Orillia Vocal Ensemble

Who We Are

The Orillia Vocal Ensemble is a community choir that raises money for local charities through its concerts. In the last four years, the Ensemble has raised more than $120,000. Some of those charities are the Orillia Community Foundation, Jubilee House, the Sharing Place food bank, Big Brothers, Big Sisters, Hillcrest Lodge, Greenhaven Women's Shelter, and Information Orillia.

We also sing at a number of retirement homes at Christmas, and participate in concerts with other Orillia performing arts groups.


The Annual "Old-Fashioned Family Christmas Celebration took place again this year on Saturday, December the 14th, 2019

This fund-raiser for the "Sharing Place" food centre in Orillia raised more than $7,000 and attracted so many people that Thor motors show room was packed with happy faces. The Orillia Music Centre provided 70 enthusiastic young Ukelele players who played carols, ate cookies, and met with Santa Claus. Forty members of the OVE sang a variety of carols and Christmas music and ended the festivities with the Hallelujah Chorus from the Messiah. Our thanks go out to Thor Motors, Roy Menagh, and Mary Jo Wilson in addition to all the volunteers!


Joyful Sound Christmas Concert

December 8th at 3pm - The Orillia Vocal Ensemble presented Joyful Sound, a Christmas concert in support of Lakehead University's Humanities 101 program.

The concert featured performances from Rita Arendz, A Little Wind Music, and soloists Laura Aylan-Parker and Dean Jobin-Bevans. 

Santa Clause



A joint Concert with The Washago and Gravenhurst Ukuleles and the Orillia Youth Centre was a benefit for the Youth Centre and raised $2,500 on May 26th, 2019 

Our last full concert of the 2018/2019 season was a youthful one which featured the music of Bruce Cockburn, Stan Rogers, Duke Ellington, Elton John, Lady Gaga, Jerry Garcia, and Hoagy Carmichael to name a few. The program featured some excellent solo work by key members of the choir, the happy and popular work of the WG Ukelele choir, and a handful of young musicians from the Youth Centre itself playing their own music. 

Pictured below are, in the left picture, (left to right) OVE President Fred Larson and Ethan Mask, who stood in for OYC Director of Youth Opportunities Kevin Gangloff at short notice. Next are two members of the Ukelele Group. In the right-hand picture are Ethan and the members of the OYC band. 


Roger Andrews Memorial Scholarship - 2019 Recipient

Our 2019  Roger Andrews Memorial Scholarship recipient is Lauryn MacDonald. Lauryn is currently singing in the National Honour Choir in Ottawa at MusicFest Canada.  She aspires to  becoming a music educator. Following her graduation from Mount Allison University, she plans to attend Acadia University and enroll in their Bachelor of Music Education program. Upon graduation, she hopes to immediately start working in the school system and after finishing these two Bachelor degrees, would like to undergo a Masters program, preferably in music education and choral conducting. We are proud to award her our Scholarship.

Roy Menagh to retire as Musical Director of the OVE !!

Roy Menagh, Director

At an OVE rehearsal on Tueday, May 21st, Roy read out the following statement:

"Having given notice to the OVE executive one year ago, I now would like to let the OVE membership know that I am retiring from the OVE as musical director as of May 23, 2020. I will be 75 the spring of 2020 and this will mark the 10th anniversary of the OVE and its significant contribution to the Orillia musical sector and its generous contribution to many charities in Orillia. For me it marks the end of directing community-based music groups and concerts in 5 communities in Canada where Nancy and I have lived. I have been so fortunate as a musical amateur to be on podiums for so many wonderful concerts over the past 5 decades and it is my hope that the OVE thrives in the future.

It is very important to continue to support the OVE in the next transition year for your new musical director. New members are welcome to join us at our next rehearsal on Tuesday September 10, 2019 at St. Paul’s Centre."

We thank Roy for his dedication and drive in leading the OVE over the last ten years, and wish him well.

Roger Andrews Memorial Scholarship

Will you be attending a post-secondary institution to study either vocal music or musical theatre? Then you should check out The Roger Andrews Memorial Scholarship Fund.

$500 is awarded annually in the spring to a deserving applicant.

Deadline for applications is May 10, 2019.

For an application or more information, please contact orilliavocalensemble@gmail.com

Over $4,000 raised for Alzheimers Society

The Love Never Forgets concert on April 7, 2019 raised $4,140 for the Alzheimers Society of Simcoe County.  Musical pieces in this concert included works by Mark Sirrett, Gabriel Faure, Bach, Mozart, Debussy and Dobrogosz.

In the photo below, Fred Larsen, President of the OVE, presents a cheque to Debbie Islam, Chief Executive Officer of the society (right) and Valerie Powell (left).

OVE and Nai Choir raise $3,000+ for YMCA

In a joint concert on February 24th, the Orillia Vocal Ensemble and the Nai Children's Choir, with the participation of children from the Orillia Music Centre, raised just over $3,000 for the YMCA's Skid Watson Fund.  The Songs for the Children concert featured a mix of Syrian, Canadian and international music.  Here, OVE president Fred Larsen and Fei Tang of CultureLink (on the right) present a cheque for the proceeds to Pamela Marck and Kate Meeks of the YMCA (on the left).

Special Concert on February 24

The Orillia Vocal Ensemble and Nai Children’s Choir will co-present a special concert featuring a variety of Syrian and Canadian patriotic music with guest performers from the Orillia Music Centre. A fundraiser for the YMCA Skid Watson Fund, it will be held at 3:00 pm. in St. Paul’s Centre Great Hall, 62 Peter Street North, Orillia. Admission is free with a free will collection.  Members of the Nai Choir recently sang at the celebration of the 80th birthday of Adrienne Clarkson, where the photo below was taken.  Recognizable public figures who attended include former Governor-General Adrienne Clarkson, writer John Ralston Saul, former prime minister Jean Chretien, and current Governor-General Julie Payette.

Nai Choir sings for Adrienne Clarkson

Joyful Sound concert supports Building Hope

On Saturday, December 15, 2018, the Orillia Vocal Ensemble (director Roy Menagh, accompanist Mary Jo Wilson) raised $5,750 for the Lighthouse Shelter’s Building Hope campaign in a concert at St. Paul’s Centre.

Guest artists were the A Little Wind Music brass ensemble led by Rita Arendz, violinist Sean Ford and soprano Laura Aylan-Parker. Some notable choral pieces of music performed were Song for a Winter’s Night by Gordon Lightfoot, Laudate Dominum by Wolfgang Mozart and Ecce Novum by Norwegian composer Ola Gjello. Brass pieces included Christmas Day by Gustav Holtz, Huron Indian Carol by Jean de Brebeuf and Es Ist Ein Ros Entsprungen (Lo, how a rose e’er blooming) by Brahms.

The concert was superbly MC’d by Jack Latimer of the Building Hope campaign.

The Orillia Vocal Ensemble is known as the “pay-it-forward” choir and has raised in excess of $120,000 for various Orillia charities over the past few years.


OVE president Fred Larson presents a cheque for the proceeds of the concert to Linda Goodall of the Orillia Lighthouse Shelter.

Listen to a couple of pieces from the concert:

Ecce Novum by Ola Gjeilo, sung by the OVE

Birthday Carol by David Willcocks, sung by the OVE Chamber Choir

OVE helps to raise nearly $6,000 for Sharing Place Food Bank


The annual OVE fund-raising concert to benefit the Sharing Place Food Bank took place on December 8, 2018 at Thors Motors. 80 children on ukuleles helped to enliven the proceedings, and at the end of the day about $6,000 was raised. Santa Claus also put in an appearance, to the delight of many kids. Many thanks, as usual, to Bob Brown for hosting this event and sponsoring it.
Photo by courtesy of Orillia Matters.

$2650 raised for Loonie Lunch in Richer Than Wealth concert


The OVE Richer Than Wealth concert on May 26, 2018 raised more than $2,500 for the Loonie Lunch program of the St. James Anglican Church in Orillia. The concert featured pieces by Billy Joel, Coco Love Alcorn, and Mark Sirett, among others. Guest performers were the Orillia Shout Sisters, and drumming accompaniment was provided by Mark Sturrup and his family.

Yet another successful Coral Gold workshop held on April 28, 2018

About 75 choristers from eleven choirs or choral groups participated in a sensational day of learning at Lakehead University!

As with previous workshops, three clinicians led participants in different aspects of choral singing.

Dr. Mark Sirett, noted Canadian composer and conductor, explained his compositional process to promote greater meaning and understanding in performers!

Melissa Lalonde led singers in exploring traditional Zulu vocal music and discovering some of the ways in which African song is unified.

Dr. Robin Williams presented an intense session on the basics of singing according to the Italian School, commonly referred to as bel canto.

Feedback from the choristers present was very positive, and an enjoyable day was had by all.

Spring Sing Raises $4,000+ for Jubilee House


The OVE Spring Sing concert on March 25, 2018 raised $4,400 for children's mental health programs at Jubilee House. Guest performers Paul Brooks on guitar and Mike Milner on bass accompanied the OVE on some pieces and also played some of their own selections.

Once again, we thank our sponsors and audience for their generosity, some of whom made very large donations. You are all very much appreciated.

Over $6,000 raised for The Sharing Place in Thor Motors Concert


On December 9, 2017, the OVE helped to raise over $6,000 for The Sharing Place Food Bank at a concert of carols held in the showroom of Thor Motors in Orillia. About 40 members of the choir took part, and proceedings were enlivened by the participation of children playing ukuleles and a visit from Santa Claus.
Many thanks to Bob Brown of Thor Motors, our sponsors, the ukulele players and all those other people who turned up to support our efforts, and who gave generously.

OVE raises over $6,000 for Emergency Baby Needs Depot


The OVE's Christmas Voices concert on December 3, 2017 (with guests A Little Wind Music and the Children's Choir of the Orillia Music Centre) raised over $6,000 for the Emergency Baby Needs Depot which is located at the Orillia Early Years Centre. This amount is sufficient to supply the needs of the depot for a whole year. Many thanks to our sponsors and patrons for their splendid generosity!

Canada/Ontario/Orillia 150 celebrated by the OVE


The Orillia Vocal Ensemble, the “pay-it-forward” community choir, raised in excess of $6,000 in their two Canadian Choral Panorama concerts on June 3, 2017 in Gravenhurst, and June 4, 2017 in Orillia. The choir was joined by the Emperor String Quartet, the Orillia Music Centre's Children's Choir, Lance Anderson, Angie Nussey and Liz Anderson in these concerts. In addition, the Wahta Mohawk Drum Circle from Bala performed in Gravenhurst, and the Coldwater Ojibway Singers performed in Orillia.

Steve Orr nominated for Bill Swiminer Business Leader Award

Our major sponsor, Steve Orr of Dapper Depot, has been nominated for the Bill Swiminer Business Leader Award. Steve's generous support of the OVE covers our concerts costs, and as such, he is a very worthy contender. Read the Packet & Times article on our Media page.

Roy Menagh to receive OMA Community Service Award

Roy is the recipient for 2017 of the OMA Community Service Award, awarded annually by the Ontario Medical Association “to a non-physician who has made a significant contribution to the health and welfare of the people of a local community as defined by involvement in community health and public welfare”.

The presentation of the award, and more formal recognition of Roy, will occur at the end of November at the annual dinner of the Medical and Nursing Alumni of the hospital.

News of the award was announced at the end of the concert on February 26th.

"A Winter's Night With You" concert raises $7,500 for Hospice Orillia

The OVE's concert on February 26, 2017 raised $7,500 for Hospice Orillia. Angie Nussey, our guest artist, was accompanied by the choir in her three songs, and sang with the choir in it's performance of Gordon Lightfoot's "Song for a Winter's Night". At the end of the evening, Fred Larsen (standing in for OVE president Gareth Thomas) presented a cheque to Sandra Dunham and other directors of Hospice Orillia.
Once again, many thanks to all who attended the concert and made some very significant contributions.


OVE helps to raise $6,400 for The Sharing Place at the Family Christmas Celebration at Thor Motors


Many thanks to Bob Brown of Thor Motors, and the many people who turned up and donated money for The Sharing Place food bank on Saturday, December 17th, 2016. Over $6,000 was raised in the space of three hours, a record for the Thor Motors concert. The OVE performed many Christmas carols and songs, including The Hallelujah Chorus and White is in the Winter Night. A large donation was also received from Steve Orr of Dapper Depot, who continues to sponsor the OVE very generously.

'Orillia Performs' concert raises $2,300 for Lighthouse Shelter


The OVE took part in the Orillia Performs concert on November 2, 2016, together with the Orillia Concert Band, the Cellar Singers, the Orillia Jazz Brass, the Orillia Silver Brass Ensemble, the Jubilee Chorale, and the Mariposa Arts Theatre. Jonathon Moellman performed a piece on the violin, accompanied by his father, Jeffrey Moellman on the piano.

The OVE, as the final act, sang Dirait-on, Love Sonnet #18, and Gather at the River.

Finally, all the musicians and singers joined together in an encore, with a rousing rendition of Bridge Over Troubled Waters.

OVE members help Syrian children


OVE members volunteered as singers in a retreat for the Nai Syrian Children's Choir that was held on the weekend of September 10 and 11, 2016. More photos of this event can be found on our Photo Gallery page.

Final Spring Concert nets over $2,000 for Information Orillia.

The OVE's final concert of the season on May 28th, 2016 featured music by Brahms, Lauridsen, Billy Joel and more. Guest performers Richard Fallows and Michael Martyn contributed to the entertaining program. Emerging artist Jocelyn Losole-Stringer performed The Boy Next Door and received the annual OVE Roger Andrews Memorial Scholarship Award.

Over $2,000 was raised from donations over the evening, and a cheque for that amount was presented to Information Orillia at the end of a very warm evening.

Roy Menagh presented with Order of Orillia


Together with Jim Campbell and Ken Forbes, OVE music director Roy Menagh is a new recipient of the Order of Orillia.
"It's very surprising in a sense, but it is just a huge honour," said Menagh, whose musical talents, organizational abilities and unbridled enthusiasm have been an inspiration for many, according to Gross.

"To be in the company of others who have received the Order of Orillia is really quite an honour."

Menagh created the Orillia Vocal Ensemble and also serves as musical director of the Orillia Wind Ensemble and Mariposa Arts Theatre musical productions. As well, he has been the artistic director of many fundraising concerts, including last fall's Orillia Performs event that raised thousands of dollars for local Syrian refugee efforts.

Menagh said the honour pays tribute to the many people he has worked with over the years.

"I think this kind of a thing, in my position, is a shared honour because everything I've done has been in collaboration with hundreds of people," he said. "I've benefited from the skills and generous support of a lot of other people. It's a symbiotic relationship."

For the full Packet and Times article, see our Media/Press Cuttings page.

Roy was presented with the certificate of the Order at a council meeting on April 25th, 2016.



us on

Our Sponsors and Donors...





Thor Motors




Individual Donors:

Friends of the OVE:
Brian Adams

Kathleen Andrews
Douglas Christie 
Julie Parna & Clive Algie

Music Sponsors:
Brian Adams
Kathleen Andrews

Carol Benedetti
Nancy Harris
Mike and Jacqueline Heptinstall
Fred Larsen

Richard McDonald
Stephen Murch
Annalise Stenekes
Liz Stenson

Richard MacDonald
Martin Ward

2019 - 2020 Concert Sponsors:
Brian Adams
Julie Parna & Clive Algie