Two Toronto Anglican church choirs, both renowned for their excellent musical traditions, placed first and second in the 2008 CBC National Radio Competition for Amateur Choirs. The gallery choir of the Church of St. Mary Magdalene, conducted by Stephanie Martin, captured first prize and St. Thomas’s 11 a.m. solemn eucharist choir, conducted by John Tuttle, captured second prize. Each sang three short pieces, which, according to the rules, could total no more than eight minutes.
Entrants are required to submit a short recording of selections that reflect a variety of styles and periods, including one piece in French and a work by a Canadian composer. Jurors narrow the field by region for the quarterfinals, then another round of judging determines which two or three choirs per category advance to the semi-finals.
First-prize recipients in all categories sang on May 18 at the Mondial Choral Gala concert in Laval, Que., and the top choir of the entire competition was awarded the Healey Willan Grand Prize. To see the list of all 2008 competition winners, go to www.cbc.ca/choralcompetition.