Music is an important part of our worship at our 10 am Sunday service. Hymns, motets and organ pieces enhance our worship by clothing God’s word in the beauty of music. Steeped in the Anglican choral tradition, our talented choir explores an eclectic musical repertoire, accompanied on our Cassavant organ and grand piano by Gary Forbes, our music director.
Choir members are mostly amateur singers from the congregation, led by four professional section leaders. The repertoire they explore ranges widely in mood and era (recent performances have included music composed in the twelfth and late twentieth centuries) and they have tackled some highly complex polyphonic works, as well as giving carefully crafted and highly musical accounts of simpler pieces.
New members of the choir are always welcome, especially tenors and basses. There are no auditions. You need the ability to sing in tune and sensitively with others, a love of sacred choral music, a willingness to be stretched and challenged, and a commitment to Thursday evening rehearsals. Their main obsessions – besides attempting to sing the right notes at the right time and in tune! – are musicality and expressiveness; elegance in phrasing; clarity in diction; colour and variety in interpretation. Rehearsals are fast-paced and demanding, but always good humoured and fun, with a lot of laughs along the way. If you are interested in joining the choir, the Director of Music will be delighted to hear from you.
Gary Forbes holds a Bachelors of Music from Brock University and an A.R.C.T. from the Royal Conservatory of Music, having studied Piano with Dr. Karin DiBella, Dr. Christopher Foley, and Mr. Peter Longworth, and Pipe Organ with Prof. Lesley Kingham. Gary is presently pursuing a Masters of Music in Collaborative Piano under the direction of Prof. Stephen Philcox at the University of Toronto.
Gary works as a private piano teacher in Toronto and Oakville. Most recently he served as Staff Accompanist at Brock University, accompanying the choral music program on the piano and pipe organ, while actively working as a freelance collaborative pianist at Brock and McMaster Universities, and throughout Southern Ontario. Gary previously worked as Music Director for a number of amateur and professional theatre companies in the Niagara Region, and performed as an accompanist with The Niagara Men’s Chorus, Choralis Camerata, The Niagara Children’s Chorus, The Shaw Festival Theatre, and Niagara Symphony.
St Cuthbert’s is fortunate to possess a large and extremely versatile organ. Built by Casavant Frères in 1911 for St. James Square Presbyterian Church, Gerrard Street, it was later relocated to St Cuthbert’s and was rebuilt by Guilbaut –Thérien in 2001. It has three manuals and five divisions.