October Newsletter

Celebrate the Festive Season with Music Niagara!

Don’t wait for Santa to check your wish list — tickets go on sale TODAY for two ho-ho-holiday concerts that you and your loved ones won’t want to miss. If history repeats itself, these events will sell out more quickly than a reindeer can fly, so be sure to buy yours now! After all, you’ve been very, very good this year and deserve to treat yourself to fine seasonal music that will lighten your mood and stir your soul.

Vocális Chamber Choir

Sunday December 9, 2018 3:00pm at St. Mark’s Church

Revel in the Beauty of the Human Voice!

Vocális Chamber Choir

There is nothing more ethereal than the sound of a finely honed a cappella choir soaring in exquisite harmony. When Vocális Chamber Choir members sing, under the direction of James Burritt, expect to be transported by their immaculate precision and artistry. The critically acclaimed Vocális ensemble hails from Buffalo, New York, where they present a series of subscription concerts each year, on top of their national and international commitments. They consider it their mission to inspire and move audiences, interpreting choral masterpieces that showcase the power and versatility of the human voice. And they redouble their efforts when it comes to Christmas music, performing repertoire ranging from Renaissance carols to modern-day seasonal tunes, with commitment straight from their hearts. Santa knows you’ve been on your best behaviour, and as a special treat, this concert will also feature the incredibly talented Emma Meinrenken. Not yet twenty years old, this Music Niagara Performance Academy alumni who is currently studying at the prestigious Curtis Institute in Philadelphia has just been awarded the use of the 1689 Baumgartner Stradivarius by the Canada Council Musical Instrument Bank. It’s a rare chance to get up close to an incomparable violin, played by one of Canada’s most technically proficient and musically sensitive young artists.

Purchase Vocális Tickets Now!

Toronto All-Star Big Band

Saturday December 15, 2018 7:00pm at St. Mark’s Church

Equal Parts Naughty and Nice!

Toronto All-Star Big-Band
Toronto All-Star Big-Band

They’ll swing. They’ll bop. They’ll have you swaying in your seat, if you manage to keep yourself from jumping to your feet and dancing. The Toronto All-Star Big Band is back! Without a doubt, it’s the most wonderful big band of the year—and of Canada!–and they plan to spice up our most festive month with musical pizzazz. Join us, and prepare to be dazzled by the youthful energy and top-notch expertise of these star-quality musicians. Expect a sold-out show; they’re Music Niagara favourites!

Purchase Toronto All-Star Big Band Tickets Now

And to All a Good Night Make that two fabulous occasions: one gorgeous afternoon with Vocális, and one merry evening with the Toronto All-Star Big Band, and be sure to buy your tickets  TODAY!

Remembrance Day

Sunday November 11, 2018 11:45am at St. Mark’s Church

(following the Cenotaph wreath laying)

For the fifth year, Music Niagara will commemorate Remembrance Day with music and words that capture the moment.

The concert will feature:

  • Alex Dobson, baritone
  • Inga Williams, soprano
  • Victoria Kogan, piano
  • Atis Bankas, violin
  • Guy Bannerman, narrator

Music selections by French, British, German, Italian, Polish and Russian composers.

From our friends at St. Mark’s Church…

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Thanks for a great season

To You, Our Friends, a Standing Ovation!

Our record-breaking Summer 2018 Twentieth Anniversary Festival Season has ended, but the beautiful music still resonates in our memories.

Robert Schumann once said, “Nothing right can be accomplished in art without enthusiasm.” We agree wholeheartedly and would like to acknowledge that it was your enthusiasm that helped us set new benchmarks. Ticket sales in Summer 2018 reached an all-time high, increasing 15% from 2017, and over half of our ticket buyers were new this year! And for those of you who have been with us year after year, we’re so grateful that you not only joined us once again, but you attended more concerts. Many of you attended five or more events!

We owe all of this to you, our wonderful and loyal friends and supporters. Thank you very much. We’re on our feet, applauding you with gusto!

And… what’s next for Music Niagara?

We’re glad you asked!
First up, we’re putting down our violin bows and picking up our seven irons, at Music Niagara’s Second Annual Golf Tournament on September 5th. We need to hit our longest drives ever to reach our 2018 fundraising goal, and there’s still much work to be done, with your enthusiastic participation! Join us for an afternoon of fun at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Golf Club. It’s a forgiving best-ball format, and players of all levels of skill are welcome! And for everyone, golfers and non-golfers alike, there will be a delicious dinner to follow.

Sneak preview!

Music will be in the air this Fall as we present three outstanding concerts: Remembrance Day, November 11, Vocalis Chamber Choir, December 9, and a Toronto All-Star Big Band Christmas, December 15. Tickets go on sale soon!

Please save this date: Saturday June 15, 2019. That’s right: Music Niagara’s Big Night returns, more dazzling than ever before! Our avid committee members are brainstorming to create a festive night and your participation will help make it the best in our history.




And if you are looking for something to do next weekend….

SATURDAY, SEPT 8, 2018 | 12:00 – 4:00 pm

$15 – ADVANCE | $20 – AT GATE

Buy tickets here.

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National Youth Orchestra: Artistry and Exuberance

There is something transcendent in hearing a group of our nation’s best classical musicians, aged sixteen to twenty-eight, play their youthful hearts out on stage. They don’t second-guess themselves; they perform with pure passion, creating an atmosphere that sparkles and delights.

Music Niagara is thrilled to present The National Youth Orchestra, as they share their prodigious, combined talents with an appreciative audience at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre (St. Catharines) on Thursday, July 26 (7:30pm). Their ambitious Migrations 2018 repertoire includes demanding and contrasting works such as Ein Heldenleben,-Richard Strauss’s eighth tone poem—as well as the enduringly popular Appalachian Spring (Suite for Orchestra) by Aaron Copland. Rest assured that, whatever Maestro Jonathan Darlington chooses to conduct, the concert hall will be filled with luscious harmonies and nuanced performances.

National Youth Orchestra of Canada
National Youth Orchestra of Canada


For over fifty years, young musicians from Canada have vied to become part of the National Youth Orchestra. Several hundred hopefuls audition each year for approximately ninety-five positions. Landing one of the coveted spots is considered a stepping stone to a professional career; in fact, about a third of all Canadian professional orchestral musicians are alumni of NYO Canada.

As one famous young musician—a certain Wolfgang A. Mozart–once said, “Music is my life and my life is music.” Like Mozart, every young artist needs an audience. On July 26, be a part of the excitement, and support these budding Canadian musical stars as their careers take flight.

Tickets for this concert, $35 +HST Call 1-855-515-0722

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Elmer Iseler Singers – 40th Anniversary

It’s a Canadian jewel of an ensemble with a well-deserved international reputation for choral brilliance. Fully professional and twenty jubilant voices strong, the Elmer Iseler Singers will make the rafters ring, when they perform at the United Mennonite Church (1775 Niagara Stone Road, NOTL) on

July 19 (7:30pm)

Conducted by visionary Artistic Director, Lydia Adams, the Elmer Iseler Singers will treat us to a thrilling range of choral music, from Leonard Bernstein to Healey Willan. They’ll demonstrate just why they’ve won a Juno, and why they’re in demand in concert halls worldwide.

Elmer Iseler Singers
Elmer Iseler Singers

The ensemble was founded in 1978 by the remarkable Elmer Iseler, who directed it until his death in 1998. We’re sure he’d be thrilled to see how the tradition continues to thrive and strengthen to this day. And we’re thrilled to celebrate the group’s fortieth anniversary the same year as we salute our own twentieth!

Imagine being in the audience, listening to twenty resonating voices singing in perfect four-part harmony. Critics have called their performances “divine” and “mesmerising,” not to mention “absolutely stunning.”
Please join us and listen for yourself. Revel in the glory of an unforgettable choral experience. We’re sure you’ll treasure the experience!

Tickets for this concert, from $45 +HST


Buy Now

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March News

New Collaboration with TD Niagara Jazz Festival

The spirit of collaboration is alive and soaring in Niagara-on-the-Lake! Today, Music Niagara and the TD Niagara Jazz Festival are stepping into the future together, announcing our first ever joint concert presentation featuring two of Canada’s premiere jazz artists.

July 29, 2018 7:30 pm
St. Mark’s Church,
41 Byron Street, Niagara-on-the-Lake

Clarinettist Phil Nimmons and pianist David Braid, who tour as Nimmons ‘n Braid, are superlative musicians as well as intuitive, versatile musical partners. Both have won many accolades, including Juno Awards, most recently with Braid’s 2018 win for Jazz Album of the Year – Group. They’re jazz performers at the top of their game, and, despite their fifty year age difference, their musical styles blend in a timeless and brilliant combination of structure and improvisation.

Tickets for this and all of our upcoming events will go on sale shortly. Check here for information as it becomes available.

Phil Nimmons
David Braid
David Braid

Louis Armstrong said that “the memory of things gone is important to a jazz musician.” With Phil Nimmons and David Braid, Niagara audiences will hear both echoes of things gone and the excitement of all that is yet to come.
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And, stay tuned for updates about a fantastic Music Niagara season! It will be a star-studded summer, as we celebrate our Twentieth Anniversary with the Hannaford Street Silver Band (July 7), Isabel Bayrakdarian (July 16), the Elmer Iseler Singers (July 19), and so much more.

And don’t forget!
On Sale Now
Music Niagara Big Night 2018

June 2, 2018 5:30 PM
Niagara-on-the-Lake Community Centre
14 Anderson Lane, Niagara-on-the-Lake

Support our 20th Season

We’re gearing up for a spectacular 20th anniversary season. To find out more about ways that you can invest in this exciting year of concerts and events, visit us online. Or just:
Donate Now

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Congratulations Atis!

Please join us in congratulating Atis, who won the “Christopher Newton Award for Extraordinary Vision in Business” on Tuesday night at the Spirit of Niagara Awards Ceremony. The event was held at Queen’s Landing hotel in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Well done, Atis!

Spirit of Niagara Awards
Atis with Music Niagara Board members, staff and supporters.

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February Update

Alexander Sevastian

Quartetto Gelato Member Alexander Sevastian Has Died, Aged 41

We are very sorry to learn that the Toronto accordion virtuoso Alexander Sevastian died suddenly on Friday, February 16, 2018 in Ajijic, Mexico, while on tour with Quartetto Gelato. He had been a member of the group since 2002.

Alexander Sevastian started out in Moscow, touring Europe with the Russian Radio Orchestra. He was a renowned artist, who won several International Accordion Competitions.

He has performed with Music Niagara on numerous occasions over the years and was always a great favourite with our audiences.

Alex is survived by his wife Anya, their children Vladimir and Maria, his brother Vitali and his mother Nadya.

Full biography
Donate to the Alexander Sevastian Memorial Fund

Funeral arrangements for Alexander have been made:
Elgin Mills Funeral Centre
Monday, February 26th
12:30-3 pm
1591 Elgin Mills Road East
Richmond Hill Ontario

Alexander Sevastian – October 2, 1976 – February 16, 2018

Spirit of Niagara Awards

Our very own Atis Bankas has been nominated for a 2018 “Spirit of Niagara” award. Join us on February 27th at 6:30, in the Grand Georgian Ballroom, Queen’s Landing, Niagara-on-the-Lake, to lend your support. Individual tickets, $40.
Ceremony and awards at 7:00, buffet afterwards.

Support our 20th Season

André Laplante, Trio Céleste, Isabel Bayrakdarian, Julie Nesrallah, Victoria Kogan and Alex Dobson  are just a few of the treats we have in store for you in 2018. To find out how you can invest in this exciting year of concerts and events, visit us online . Or just:

Donate Now


Do you have photos or special memories you would like to share with us? We would love to put together some pictures and remembrances for our 20th season. Email us: memories@musicniagara.org  . We would like to feature some of these through our newsletters and on our website, so be sure to let us know that you give us permission to share.

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February Newsletter

Don’t let his height fool you! Though Sora Sato-Mound could barely see past the heads of the residents, this virtuoso wowed audiences to the back of the room with his talent and musicality.
Our roster of talented performers, under the direction of Artistic Director, Atis Bankas.


On Sunday February 4th, the halls of the Royal Henley Retirement Community and Ina Grafton Gage Village in St. Catharines echoed with the sound of music. Sora Sato-Mound, Hilary Chan, Keris Choi and Veronika Manchur, all from the Royal Conservatory, delighted over one hundred residents with their talent and professionalism.

This isn’t the first time Music Niagara has brought music to Niagara-area retirement communities. In total since beginning this initiative, Music Niagara has presented eight concerts to local area homes. “It is a unique way to give back to our community and our supporters” Artistic Director Atis Bankas remarked.

This week’s double header is just the latest in what Bankas says is an ongoing series. “We have plans to continue bringing great music to these retirement communities in the months and years to come.”

Collage of Music Niagara Posters
The Big Night 2018

Our annual fundraising event will be held on Saturday June 2nd, 5:30 at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Community Centre. Call your friends and put together a table. Catered by Collin Goodine, this should be a night to remember. As always, we will have a fantastic selection of silent and live auction items and Chris Blake will be returning to Niagara-on-the-Lake, just to call the bids for us.

Tickets are $1200 for a table of 8 or $150 each and are already on sale here .

20th Season

Look out for our Season announcement coming soon. We have lots of wonderful concerts in store for you.

Hosting for Music Niagara

Every year, Music Niagara brings world renown artists to our beautiful town. Part of what makes Music Niagara unique is our wonderfully dedicated volunteer group who open up their homes to host these visiting artists. As Music Niagara grows, we’d love to see our network of hosts grow as well. From commitments as short as one night, to longer stays with the talented youngsters of the Performance Academy, Music Niagara has a wide-range of varying needs for accommodations. If you’re interested in learning more about hosting for Music Niagara, please email us: concerts@musicniagara.org

Volunteer Appeal

During the festival, volunteers are an essential part of our operation. From serving wine, to taking tickets and handing out programs, we rely on a strong network of volunteers on a daily basis. If you would like to join the team, let us know !

Support our 20th Season

We’re gearing up for a spectacular 20th anniversary season. To find out more about ways that you can invest in this exciting year of concerts and events, visit us online . Or just:

Donate Now


Do you have photos or special memories you would like to share with us? We would love to put together some pictures and remembrances for our 20th season. Email us: memories@musicniagara.org  We would like to feature some of these through our newsletters and on our website, so be sure to let us know that you give us permission to share.

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December Newsletter

Season’s Greetings!

We will be closing the office for a couple of weeks, from December 23 to January 7, but year-end donations can be made any time
online (http://www.musicniagara.org/donate-now/) or you can mail your cheque to:

Music Niagara
P.O. Box 1828
Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON
L0S 1J0

For a 2017 tax credit, just make sure that your donation is dated (letter must be postmarked) before midnight on December 31st.
Congratulations to our winners:
John Pouli from Fenwick and Mark Roberts from St. Catharines each won a poster and two tickets for the 2018 season at our Remembrance Day concert in November.
6 Packs – No Tax Until the New Year!
We also have “Six-Packs” on sale through the Shaw Festival Box Office 1-800-511-7429, (open ‘til 5:00 pm, December 23rd.) We will pay the HST on these until December 31st, so that is just $195 for six vouchers that can be used for concerts in 2018. Buy them now for yourself or give them to friends.

A note from Sarah…

I would like to thank all of our wonderful donors, volunteers, staff, and of course the musicians who made this past year so memorable.

2017 was a tremendously successful season for Music Niagara. I hope that you were able to join us. We made some fabulous new discoveries, Oystein Baadsvik , The Fitzgeralds and Victoria Kogan, to name just a few. We also welcomed back some of your favourite artists like Robert Silverman, James Campbell and the Toronto All-Star Big Band. We presented nearly 50 performances over the course of the year and attendance was up 10% over last year.

Our Remembrance Day concert was a full house as usual, with canteen lunch supplied by our very efficient volunteers and donations accepted at the door. Proceeds from this concert were sent to Wounded Warriors Canada for their PTSD Service Dogs program.

For our Christmas concert this year we welcomed the Toronto All-Star Big Band for their first winter concert with us. The house was full, the music was fantastic and I saw nothing but smiles leaving the church.

Next year will be our 20th season and we have all sorts of exciting plans. The world renowned
Trio Celeste and pianist Dang Thai Son are just a couple of the treats we have in store for you. Watch this space for more information coming soon.

All the best for the holiday season and the coming year.

Sarah Lynch
Executive Director
Music Niagara

P.S. Do you have photos or special memories you would like to share with us? We would love to put together some pictures and remembrances for our 20th season.

Please email memories@musicniagara.org

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October Newsletter

It’s been a busy fall so far…

In September, Music Niagara was pleased to join The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, provincial,
regional, and local politicians, and a tent-full of local residents for a celebration to mark the 225^th anniversary of the first parliament of Upper Canada. Atis and a number of musicians performed works originally composed and performed to celebrate Canada’s 150 years of Confederation, and to commemorate the Act Against Slavery legislation of Upper Canada’s First Parliament in 1793.

Also in September, the first annual Music Niagara Golf Tournament was held on North America’s oldest golf course, here in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Some 60 golfers completed the nine hole fun competition, raising over $6,000 in support of our music making. The winning foursome received the Sally Miller Group Trophy. A special thank you to all the sponsors, including Sally Miller, Colliers International, Elaine and Bob Lavery, and Joan and Larry Bourk.

And there’s more to come…

Remembrance Day

Saturday November 11 – 11:45 am (following the Cenotaph wreath laying)
St. Mark’s Church

For the fourth year, Music Niagara will commemorate Remembrance Day with music and words that capture the moment. The pay-what-you-can concert will include a canteen lunch. All proceeds will go to a veterans’ charity. The concert will feature: Jamie Mainprize, Jenny Phipps, Stephen Wattrus and the Trillium Trio: Atis Bankas, Jonathan Tortolano, Benjamin Smith.

Music Niagara Family Town Hall

Monday November 27 – 4:00-6:00pm
Community Centre, Simpsons Room

Over the past few years, you’ve asked us all kinds of questions about how we operate, about financial matters, about upcoming programming—you want to know, so you can be supportive. Please join us for a family discussion of all these topics and whatever is on your mind, on November 27th. We’ll talk about financial results, budgeting, marketing, programming for our 20th Anniversary and so on. We want to hear from you.

A Swingin’ Christmas with Toronto All-Star Big Band

Saturday December 16 – 7:00 pm
St. Mark’s Church

Celebrate the most wonderful time of the year big band style, with swingin’ renditions of seasonal and all-time favorites from the Golden Age of Swing. This vibrant, exciting young band revives the spirit, style, and sound of the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s, capturing the warmth, joy, and magic of the holiday season. A genuine time capsule that is sure to put you in the holiday spirit. Not to be missed! Tickets start at $35+HST available through the Shaw Box Office Click here to learn more and buy now!

Save the Date…

The Big Night

Saturday June 2, 2018
Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of Music Niagara!

Stay tuned for more details in the coming months…

And from our friends at the Shaw Festival…

A Christmas Carol

Royal George Theatre
November 15 – December 23

Adapted for the stage and directed by Tim Carroll

See the beloved Charles Dickens’ classic at the Royal George in Niagara-on-the-Lake, the perfect setting to experience a Victorian winter wonderland.
Fun for everyone (even Scrooges).
For tickets call 1.800.511.7429 or visit shawfest.com

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