Founded in 1969 by Fanshawe College’s first Dean of Music, Artistic Director and Conductor Martin Boundy, the choir was called the Four Counties Choir. Today, the London Fanshawe Symphonic Chorus Organization is incorporated as a charitable organization. For many years, the chorus operated in partnership with the Continuing Education Program at Fanshawe College. We were the only students in college who continually enrolled in the same class, year after year. Trudy Vanderhoek has been with the choir since it began and still sings with us today.
In 1983 the chorus formed its own dedicated orchestra, the Concert Players Orchestra and, together with the chorus, grew to be one of the largest performing organizations in Ontario. Known for adventurous programming and compelling performances, Fanshawe Chorus London performs a repertoire ranging from such great choral and orchestral masterpieces as Verdi’s Requiem, Bach’s St. John Passion, Handel’s Messiah and Brahms’ Requiem to contemporary work, including Karl Jenkins’ The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace, a London, On debut. The choir performs great contemporary and Canadian works as well including The Requiem by London’s own Jeff Smallman.
In 2002, Fanshawe Chorus London was invited to participate in the Seattle Symphonic Chorale’s initiated 9/11 memorial tribute, the Rolling Requiem, joining 23 other countries in 20 time zones to perform Mozart’s Requiem at the precise time of 8:46am. The Chorus provides a broad musical experience for the audience and singers which educates, illuminates and uplifts through engaging performances of culturally significant, historically relevant and artistically excellent choral music. The chorus has brought London, On debut performances of Orff’s Carmina Burana, and Jenkins’ Stabat Mater, and has collaborated with the Rochester Oratorio Society and Mohawk College Community choirs. The Chorus has twice won the prestigious Lieutenant-Governor’s Award, as well as being awarded The Jack Richardson London Music Award four times in the classical choral category. The Chorus was selected to sing at the Canada Day celebrations at the National Arts Centre, Ottawa, during the 2010 visit of HRM Queen Elizabeth II and was nominated for the Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts in 2018.
In 1978, Martin Boundy stepped down and Gerald Fagan took over the baton, along with his wife, Marlene, who took on the General Manager and accompanist role. Together, they added the Gerald Fagan Singers, a smaller chamber choir, who performed concerts on their own as well as performing with the larger chorus.
In 2012, Gerry and Marlene announced their retirement and after an extensive international search we were fortunate to hire David Holler, our current Artistic Director. Both David and our General Manager April Voth, have worked diligently to continue our legacy, to improve the musical skills of the choir and continue to provide exception choral and orchestral programming for audiences.
A very special Thank You to Gerald and Marlene Fagan for their many years of service with the choir.