The Halifax Camerata Singers is Atlantic Canada’s premier chamber choir. Founded in 1986 by Artistic Director Jeff Joudrey, the Nova Scotia ensemble has distinguished itself by performing exciting choral repertoire that covers all periods and styles, with special attention to Canadian music. The auditioned choir is known for its high performance standards, claiming national recognition and the Healy Willan Grand Prize in the 2010 National Competition for Canadian Amateur Choirs.
Members of the Halifax Camerata Singers come from many communities for the opportunity to perform demanding choral repertoire. The choir often appears in collaboration with chamber ensembles, Symphony Nova Scotia, other musicians, and since 2001 has been the core choir of the Symphony Nova Scotia Chorus. The ensemble performs in regional concert series such as Music at the Three Churches, Musique Royale, Music at Trinity, Dartmouth Community Concert Series, and Indian River Festival, P.E.I.
The Halifax Camerata Singers organization has an active program of commissioning choral music from Canadian and international composers and is proud to encourage young singers through its Youth Mentoring Program, bursaries for the Nova Scotia Youth Choir, and commissioning of emerging and established composers. The organization was also instrumental in the success of Xara Choral Theatre, a choral theatre ensemble for young women aged 18–30 years, which was founded as a youth initiative of the Halifax Camerata Singers in 2008.
The choir has made five recordings: A Time for All Things (2015), Solace: Songs of Remembrance (2009), Songs of the Stable: Christmas Music from Canada (2006), Songs of Home (1997), and Celtic Mass for the Sea (1993). A Time for All Things was nominated for a 2017 East Coast Music Award for Classical Recording of the year, and won Classical Recording of the Year in the 2016 Music Nova Scotia Awards. Recordings are distributed through Leaf Records Inc. and Naxos Canada.
The Halifax Camerata Singers is a not-for-profit society managed by a volunteer board of directors. Funding comes from performances, donations, and fundraising, with supporting grants from the Canada Council for the Arts; Arts Nova Scotia; Halifax Regional Municipality; and the Lloyd Carr-Harris Foundation.
Dr. Joel Tranquilla (he/him/his) is a conductor and music educator noted for his versatile musicianship and creative programming. A Maritimer at heart, Joel is thrilled to have returned home to assume the position of Artistic Director of the Halifax Camerata Singers and Chorus Master of Symphony Nova Scotia. Formative choral experiences include touring with the American Boychoir as a boy soprano and singing as a member of the Nova Scotia and National Youth Choirs. He holds degrees from Mount Allison University, the University of Michigan, and Michigan State University where his doctoral research was in the area of Canadian choral-orchestral works.
Joel relocated to Nova Scotia in 2023 after spending nine years as the Director of Choral Activities at Trinity Western University in Langley, BC, where he oversaw a program of six choirs and taught various other courses within the School of the Arts, Media + Culture. Joel led the TWU Chamber Choir on tours to Ottawa, New York City, China, Hong Kong, Japan, and Taiwan. In addition to his work at TWU, Joel served as the Artistic Director of the Valley Festival Singers in Abbotsford and was the conductor of the award-winning Coastal Sound Youth Choir in Coquitlam. A singing member of the Canadian Chamber Choir since 2007, he was named the ensemble’s Associate Conductor in 2013. As such, he contributes to the programming and long-term artistic visioning of that organization. Prior to his time on the West Coast, Joel lived and worked in Windsor, Ontario, serving as the conductor of several local ensembles including the Windsor Symphony Orchestra Chorus. In high demand as an adjudicator and clinician across the country, Joel is a past Guest Conductor of the New Brunswick Youth Choir and the Manitoba Provincial Honour Choir and was the Assistant Conductor of the 2012 National Youth Choir.
Major works conducted include Poulenc’s Gloria, Vaughan Williams’ Hodie, Ramirez’s Navidad nuestra (TWU’s Christmas at the Chan Centre), Mendelssohn’s St. Paul (Sea to Sky Symphony and TWU Choirs), Handel’s Alexander’s Feast, Requiems by Fauré and Duruflé (Windsor Symphony Orchestra and Chorus), Bach’s St. John Passion, and Allan Bevan’s oratorio Nou Goth Sonne Under Wode (TWU Choirs and Orchestra). In spring 2023, Joel conducted the premiere of a new oratorio by David Squires and made his Carnegie Hall debut in a program featuring Vaughan Williams’ Five Mystical Songs. Choirs prepared by Joel have appeared under the batons of Robert Franz, Kevin Mallon, John Morris Russell, Ivars Taurins, and Jon Washburn.
Joel believes in the power of choral music to build and strengthen community. His wife, Meghan is an audiologist, and they have three precocious children – Everett, Penelope, and Felix.
Collaborative Pianist, Lynette Wahlstrom (she/her/hers), having joined the Halifax Camerata Singers in September of 2013, is presently a Vocal Coach at Dalhousie Department of Music,as well as Music Director at First Baptist Church Halifax. She plays regularly with both Opera Nova Scotia and Halifax Summer Opera Festival, as well as special projects with Nova Scotia Choir Federation. Lynette has worked as Collaborative Pianist under the batons of Jeff Joudrey, Jakub Martinec, Caron Daley, Julian Wachner, Robert Ingari, and Patricia Abbot, as well as the studio classes of Sanford Sylvan, Lucy Hayes Davis, Greg Servant and Marcia Swanston, placing her in demand as repetiteur, coach and accompanist. Lynette holds a Bachelor of Music from Brandon University, a Master's of Piano Performance from Université de Montréal, as well as Master`s of Accompaniment from McGill University and is active on the Boards of Opera Nova Scotia, Halifax Summer Opera Nova Scotia Festival, Early Music Society of Nova Scotia, and RCCO Halifax.
Amelia McMahon (she / her / elle) grew up in the Annapolis Valley and recently returned to Nova Scotia after making her home in Montreal for 21 years. In addition to her role as Assistant Conductor of Halifax Camerata Singers, she is the Artistic Director of the South Shore Chorale Society, Co-Principal Conductor of Eastern Horizon and Conductor of the LeMarchant – St. Thomas Elementary School Choir and is on the vocal and choral faculties at the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts. She regularly sings at St. George’s Round Church, with East Coast Carolling, has had roles in two operas produced by Vocalypse, and is excited to be a member of the new vocal jazz quartet, Canvas. Mentored throughout her career by Maestro Iwan Edwards, Amelia studied choral conducting at Université de Sherbrooke and holds a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Voice from McGill University.
Benjamin Sigerson (b. 2001) is a composer and jazz pianist from Vancouver, B.C. Currently pursuing his undergraduate degree in composition at McGill university, he has also studied with composers Rodney Sharman and Katerina Gimon. Sigerson has won awards for his compositions, including 3rd prize in the choral category in the 2021 edition of the SOCAN Awards, twice the Vancouver Chamber Choir's young composer competition, and the Barbara Pentland Award from the Canadian Music Center. His pieces have also been performed by the Vancouver Youth Choir, the Hard Rubber Orchestra, and in recording studios and jazz clubs around Vancouver and Montreal.
In his own words: "Much of the music that I am a part of comes from a place of being in-between, or being nothing at all. Raised by a professional jazz pianist and a choral director, being in-between types of music is extremely familiar. As an Asian-Canadian in Canada, navigating different cultures is part of my every day, and finding ways to try and connect equally and fairly to both ends of my heritage is an eternal puzzle. Now, being an anglophone from Vancouver living and studying in francophone Montreal, holding on to two ideas of home is the new everyday. The music I write reflects the idea of somehow always being in the middle, be it starting choral pieces with Bill Evans voicings, or writing for chamber jazz with a directional approach inspired by Louis Andriessen. As a composer, I try to write pieces that don’t need to categorize themselves and exist in the ears and minds of the listener as just “music”, nothing more and nothing less. I try to show the possibility of cross-pollination of genres and styles in the music that I play and write. As far as I can tell, music serves to make the lives of those listening better, and my ultimate goal as a musician is to have my music make the world and people around me a little better. To be an example and reminder of the beauty of sound, the natural world, and creativity with others is all I can hope my music to be."
His website: www.benjaminsigerson.ca
Board of Directors
The Halifax Camerata Singers is a not-for-profit society incorporated under the laws of the Province of Nova Scotia and is managed by a volunteer Board of Directors. The Board is responsible for the day-to-day activities of Camerata, including concert arrangements, grant applications, fundraising, publicity, contracts and public relations.
Members of the 2022-23 Board of Directors are: Randall Wilkie (Chair); Tom Black (Treasurer); Danielle Andres (Secretary); Andrea Mathis (Fundraising Chair); Taunya Pynn-Crowe, Nicole Jordan and Corinne Cox (Members at Large); Kelly Hart and Steven DeWitt (Choir Representatives); and Joel Tranquilla (Ex Officio).