The first concert was held in the recently-opened Centennial Theatre, and featured Renaissance madrigals from the choir, along with an assorted programme of solo songs, piano works, a piece for recorder with 2 violins, and a couple of trombone solos. No recording survives to tell us how this modest group handled one of the grandest choral works in the repertoire. – a slightly enlarged group reprised Part I of (the Christmas part), accompanied by the Strings of the Sherbrooke Symphony Orchestra.

The choir would share programmes with soloists and instrumentalists for several seasons, until a core of singers had been created that allowed them to perform their first major work in November 1970: the ”, with settings of this text by several composers, including the celebrated version by Antonio Vivaldi, which will be performed again by the choir this year. This is the first recorded collaboration of a Bishop’s choir with the OSS. The numbers in the group swelled to over 50, and a few students’ names start to appear, as does that of Bishop’s Principal, Christopher Nicholl.

We benefit from the generosity of music majors and experienced musicians who model for newcomers the values of discipline and dedication to the craft of singing.

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The choir grew to fill all the available space on stage.

Jamie welcomed not only music students but any other students with a will to sing, along with the community members.

Bishop’s students may obtain academic credits for singing in the group.

But it is first and foremost a community organization dedicated to offering all members the opportunity to sing the great choral works of the classical tradition, to perform a wide variety of popular and contemporary music, and to collaborate with the best instrumentalists of the wider Sherbrooke/Montreal area. We take pride in introducing people to the joy and energy of musical performance.

And we benefit from members with no previous musical experience who show us the irresistible potency of feeling that joy for the first time.

We regard serious music of the past five hundred years as indispensible to choral education and commit to producing at least one full concert of this music per year.

Finally, we welcome opportunities to work with other conductors and choral ensembles on the understanding that a variety of sounds and approaches brought together can produce mutually enriching musical experiences.

Today’s University Singers are a long way from the ensemble that first performed almost 50 years ago, in March of 1968.

Programmes through the 90s continued to explore new choral repertoire: different works by Vivaldi and Fauré, Bach, Mendelssohn, Schubert and many others.

It wasn’t until Nancy Rahn’s last show as director that the bold – and at the time controversial – decision was taken to produce a concert that was not taken from the classical repertoire: an evening of Broadway melodies. When Bishop’s Philosophy professor Jamie Crooks took over from Nancy Rahn in 1999 (somewhat to his own surprise) he could little have imagined how he would revolutionize the group.

They start to appear in programmes with repertoire apart from the main group.