WHITEOAKS CHORAL SOCIETY

of Sheridan College (now known as Oakville Choral Society)
Background of the Choir: A Personal History written by Doug Bevan:

We began over fifty years ago (1960) as the “OAKVILLE CHORAL SOCIETY”, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. Rehearsal: Like a floating crap game: moved from church basements to other basements to a degree we almost felt like an underground organization - the waves likewise caused by people finding out ultimately from whence the noise came.

Over the years, we found hope that by changing our name, people would forget our past misdemeanors - we also found we attracted refugees from the smog of Hamilton and the concrete of Toronto. {November 1969 was the first concert as Whiteoaks Choral Society.}

Wearing out some five directors in the process, in 1969 we became part of SHERIDAN COLLEGE as we understood it would assist the preservation of our species. Gifford Mitchell became our Director and he was teaching at Sheridan College - he had come from McGill University in Montreal to head the Music Department at Sheridan. Our misguided Director endured us for nine years whilst others had given up sooner.

In membership, we have been as few as a dozen to share the blame - last year (1979) eighty-five were in the choir - so each had less blame to carry.

Our facilities in 1980 included rehearsals at Sheridan College whilst the proof of our infamy was given at concerts in the OAKVILLE CIVIC AUDITORIUM. We achieved a degree of respectability such that the cost of the annual dues was tax deductible. At that point we knew we had ‘arrived.’

Years ago when we thought we could make good sounds - others disagreed (complete with rotten fruit). Apparently to our excitement, we were now accepted by the community; not merely asked to move on, and a pride in the choir manifested itself each year amongst the faithful (they being the tone deaf ones who couldn’t read music and never heard their own voices above the howling of their choir neighbours).

We look back and we individually and jointly heave progressed in the many years of our history.

(Written tongue in cheek by Doug Bevans, ancient historian and President of WCS)

(The following is written foot in mouth by same)

Bev Stainton

Bev Stainton arrived as our Musical Director and Conductor in September 1979. Bev was a teacher of behaviourally, emotionally, socially, and mentally handicapped adolescents at the secondary school level in the Bourough of Etobicoke. He was assistant head of academics at the school and holds his B.A. and Master of Education degrees (which he finished last year taking the course on the same night as choir rehearsals).

Musically, Bev attained the following background:

* Public and high school training in both vocal and instrumental music

* Assistant conductor in the last three years of school

* Studied clarinet, saxophone, oboe, bassoon and string bass in school

* Piano and organ student from too early an age.

* Played the fist wedding at 12 years old - you had to be there!

* Member of chorus and soloist with the Orpheus Choir of Toronto under John Sidgwick

* Member of choir and assistant to John Sidgwick at St. Clement’s Anglican Church and Trinity College Chapel

* Conductor and Musical Director of the Etobicoke choral Guild for nine years

* Member-at-large, former Vice President and current President of CAMMAC (Canadian Amatuer Musicians – Musiciannes Amateur due Canada), Southern Ontario Region.

* Conductor and Clinician for CAMMAC

* Member of the Canadian Music Adjudicator’s Association

* Studied orchestral conducting at the Canford School of Music, England

* Director of Whiteoaks Choral Society since September 1979

* Married to Victoria Anne and has two sons - Matthew Christopher Robin (almost 9) and Phillip Andrew James (just turned 7)

Marie Harris

Our accompanist in 1980 was Mrs. Marie Harris. This was Marie’s first year with the choir, although she appeared with us in our Spring Concert of 1979 for the performance of Brahm’s Liebeslieder Waltzes.

Marie lived in Oakville since 1970. As well as accompanying our choir, Marie taught piano at Appleby College, Oakville and also privately at home.

We most heartily welcomed Marie to our choir family.

(Written very shyly by the shy pianist under duress)


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