Orillia Vocal Ensemble

About Us

Mission Statement

Our mission is to provide a joyful and educational choral opportunity for anyone wishing to sing, and to benefit our community by donating the proceeds from all of our concerts to local non-profit organizations.

Music Director - Roy Menagh

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Roy has led community choirs and bands, musical theatre shows, and student groups and choirs during a 30+ year career as a music educator in Toronto, Northwest Territories, Prince Edward Island and Orillia. While in the Northwest Territories, Roy was the recipient of the Commissioner’s Award for Public Service for bringing music performance to northern communities and for developing community and school music programs in the north.

Since settling in Orillia with his family in 1990, Roy has contributed to many regional development initiatives including participation on several arts committees and boards.

As director of the Orillia Wind Ensemble (“OWE”) for over 17 years, Roy has prepared and produced concerts featuring professional performers including conductor and composer Howard Cable, conductor Gino Falconi, conductor and composer Louie Madrid Calleja, clarinetist Peter Stoll, trumpeter Stuart Laughton, euphonium player Curtis Metcalf, accordionist Joseph Marcello, French horn player Joan Watson, trombonist Alistair Kay and jazz and blues musician Lance Anderson. A very significant project in the spring of 2014 was the OWE presentation of the Rachmaninoff Piano Concert # 2 with Jacqueline Dancyger Arnold as piano soloist.
Roy's many contributions to cultural life in Orillia include twelve years as musical director of “Joint Effort”, an annual fund raiser for Soldier’s Memorial Hospital, and several other benefit concerts. There have been successful OWE collaborations with the King Edward and Lyrica Choirs from Barrie, the Highland Men's Chorus from Haliburton and the Jubilee Chorale and Cellar Singers from Orillia.

In March, 2016, Roy's efforts were recognized by the City of Orillia when it was announced that he would be a recipient of the Order of Orillia.

In 2010 Roy founded the Orillia Vocal Ensemble which is now a successful recreational community Chorus with a core Chamber Choir. The OVE has an intriguing and effective “Pay-It-Forward” operational model with the wonderful focus of raising money for charities in the area instead of selling concert tickets while at the same time maintaining high performance standards in a recreational context. The OVE has grown steadily to its present size of more than 80 singers and has proudly raised more than $80,000 in donations to charities since its first concert in 2011.

“Roy makes singing fun…”

Accompanist - Mary-Jo Wilson, B. Mus., B.Ed., A.R.C.T.

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Mary-Jo has enjoyed accompanying the Orillia Vocal Ensemble since 2011. She is known for her imaginative vocal warm-ups and likes to amuse the choir with tricky tongue twisters. Red leather, yellow leather! Unique New York! The lips, the teeth, the tip of the tongue!

Mary-Jo is organist and choir director for St. Mark’s Presbyterian Church, the friendliest church in Orillia. A piano teacher in Orillia since 1995, Mary-Jo has also served as Conductor of the Couchiching Young Singers, Music Director for the Anglican Parish of Orillia South, and conductor of the Orillia Christian Home Educators choirs. Her advanced musical training came from McGill University, University of Toronto, and the Royal Conservatory of Music. Some of the ensembles she has sung with include the National Youth Choir, the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, the Cellar Singers, and the chamber choir Reconaissance.

Mary-Jo shares her Orillia home with husband Ian Wilson, an author, and their home-schooled sons Spencer and Duncan. As a family, they enjoy reading out loud, making music together, playing cribbage, and hiking in the woods, where they are always on the lookout for owls and pileated woodpeckers.

History

The Orillia Vocal Ensemble (OVE) was formed originally by our Musical Director, Roy Menagh, to be a choir to accompany the Orillia Wind Ensemble (OWE) at their Christmas concert in 2010. Following that concert there were 40 odd singers who definitely wanted to continue, so we did, under the umbrella of the OWE. After the first year we began to establish ourselves as a separate entity and developed our mission of fundraising for local non-profit organizations through our performances. In our second year we became the Orillia Vocal Ensemble and now, in year seven, have charitable status, a solid membership of 70 plus singers including the new Chamber Choir and have raised and donated over $80,000 to local non-profit organizations!

Board of Directors

Gareth Thomas
Chair

Fred Larsen
Vice Chair

Theresa Varey
Treasurer

Don Van Wyck
Officer, Education and Grants

Rita Whiston
Officer, Scholarship Committee

Clive Algie
Officer, Properties Committee

Julie Grigg-Mori
Officer and Music Librarian

David Mallinson
Officer and Web Master