The mission of The Burlington Choral Society (BCS) is to educate and increase the public’s understanding and appreciation of the arts by providing performances of an artistic nature in public places, senior citizen homes, churches, community centres and educational institutions and by providing weekly rehearsals relating to such performances.
History Over the Past 40 Years
Founded in 1968 and serving the community and surrounding district ever since, The Burlington Choral Society (BCS) marked its 40th anniversary in 2008.
The mixed voice choir has performed at Joseph Brant Hospital, at retirement centres such as Hearthstone by the Lake, nursing homes such as Hampton Terrace and in concert performances at churches such as Wellington Square United, St. James United in Waterdown and our home rehearsal and concert facility at Port Nelson United Church in Burlington. The choir has performed on the concert stage with the mass choir convention in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and has had the pleasure of being the guest performers in Peterborough, Ontario.
The choir has performed, and currently continues to perform, a wide range repertoire of songs from the classics, contemporary, sacred and folk music as well as show stoppers from Broadway.
BCS has been faced with some very significant challenges throughout its 40 plus years of successful contribution to the Arts and culture of Burlington and surrounding area.
The City of Burlington at our inception sponsored the choir through the City Parks and Recreation Department which was managed by Mr. Laurie Branch. The support came as financial to help to cover salaries and also the provision of practice facilities at the Burlington Music Center. However, when the City withdrew sponsorship of adult organizations, the choir was faced with the challenge of becoming self-sufficient. This was a very serious situation requiring a very creative and challenging solution to find new rehearsal facilities and new funding. The organization secured a partnership with Wellington Square United Church for rehearsal and concert facilities. By creative internal financial structuring and fundraising initiatives the organization not only overcame these serious problems but became a very strong, efficient and well managed organization.
In 1999 David Robinson-Cooke and Angela Bailey found it necessary to resign after a very successful term of service. A new choir conductor / instructor and accompanist were required. We were fortunate to welcome two very qualified and capable musicians, Robert G. Foote and Robert M. Douglas, who brought their excellent teaching qualifications and instrumental skills to the organization. In September 2008, Richard Hansen was welcomed as the new accompanist. Both of these men were not only worthy conductors in their own right but were exceptionally talented at both the piano and organ. With the beginning of the 2010-2011 season in September, The Burlington Choral Society welcomed a new accompanist, Katherine Rochester.
In October 2003, Ward Minielly and Barry Saunders attended an Ontario Trillium Foundation seminar. As a result, it was determined that it would be in the best interests of the choir to become an Incorporated “Not For Profit Registered Charity” organization. Through their efforts along with Terry Guerin, this objective was achieved in 2004. Among the benefits of this status is the eligibility to apply for Government Arts and Culture grants and to issue tax receipts for donations.
Our partnership with Wellington Square United Church ended in 2006, creating the very serious need to acquire a new rehearsal and performance venue. Our Executive was able to secure a new mutually advantageous partnership with Port Nelson United Church.
In July 2007, as a 40th Anniversary project, Barry Saunders and Terry Guerin prepared a very complex and comprehensive Ontario Trillium Foundation* (O.T.F.) grant application. We were extremely pleased to receive a $6,600.00 O.T.F. grant to allow the choir to complete a number of 40th Anniversay projects.
* The Ontario Trillium Foundation is an agency of the Government of Ontario.