Barrie Concerts & Georgian Music



Georgian Music Review

Hilary Apfelstadt conducts the Glorious Voices of the Exultate Chamber Singers

Sunday February 11th, 2018 - 2:30 p.m.

Submitted by Catherine Waffle

Liszt’s Twelve Colossal 
      Transcendental Études

Exultate Chamber Singers

The third of four offerings in the Georgian Music concert series occurred on Sunday, February 11th. The concert featured the Toronto-based Exultate Chamber Singers under the direction of Hilary Apfelstadt. This delightful two-hour program made the audience glad that they, and the choir, had braved the unpleasant February weather in order to attend.

The Exultate Chamber Singers is composed of 33 members representing a variety of professional backgrounds. All singers are talented and highly capable musicians. This was immediately apparent when one noticed that they did not form the usual arrangement of singers in a choir. Instead of being grouped in sections according to their vocal ranges of soprano, alto, tenor and bass, this choir stood in mixed groupings. This requires competence and surety when performing as singers are not supported by a section singing the same parts. The arrangement does, however, enable a depth of sound and density that can’t always be achieved in SATB groupings. This was immediately showcased in the first several pieces.

The first half of the concert focussed on sacred works. Hodie by the Canadian composer, Nancy Telfer, was energetic and featured the bright, clear voices of the sopranos. It was sung without piano accompaniment. Two contrasting settings of the Ave Verum Corpus followed; one by Mozart and the other by Byrd (classical and renaissance periods). The choir achieved a richness of tone in both pieces. They demonstrated their responsive connection to the conductor in the dynamic ranges achieved and in the beautifully tapered phrase-endings. Two selections from Mendelssohn’s Elijah featured a trio of sopranos and alto in Lift Thine Eyes. The women’s voices were perfectly balanced and blended in this unaccompanied piece. The dynamic power of the full choir made for a dramatic performance of He Watching Over Israel. The piece that concluded the sacred works – Faure’s Cantique de Jean Racine – provided a truly solemn moment. From the opening bars sung by tenors and basses to the lush phrasing so typical of this French style, the choir captured and conveyed the essence of this music. The hushed, serene ending moved the audience.

The second half of the performance showcased the choir’s commitment to Canadian music. An eclectic selection of pieces by 20th century composers including Harry Somers, Stephen Chatman, Donald Patriquin and Ruth Watson Henderson were enthusiastically performed. This repertoire highlighted the multiple talents of the choir; their ability to handle rhythmically-driven works, irregular phrasing, articulation, sustained, blended sound and dramatic, energetic focus. A wonderful moment was achieved under the baton of the incoming conductor (as Ms. Apfelstadt retires later this year). Mark Ramsey led the choir through Stephen Chatman’s Chickadee - a rousing performance that brought the choir to a level of excitement and energy appreciated by all.

Previous Reviews

Barrie Concerts Logo
VENUE: Hiway Pentecostal Church,
50 Anne Street North (MAP)
TIME: 7:30pm

North Americas Best Band

October 14, 2017, 7:30pm

North Americas Best Band – The Hannaford Street Silver Band

Ontario Reflections - Canadian Composers plus Holst, Vaughan Williams, Gershwin

Time to Remember

November 11, 2017, 7:30pm

Time to Remember – Songs from the Great Wars

Lenard Whiting & U of T, Scarborough Students - Songs will include “We’ll Meet Again”, “Keep the Home Fires Burning”, “Pack Up Your Troubles”,

Pianist Sheng Cai

January 20, 2018, 7:30pm

Pianist Sheng Cai

The Twelve Transcendental Etudes – Liszt’s Greatest Achievement

Schubert’s Great Sonata Duo

March 17, 2018, 7:30pm

Violinist Emil Israel Chudnovsky & Pianist Eric Himy

Schubert’s Great Sonata Duo & Rondo Brillant; Vieuxtemps’ Grande Sonata

Sinfonia Toronto

April 07, 2018, 7:30pm

Sinfonia Toronto & Pianist Stewart Goodyear

Thrill to Dvořák Serenade & Beethoven's Magnificent Piano Concerto No.5 "The Emperor".

Stage & Screen

May 05, 2018, 7:30pm

Kerry Stratton conducts the Toronto Concert Orchestra & Pianist Younggun Kim

Highlights from the greatest film & theatre scores including music from ‘The Sound of Music’, ‘Star Wars’, ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’

Barrie Concerts Logo
VENUES: Vary with concert. see below
TIME: 2:30pm

Pianist Charles Richard-Hamelin

October 29, 2017, 2:30pm
Venue: Hiway Pentecostal Church

Pianist Charles Richard-Hamelin

Mozart, Chopin, Babadjanian, Schumann

Christmas Memories

December 10, 2017, 2:30pm
Venue: St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church

Christmas Memories

with Harpist Judy Loman, Soprano Monica Whicher, Organist Marty Smyth

We Sing!

February 11, 2018, 2:30pm,
Venue: Grace United Church

We Sing!

Hilary Apfelstadt conducts the Exultate Singers – Mozart’s Ave serum corpus, Whitacre’s Five Hebrew Love Songs...

Penderecki String Quartet

April 22, 2018, 2:30pm
Venue: Grace United Church

Penderecki String Quartet & Pianist Stéphane Lemelin

Wolf, Verdi – the Opulent Wolf-Ferrari Piano Quintet


Contact Info

Barrie Concerts & Georgian Music
P.O. Box 452 Barrie, ON L4M 4T7
Phone: (705) 728-8453 or (705) 737-4927 Email:
Official Website: