Over the weekend, I had the privilege of attending, SING! Toronto Vocal Arts Festival, a new partner with CASA Events. SING!, now in its 2nd year, brings a wide variety of international and local acts to the heart of the Toronto Harbourfront with 4 days of concerts, workshops, and other a cappella revelry.
Led by Artistic Director, Aaron Jenson, and Managers J-M Erelendson and Patricia Silver, and a passionate Board of Directors, SING! endeavors to “bring together thousands of like-minded students, educators, enthusiasts, divas, in-the-shower-belters, and innovators to create something profoundly unique and vital: a safe space of learning and growth where music of a multiplicity of backgrounds and styles are celebrated; a place where people are asked to step outside of their comfort zones to try something new; a place of self-discovery and of rediscovery. In short, we've come together to give new voice to the voice.”
The weekend was headlined by 2 groups who are very well-known and respected in the vocal world, The Real Group and The Swingle Singers. Both groups put on stunning performances and offered informative workshops throughout the event, all of which had a personal and engaging atmosphere. It was all held in the Harbourfront Centre, a thriving cultural venue that hosts arts, culture, educational and recreational programming. The festival also offered workshops specifically for students throughout the day on Friday, in the Educational Outreach Program, as well as a festival sing-along, and a Legacy Award ceremony honoring Frank Busseri, founder of the Four Lads.
Having been involved with CASA Events for several years now, the most striking aspect of the weekend for me was the sheer amount of performances, more than 80% of them free. It was possible for attendees to get in hours of free, fantastic a cappella on two stages that offered 30 minute performances continually throughout the weekend. In one afternoon it was possible to take in driving pop, folk-style trios, modern choirs, jazz from high school and college students, and community choirs and touring professionals.
The atmosphere was welcoming, inspiring, and world-class. The city of Toronto, despite quite a bit a rain, was a perfect setting for a weekend of vocal collaboration and exploration, surrounded by immense talent and passion for the vocal arts.
SING! is set to return next spring. To learn more visit www.singtoronto.com or follow the latest news on Twitter at @singtoronto. Stay tuned here for more developments on this unique partnership!