EVERY VOICE MATTERS
VIVA Singers Toronto is a not-for-profit family of choirs with a mandate to give members, ages four through adult, the opportunity to achieve artistic excellence in a singer-centered, collaborative choral community.
As performers, we acknowledge that our actions impact land across Turtle Island, the traditional territory of many Indigenous peoples. We honour them as the original storytellers, artists, and stewards of this land. May we never forget their legacies, and may we learn well their lessons about living on and with the Earth. We will respect their lessons, acknowledge the rich history of these lands and Indigenous nations, honour and continue to learn about the truth of the past, and recognize the original treaty of this land we are gathered on today to peaceably care for this land and each other, through our music-making and creative practices. Here in Toronto, wish to pay special recognition to many nations, including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples. Toronto is now home to many diverse First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. We also acknowledge that Toronto is covered by Treaty 13 with the Mississaugas of the Credit.
VIVA was founded in 2000 by Carol Woodward Ratzlaff in response to widespread cuts to public school arts programs. As a lifelong vocal music educator, she believes that every person should have access to a singing experience. With this in mind, VIVA is committed to putting chorister voice at the forefront of our organization through the core values of choral performance artistry, choral creation and vocal music education, inclusive choral practices, choral leadership and mentoring, and community connections.
VIVA offers diverse musical programming - including regular performance and chorister composition opportunities, digital musical literacy, Orff-based creation activities, and commissioned works and partnerships with distinguished musicians and composers. Ongoing partnerships include those with The National Ballet of Canada; The Toronto Consort; and Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre for Faith, Justice and the Arts. We also enjoy and benefit from an Associate Choir partnership with the Elmer Iseler Singers and Lydia Adams, C.M.
VIVA’s dedicated efforts to put choristers first informs our rehearsal structures and music-making processes.
We provide ongoing vocal music education through theory classes and exam preparation, one-on-one vocal training, sight-singing, and an annual fall Performing Arts Camp. Children collaborate with Teaching Assistants and Vocal Coaches to explore their own creativity and ideation through songwriting and other forms of musical creation.
VIVA’s Choral Mentoring and Leadership Program provides young leaders and aspiring educators with vital opportunities to assist with and instruct singers of all ages and needs. This unique program is essential to VIVA’s structure, as from it are drawn Teaching Assistants, Conductors and Vocal Coaches to work with singers in most of our choirs.
In the 2023/24 season, VIVA will present its twenty-fourth season with a total of seven choirs. These choirs continue to bring people of all ages, all abilities, and all levels of musical experience together through the power of choral music. We continue to push boundaries by applying current research in vocal pedagogy (including transgender voices, changing adolescent voices, supporting aging voices, etc.), vocal music education, inclusion studies, and academia to best meet the needs of our singers.
At the heart of VIVA’s family of choirs is the Every Voice Matters Chorus, a chorus of teens and adults with disabilities.
We continue to advocate for all voices, and push for inclusivity to ensure that anyone who enjoys music is welcomed - and challenged - at VIVA.
VIVA’s goal of authentic music-making and community-building through the best possible repertoire is achieved by a team of fine musicians and educators, members of the Choral Mentoring & Leadership Program, and a dynamic Board of Directors.