon is located in the midst of prime hiking territory.  Google the college or "hiking in Brecon" to see some of the surrounding area.  Bring your hiking boots!
It will be a busy week in Brecon.  The ACO will sing an evensong service at Brecon Cathedral on Aug 5, Hereford on Aug 6 (where we will rehearse in the 14th century choir stalls), and Gloucester on Aug 7. We may climb the cathedral tower in Hereford, and likely have supper at The Barrels Pub.  In Brecon we may also have a canal tour on the narrowboats, and return to our favorite pub. 
On Friday there will be our infamous Mystery Tour.  Of course there is nothing we can tell you about that tour now or the fun will be spoiled.  But if you remember past Mystery Tours (e.g., visit to falconry in Scotland, Aberlour distillery, cream tea on a steam train, ferry ride to Iona) you know they are not to be missed!
We will spend Aug 10-18 in Worcester where we will sing daily evensongs at the cathedral.  Worcester University, which is within walking distance of the cathedral, will be our home.  Thursday is the “dumb day” where choir members will be free to do their own sight seeing.  Maybe you will want to visit the Elgar’s Birthplace Museum, or have tea at Hanbury Hall. 
On our final Sunday, after singing the Eucharist and Evensong services, we will have our traditional Talent Show, and then fly home on Monday August 18.



You Can Help

The Anglican Chorale of Ottawa (ACO) is a registered charity. Donors will receive an official tax receipt, together with our heartfelt thanks.


Why do we need help? We want to make it possible for young singers to have the experience of singing in the UK Cathedrals, and be part of the traditions that have continued for hundreds of years. Also, the choir provides a musical environment that provides opportunities for these singers to improve as all-round musicians, and to take these skills and experiences back to their own choirs.


We do everything we can to keep our costs to a minimum so as to make our trips affordable for as many as possible - we often stay in choir school dormitories, and members of the Chorale's Organising Team do thousands of hours planning work as unpaid volunteers. Even with all our careful spending, travelling to the U.K. in summertime is increasingly expensive and tour costs are approximately $4,000 per choir member, once air fare, accommodations, meals and a share of the group expenses (e.g., buses, director fees, music) are tallied. Putting forward this amount of money can be difficult for students and those who have not yet reached their income potential. With your help we can continue to provide some financial assistance for the younger Choir members, and any member with a demonstrated need.


The Chorale has established a support fund for its younger singers, or those facing financial hardship. Although many current and former choir members make a significant contribution to this fund, your contribution would allow us to offer this experience to more choristers who have very limited resources of their own, but so much to offer the Choir.


How to help: Supporting the Anglican Chorale could not be simpler! Here are two options:


#1 - By Hand - Choir members would be delighted to receive cheques from donors at any time! Please make cheques made payable to “The Anglican Chorale of Ottawa”


#2 - By Credit Card

Please go to the fabulous CanadaHelps.Org website, to make secure on-line donations to the Anglican Chorale of Ottawa- click on the Logo below:













 The Chorale is most grateful....


The Anglican Chorale would like to thank everyone who has donated their time and talent to making this such a high calibre musical organization. No organisation consisting of volunteers can be this successful without strong support from behind the scenes. This includes the organising team, the Music Directors who share their immense talent and encourage us to be the best we can, and the congregations who attend our Evensongs.


We add a special thanks to those who have supported our young artists through donations to the Financial Assistance Fund. The Chorale is pleased to acknowledge a grant from the A.E.J. Fulford Trust of the Anglican Foundation in support of our younger singers who reap the many benefits of exposure to, and keeping alive, the Anglican Choral traditions in Canada.


We are extremely grateful to those churches who have allowed us to rehearse in their beautiful facilities : Christ Church Cathedral, Ottawa St, Martin’s Anglican, Ottawa St. Matthew’s Anglican Ottawa We are equally grateful to those who have lent us music over the years. St. Matthew’s, Christ Church Cathedral, St. George’s in Kingston, Christ Church Deer Park in Toronto, Canadian Centennial Choir, and Cammac.



James Caswell 1995-96, 2007-present is a graduate of the University of Ottawa with degrees in music and education, and is in demand in the National Capital Region as conductor, accompanist and clinician. James is the vocal performance teacher in the Arts Canterbury programme at Canterbury High School in Ottawa. Mr. Caswell was the Music director of the Canadian Centennial Choir from 1994 -2009. From 1992 to 2001 James was the Director of Music at First Baptist, and the accompanist for the University of Ottawa Choir from 1991 to 1998. As a guest conductor, he has appeared with the Cantata Singers of Ottawa, the Ottawa Choral Society and the Opera Lyra Ottawa Chorus. He has also appeared as organist with the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra. In 1998, he was a participant conductor at the Oregon Bach Festival, under Helmuth Rilling.




Andrew Teague Andrew Teague founded the Anglican Chorale of Ottawa in 1994, and was a music director and/or organist until 2002. Andrew is returning for our 2014 trip to be the organist for our 20th anniversary tour. Andrew is well-known on the Canadian music scene, especially in Ottawa, as a result of his time as Organist & Choirmaster at St. Matthew's Anglican Church in Ottawa during the early nineties. During this time he also taught in the music department at Carleton University, where he also directed the University Choir. He was founder member of the committee of the South Eastern Ontario branch of the Royal School of Church Music. On returning to the UK in 1994 to take up the post of Director of Music at St. Elphin's School, Andrew also became Organist & Choirmaster at St. Peter's Church in Nottingham. In January 2003 he was appointed Organist and Master of the Choristers at Bradford Cathedral, Andrew also continues his work as an Examiner for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (recent visits to Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan) and also as an Area Co-ordinator for the Royal School of Church Music. Originally trained at Oxford and Cambridge universities, he has also held posts as Organist in Brighton and Oxford.




Stephen Candow was co-director in 2008 and 2010 with James Caswell.  In 2012 Stephen will join the ACO as the organist.  Stephen is a native of St John's, Newfoundland, holds a conjoint BMus/BMusEd from Memorial University and a MMus in performance from the University of Toronto.  In 1998 Stephen won the post of Guinness Organ Scholar at Christ Church Dublin, Ireland. Following his year in Dublin, he went on to become the assistant organist in Canada's Methodist Cathedral, Metropolitan United in Toronto. While there, he was also the accompanist for the renowned Toronto Mendelssohn Youth Choir. Stephen returned to Newfoundland in 2002 where became organist and choirmaster of St Michael and All Angels Anglican Parish, an accompanist for the Newfoundland Symphony Youth Choir and chair of the Royal Canadian College of Organists, Avalon Centre. In 2005, he moved to Ottawa to take up the prestigious post of Director of Music at St Matthew's Anglican Church. In 2010 Stephen and his family returned to Newfoundland.



Matthew Larkin   Our Music Director from 1996 to 2006, Matthew Larkin has led the Chorale on five U.K. Tours, and for 10 years in our offerings to Churches here in the Ottawa area. A native of Oxford, England, Matthew Larkin moved to Canada shortly before his sixth birthday. Matthew received his early musical training as a boy chorister at St. George’s Cathedral (Anglican) in Kingston, Ontario, becoming assistant organist there while still in high school. He later studied with John Tuttle at the University of Toronto, and was Organ Scholar of Trinity College. He also attended the Royal College of Music, London, UK, where he was a student of Nicholas Danby. Matthew began his professional career as a choral conductor in Victoria, BC, where he was appointed Organist and Choirmaster at the Church of St. John the Divine in 1988. He moved to Ottawa in 1995 to take up a similar position at St. Matthew’s Church, where he built the St. Matthew’s Boys’ Choir into an ensemble of national importance. In the 2002-2003 academic year, he served as Director of the Choir of Men and Boys at St. James’ Cathedral, Toronto. In September 2003 Matthew was appointed Organist and Director of Music at Christ Church Cathedral, Ottawa. While in Ottawa, Matthew has served as Director of the Ottawa Opera Boys’ Choir (1999-2002), Founding Director of Euphonia Chamber Choir (2001-2004) In June 2005, Matthew began duties as Director of the Ottawa Choral Society, the national capital region’s most historic choir. Matthew enjoys an enviable reputation as a recitalist, accompanist, composer and recording artist, and has appeared as soloist with many of Canada’s orchestras and in concert halls across Canada.


Bruce Kirkpatrick Hill was Associate Director of the Anglican Chorale of Ottawa from 2003 to 2006.  Bruce was on three U.K. Tours with the Chorale - Wells in 1998, Exeter in 2004, and Canterbury in 2006. A native of Victoria, British Columbia, Bruce Kirkpatrick Hill completed his MA in musico logy at the University of Victoria before moving to Toronto for doctoral studies at the University of Toronto. He left his job as Organist at St. Andrew's Cathedral in Victoria, and for seven years was Organist and Choirmaster at St. Andrew's Anglican Church, Scarborough, and College Organist for St. Michael's College on the University of Toronto campus. In 1997 he he became Organist and Director of Music at Christ Church Deer Park in Toronto. He was the accompanist for Pax Christi Chorale, and the rehearsal accompanist for the Tafelmusik Chamber Choir. Bruce was also a member of the award-winning Exultate Chamber Singers.  Bruce Kirkpatrick Hill died on Sunday, March 18, in his 48th year. We will all miss his energetic, lively, gregarious presence that radiated an equal love for music and people.



Some audio recordings of the ACO:




Let All Mortal Flesh - recorded in Scotland, 2010









O Nata Lux - recorded July 17th, 2008 at Lincoln Cathedral









St. Mary’s Service - recorded July 17th, 2008 Evensong at Lincoln Cathedral 


Following is some of the music we have sung in Evensong, Matins, and Eucharist services.


Batten - Fourth Service
Byrd - Second Service
Gibbons - Short Service Graham - Canterbury Service
Holman in F minor
Howells - Collegium Regale
Howells - Gloucester Service
Howells - St. Paul’s
Ives - Edington Service
Jackson in G
Kelly in C – “Latin American”
Larkin - St. Mary’s Service
Larkin - Winchester Service Mathias
Jesus College - Cambridge Service
Murrill in E
Noble in B Minor
Purcell in G minor
Ruffo Fauxbourdons
Stanford in A
Stanford in B Flat
Stanford in C
Stanford in G
Sumsion in A
Sumsion in G
Walmisley in D Minor
Wesley in E
Willan in E Flat
Britten - Festival Te Deum
Britten - Jubilate Deo in C
Britten - Te Deum in C
Ford (James) - Jubilate Deo
Howells - Te Deum - Collegium - Regale
Howells - Jubilate Deo - Collegium Regale
Stanford - Te Deum in C
Vaughan Williams - Te Deum in G
Walton - Jubilate Deo
Byrd - Mass for Four Voices
Harwood in G minor
Larkin - Missa Maria Mater Dei
Palestrina - Missa Aeterna Christa - Munera
Palestrina - Missa Papae Marcelli
Teague - Mass of the Glebe
Victoria - Missa O Quam Gloriosum
Ager - Il Penseroso
Archer (Violet) - Twenty Third Psalm
Bainton - And I Saw a New Heaven
Bairstow - Let All Mortal Flesh
Balfour Gardiner - Evening Hymn
Berger - The Eyes of All
Brahms - Lass dich nur nichts nicht dauren
Bruckner - Locus Iste
Bruckner - Os Justi
Byrd - Ave Verum Corpus
Byrd - O Sacrum Convivium
Byrd - Responsum Accepit Simeon
Byrd - Sing Joyfully
Duruflé - Tantum ergo
Duruflé - Ubi Caritas
Eccard - When to the Temple Mary Went
Farrant - Lord for thy Tender Mercy’s Sake
Faure - Requiem
Gibbons - Almighty And Everlasting God
Gibbons - Almighty God who by thy Son
Gibbons - Great Lord of Lords
Gibbons - O clap your hands
Gibbons - This is the Record of John
Harris - Faire is the Heaven
Howells - Behold, O God our Defender
Howells - Like as the Hart
Howells - O Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem
Ireland - Greater love hath no man
Joubert - O Lorde the Maker of Al Thynge
Larkin - The Flower
Larkin - Tread Softly
Larkin - Prayer
Lauridsen - O Nata Lux
Mathias - Let The People Praise Thee
Messiaen - O Sacrum Convivium
Mundy - O Lord the Maker of All Thing
Palestrina - Exsultate Deo
Palestrina - Sicut Cervus
Parry - My Soul There is a Country
Parsons - Ave Maria
Poulenc - Exsultate Deo
Purcell - Thou Knowest Lord
Purcell - O God Thou art my God
Rutter - God be in My Head
Schütz - Cantate Domino
Stanford - Beati Quorum Via
Stanford - Glorious and Powerful God
Sumsion - They That Go Down to the Sea in Ships
Tallis - O Sacrum Convivium
Tavener - The Lamb
Tye - O Holy Spirit Lord of Grace
Vaughan Williams - Lord Thou Hast Been Our Refuge
Wesley - Ascribe unto the Lord
Wesley - Lead Me Lord
Wesley - Thou Wilt Keep Him in Perfect Peace
Wesley - Blessed be the God and Father
Willan - O Praise the Lord
Willan - Gloria Deo per Immensa Saecula
Willan - Hail Gladdening Light
Wise - Prepare Ye The Way Of The Lord
Wood - Hail Gladdening Light
Wood - O Thou the Central Orb


Larkin (Canterbury)
Larkin (Wells)
Smith of Durham



Today there are approximately 30 members of the choir ranging in age from 18 to 80. Almost all choir members sing in other church choirs, university choirs, or community choirs. Some members of the choir are professional musicians, music teachers, or they are taking a degree in music. Some of the members are Anglican, and many are not. One thing we have in common is that we enjoy making great music together. We limit the number of members because of the size of the choir stalls in British cathedrals, and the number of people with luggage that you can fit on a tour bus.




We are looking for:

• Strong singers with above average sight reading skills, who already understand music basics (e.g., dynamics, phrasing, where to finish consonants). The Chorale sings a lot of Anglican chant, so knowing how to do that definitely helps (but is not a requirement).

• People who remain cheerful in the face of the challenges that inevitably arise (and if you like a visit to a pub, or a game of euchre, that is also an asset).


Here is the process to audition for the choir.

(1) Come to a rehearsal. See if this choir is what you are looking for.

(2) Audition. The audition is informal, and usually will require some sight singing, and a piece of your choice. You might also be asked to sing with several other members of the choir to assess the blend.

(3) Chat with a member(s) of the organizing team  who will discuss with you the commitment involved in being a choir member, the costs of taking part, the up-coming rehearsal schedule and the itinerary of our next overseas tour. You will also have an opportunity to raise any questions you may have about the choir and how it works.


If you would like to join us, please send an e-mail to to determine if we are currently recruiting for your voice section, and to arrange an appointment.



We are proud that, over the years, our choir has included members of all ages, including choristers as young as nine years old. However, the composition of the choir varies from season to season depending on such considerations as the type of music we will be singing and the schedule demands we will be facing on each upcoming trip. At present, we are not auditioning children for membership in the choir, but have instead been focusing our most recent recruiting efforts on young adult singers, several of whom are already making substantial and welcome contributions to the choir.

If you have questions about:

- Joining the ACO

- Having the ACO sing in your church

- Supporting the ACO


Contact Trish Brooks at: or 613-298-9976

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