The Bach Elgar Choir is Hamilton's renowned concert choir and a leader in Canadian choral music. The ensemble performed its first concert in 1905 and since then has become essential to musical life in the region. The BEC has several firsts to its credit, including the North American premiere of Verdi's Requiem and the Canadian premiere of Mahler's Symphony #2.
The BEC's productions are, every year, among the most thrilling and essential classical music events in Hamilton. The BEC's concert season features magnificent works for choir and orchestra, its cherished annual presentation of Handel's Messiah, as well as programs of diverse vocal repertoire from opera to pops. Featuring the very best Canadian talent in its roster of soloists, and working together with top orchestras, the BEC has a reputation for excellence.
The BEC is currently under the leadership of Artistic Director Alexander Cann. He brings a dedication to creative programming, attracting growing and diverse audiences. With Maestro Cann the BEC has sung exemplary performances of Bach's Magnificat, Handel's Judas Maccabeus, and Haydn's Lord Nelson Mass. The choir has also earned critical plaudits for its popular Opera Choruses series, as well as its performances of contemporary works by Canadian composers such as Srul Irving Glick and Mark Sirett.
Alexander Cann is a conductor, accompanist, and music teacher. Since 2009 Cann has been Artistic Director of the Bach Elgar Choir. In this time the choir has placed a focus on the major works of Bach, developed a diverse program of opera choruses, and broadened its repertoire of choral/orchestral masterworks. With Cann, BEC has produced carefully constructed programs designed to appeal to audiences, presenting great music in an entertaining and thoughtful way.
Born in Toronto, Alexander attended Royal St. George's College and studied piano at the Royal Conservatory of Music. He holds a Bachelor of Arts and Science from McMaster University, and a Master's in Music from McGill University, where he studied choral conducting with Julian Wachner. Cann's conducting experience includes choral, orchestral, opera, and musical theatre. He was the founding director of Simply Sweetly (now Les Muses Chorales), a Montreal women's choir, and has held positions with The Shaw Festival and Tapestry Opera. Cann is currently Director of Music at Melrose United Church, as well as keyboardist for the Oakville Chamber Orchestra. He is also a secondary school teacher and freelances as an accompanist, clinician, and guest conductor. He lives in Dundas, Ontario.
A graduate of McMaster University and the University of Toronto, Krista Rhodes is an in-demand collaborative pianist renowned for her versatility, precision, and sensitivity. She works with many professional singers and instrumentalists, voice studios, choral groups, music festivals, opera companies, and theatre groups as well as being an active solo performer. She is on the composing staff for HARPO television productions and has had her music heard on the Oprah Winfrey Show.
Krista is a respected music educator, vocal music program director, and adjudicator. In addition to her years teaching in the Hamilton-Wentworth school board, she actively collaborates with McMaster University and Redeemer University College, and operates Krista Rhodes Studios, teaching piano and theory. She is happily enjoying her 6th season as accompanist of the Bach Elgar Choir and has also worked with the Canadian Orpheus Male Choir and the world-renowned Hamilton Children’s Choir. Krista currently resides with her children, Charlotte and Adrian, and husband, Glen, in Stoney Creek, Ontario.
Kathryn Newell – Board Chair
Rein Karik – Secretary/Treasurer
Bud Roach – Co-Chair Grants Committee, Chair Repertoire Committee
Kathy Garay – Co-Chair Grants Committee, Past Chair
Doug Annett – Chair Production Committee
Emily Warren – Chair Publicity
Pamela Collins – Chorister Liaison
Raluca Albert – Co-Chair Fundraising Committee
Jane Savage – Co-Chair Fundraising Committee
Evelyn Wilkie – Volunteer Coordinator
David Duff – Director
Lynda Fraser - Choir Administrator