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Toronto Catholic District School Board

St. Michaels' Choir to Perform for the Pope
Canada’s illustrious choir school among the first to be granted audience with new Pope
 
When His Eminence Thomas Cardinal Collins, Archbishop of Toronto, presides over the April 7th mass at Vatican City’s Basilica of Saint Peter, he will be joined by 190 students from Toronto’s St. Michael’s Choir School whose voices will resound in song throughout the holy site. The school’s first Vatican performance in 16 years is part a performance tour of some of the world’s foremost sacred music venues. The Choir’s April 10th Papal Audience is expected to be among one of the first public appearances for Pope Benedict's successor who is expected to be in place by Easter. St. Michael’s Choir School’s milestone tour will also include performances for the Vatican’s diplomatic core at Rome’s Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music, with which St. Michael’s Choir School has been affiliated since May 17, 1955—an honour shared with only six other institutions in the world. 
 
“Founded on a tradition of sacred music in the Catholic liturgy, St Michael’s Choir School is deeply honoured to celebrate its long-standing affiliation with the Pontifical Institute and the Vatican, and represent St. Michael’s Cathedral and Canada’s Catholic community, with these performances,” says Stephen Handrigan, St. Michael’s Choir School’s new director, who leads the entourage of 320, including 190 students in Grades 5 to 12 as well as parents and friends of the choir school. “Our talented young singers will no doubt be changed by the experience, as were the spectacular alumni who participated in our first Vatican performance forty-two years ago.”
 
Along with other satellite concerts in Rome and Florence, the choir will mark the 125th anniversary of the Canadian Pontifical College with a performance at Santi Martiri Canadesi. The return visit to Rome is one of several milestones for the acclaimed school, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year.
 
Founded in 1937 with the purpose of providing sacred music for services at St. Michael’s Cathedral in downtown Toronto, St. Michael’s Choir School is a centre for musical and academic excellence.  It is one of only six choir schools in the world affiliated with the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music in Rome.  Each student admitted to the Choir School is trained in vocal, technical, and instrumental music, and sings in one of the school’s choirs.  In addition to the annual Christmas concert, the choirs tour regularly and perform at many local events. Dignitaries such as His Holiness Pope John Paul II, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien have enjoyed the choir’s performances.
 
Balancing the sacred and the secular is customary for the school.  St. Michael’s Choir School is not only famous for its music program, but also is known for its academic achievement, consistently ranking at the top of Fraser Institute surveys.  For almost 75 years, graduates of the Choir School have pursued studies in science, education, medicine, law, and business and, of course, music.  In the last group are the Crew Cuts and Four Lads of the 1950s and present-day musical artists Michael Schade, John McDermott, Stewart Goodyear, Kevin Hearn (of The Barenaked Ladies), Robert Pomakov, Matt Dusk, Michael Colvin, Claude Morrison (of The Nylons), and Michael Burgess. For more information: www.smcs.on.ca.
 
Media Contact: Victoria Lord, VLPR Inc., (416) 484-9047, victoria@vlpr.com
 
 
 
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