Concordia Choir Ottawa




Our Activities from May to the End of November but including planned events for 2018

Since our last report we were busy with several performances in decidedly different venues.

On May 24 we sang for Seniors at the Redwoods Retirement Residence, and the spry audience participated enthusiastically, grooving along during the sing-a-long.

On May 26 our Spring Concert took place at St. Thomas the Apostle Church with the Quodlibet Choir and the Montagna Singers adding a variety of multicultural songs, and the Ottawa Guitar Society Orchestra providing a beautiful instrumental interlude.

On June 3 we participated in the last service held at the original Martin Luther Church. It was bittersweet to leave a location where the congregation had worshipped for over 50 years; and all in the name of progress: the construction of a 45 storey condo building – tallest in Ottawa at 143 m – directly adjacent to MLK necessitated the sale of the building. Luckily another Lutheran congregation had offered earlier to amalgamate with the Martin Luther Church, so at least they were able to relocate without great difficulties although it certainly is challenging for the members of the congregation to give up their familiar surroundings and get used to a different building in a different area of the city.

On June 19th we sang the Canadian and American anthem at the Ottawa Champions Baseball game, a very different experience to sing outside at an event a bit out of our comfort zone but apparently our rendition of the anthems was well received as we were asked to return next year.

June 24 we participated in a special mass held in honour of one of our singers who turned 90, was one of the original founders of the Concordia Male Choir 6o years ago and still graces us with his solid tenor voice; congratulations Peter Paul Kraft, may the choir benefit from your strong voice for years to come.

August 25 we had a great picnic at the beautiful cottage of one of our singers who graciously invites us every year. Sunshine, great food and drinks, lively songs and lots of laughter reverberating around the lake made this a fabulous event as always, thank you, Valerie.

September 16 was a double-duty day for us: in the morning we participated in the celebration of the 50th anniversary of St. Albertus Parish. Several of our singers belong to this congregation and the festive celebration was presided by the Archbishop of Ottawa and the Auxiliary Bishop as well as the parish priest. In the evening we participated for the 3rd time in the German Night at the Races, usually a sold out event at the Rideau Carleton Raceway and always lots of fun. The German and Canadian anthem as well as a potpourri of Volkslieder sounded so great supported by Keith on the tuba and Zach on the saxophone.

September 22 we travelled to Brockville to participate in a fund-raiser concert together with the choir led every Sunday by our Music Directors. Unfortunately attendance was very low, the event taking place on the heels of the tornadoes having struck the area the previous day.

On October 13 we were celebrating Oktoberfest at the Pub Italia – talk about multiculturalism: German singers celebrating a Bavarian event at a pub owned by an Italian!

October 20 we performed for Seniors at Orchardview Living Centre.

November 10 we were hosting our Fall Dinner Dance and we were nearly sold out. This makes us very happ, because his event and the Spring Concert are our only fund-raising events which, based on our past experience, will keep the operation of the choir on the positive side of the balance sheet.

November 25 we sang during the mass for Ewigkeitssonntag, honouring the deceased and especially remembering departed choir members.

December 9 we will perform during the Adventsinging at the new Martin Luther Church, relocated since January of this year as previously mentioned.

December 16 our Christmas concert will take place together with the Quodlibet Choir and the Montagna Singers adding their voices as well as a Bell Choir. Free will offerings given at our Christmas concerts will always be in support of local charities.

Currently we have 21 female voices and 11 male voices registered as paid members, a couple of new voices joined us and some left due to health reasons. Attendance at rehearsals and performances fluctuates but we are still having fun and enjoy the friendships, camaraderie and the challenges that our conductor duo continues to present us with.


Sigrid Vila , President 



It seems so long ago since I last reported on our activities, and yet the seven months since then have gone by so incredibly fast. We have been very busy with many performances.

On October 18 we sang for Seniors at the Orchardview Living Centre in celebration of Oktoberfest. Even though officially the Oktoberfest was over we were not dissuaded to celebrate anyway. The seniors were very lively and sang and schunkelt heartily with us.

On October 29 some of our choristers performed with a mass choir to celebrate Reformation 500 at Christ Church cathedral. This commemoration of the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s Reformation was an amazing experience.

On November 26 we sang during Ewigkeitssonntag at the Martin Luther Church; this service is dedicated to the memory of those who have passed away. We also specifically honour our deceased choir members by setting up tablets with their names in front of the altar. And unfortunately, every year we have to add names.

December 3 Advent-Singing at Martin Luther Church. This is always a fun afternoon with Kaffee, Kuchen und Weihnachtsplätzchen. Wir hatten Glück und es gab sogar Glühwein. Members of the congregation enjoy the sing-a-long in the informal atmosphere of the Gemeinderaum downstairs, and it is a great opportunity to socialize with old friends, make new ones and hear from audience members how much they enjoy the choir’s performances during the year

December 7 Singing for Seniors Court at Barrhaven. One of our former conductors (for both the former Male and Female Choir) Roy Morris resides there. The residents enjoyed our performance and especially liked singing some traditional carols with us during the sing-a-long after our performance.

December 17 Our annual Christmas Concert at St. Albertus Church with the Montagna Singers, the Quodlibet Choir, a group of instrumentalists and a trumpet soloist was very well attended; we actually had to add extra chairs, and due to the generosity of the audience we were able to divide well over $ 1,000.00 between the Food Bank and the Snow Suit Fund. We do not charge admission but ask for goodwill offerings.

We greeted the New Year with a church service at the Martin Luther Church on January 1, 2018. However, the Martin Luther Church had finalized a merger with the Mount Calvary Church and relocated to their building. The the “old” building is now for sale and the huge condo tower being built right beside the church has made it extremely difficult for members to find parking. We decided to cut our losses and were lucky to find accommodation at St. Albertus.

Our Annual General Meeting was held on January 9 in the new location which is working out very well for us. There were no big surprises in the election of Board members. As previously stated, I think these positions are life-sentences!
                       President:                     Sigi Vila
                       Vice President:             Birgitta White
                       Secretary:                     Horst Dannehl
                       Assistant Secretary:     Helga Shipman (new)
                       Treasurer:                     Karin Pitts
                       Assistant Treasurer:      Elke Taudien
                       Librarian:                      Elke Taudien
                       Assistant Librarian:      Lisa Dyck
                       Director:                      Monika Fitzpatrick (new)
                       Director:                      Pat Peres

On April 8 we sang for the first time in the new location of the Martin Luther Church and were happy to see that the audience was larger than we were used to due to the merger of the two congregations. We received quite a few compliments about our singing and are looking forward to participate in more services there during the year.

Upcoming events are:

April 21 we are attending the DKSB meeting in St. Catharines.

May 24 Singing for Senior at the Redwoods Retirement ResidenceMay

26 Annual Spring Concert with the Montagna Singers, the Quodlibet Choir and the OGS Guitar Orchestra. We are also celebrating what would have been the 60th anniversary of the now defunct Male Choir. The men who are now part of our choir for mixed voices will sing 3 songs by themselves. We have invited former singers to join them and are curious as to how many will answer the call to take a trip down memory lane.

June 2 we will sing during the final memorial church service at the old Martin Luther church. Although church services have taken place in the new location since the beginning of the year, a final service is planned to give everybody a chance to properly say goodbye to a building that was home for many for over 50 years.

June 19 we will sing the Canadian and American anthem at the opening of the Ottawa Champions Baseball game

June 24 we will celebrate the 90th birthday of one of the founding members of the now extinct Concordia Male Choir who is still singing with us today. We will sing during the mass at St. Albertus and live it up at a party for him afterward.
In July and August we will break for a well-deserved rest.

The fall season will begin with us singing in the morning of September 16 during a mass in St. Albertus church to celebrate their 50th anniversary, and in the evening we will sing during the German Night at the Races at the Rideau Carleton Raceway.

Sometime in September we will celebrate Oktoberfest in the Pub Italia where we have our Stammtisch with beer and songs after rehearsals on Tuesdays.
September 29 A concert with Keith’s choir in Brockville is in the planning stages

October 20 Singing for Senior Orchard View Living Centre

November 10 Dinner Dance Maple Leaf Almrausch Club. We are reviving this event after having paused for a year and hope that the interest and attendance are as good as we are led to believe from those who were disappointed last year.

November 25 Ewigkeitssonntag

December 9 Adventsinging in the Martin Luther Church

December 16 Christmas Concert St. Albertus Church
The choir continues to thrive under the expert guidance of Melanie and Dr. Keith Hartshorn-Walton who are not afraid to make us step out of the box and challenge us to new songs, new arrangements and new venues. They spend much extra time to record the songs we are about to practise so we can rehearse at home and be better prepared at rehearsals. They find new music and musicians to participate in our concerts, they are always encouraging and making rehearsals enjoyable with their wicked sense of humour, and we all are having fun despite the odd grumbling from the peanut gallery. You just cannot please all the people at all times.

We are happy to have welcomed 3 new choir members since the fall.
The life of the choristers has been eventful: some of our members sold their houses and moved into condominiums or retirement residences, some struggle with their spouses’ illnesses, some had to mourn the passing of loved ones, and yet faithfully they are there on Tuesday evening for rehearsal. You would be hard-pressed to find a more dedicated group of people. Thank you all for working so hard to make us sound so good. A lot of effort goes into the rehearsals and learning the new songs, I very much appreciate your dedication and effort.
Lied hoch, und allen einen schönen Frühling und Sommer. Continue singing and have a great spring and summer.

Sigrid Vila
President, Concordia Choir Ottawa



Reporting our activities during Summer and Fall 2017

We have had a busy spring, summer and fall. Our dynamic conductors Mélanie and Keith are an incredible tag team with lots of energy and enthusiasm. How they manage everything with 2 small children and many performances not related to this choir is anybody’s guess. Keith is quite in demand as a tuba player par excellence and showcases his talents with several bands throughout the city. Mélanie has performed also, they are recording a cd and yet they have not missed one of our rehearsals or performances.
We have learned new songs, new arrangements and have been invited to perform in new venues.

On May 13 we hosted our third annual spring concert entitled The Power of Song with the Quodlibet Choir, French Jazz combo Mélanie E., Jazz Guitarist Alex Tompkins and the D.A. Moodie Shrek Jr. cast. Quite a diverse performance enjoyed by many but if truth be known also critiqued by some. Change is never universally accepted yet we do not want to be stagnant and always perform in the same manner. Where is the challenge in that?

On June 17 we sang for seniors at the Osgoode Care Centre where a long-time member of the former Male Choir resides and was celebrating a birthday. The seniors enjoyed being entertained by us and really got into the sing-a-long. It was great to see them have such fun.

On July 15 we sang the Canadian anthem at the Ottawa Champions Baseball game. It was a beautiful sunny day, and the open-air stadium provided an interesting venue. The layout of the stadium seemed to increase the volume of our voices; we were told that we sounded like a much bigger choir and were thrilled to be invited to watch the game.

On August 12 many of us with our significant others enjoyed a lovely day at the beautiful cottage of one of our choristers. This has been a tradition for many years, and we have loved going there spending the day eating, drinking, singing, swimming, and having fun – and not necessarily in that order
Thank you, Valerie, for graciously inviting us every year to your beautiful serene retreat.

On September 17 we were invited for the third time to sing during German Night at the Races at the Rideau-Carleton Raceway. We sang the German and Canadian anthem and a potpourri of well-known German folk songs. Although the weather was abysmal pretty much all summer, that day the weather god had mercy on us and let the sun shine, we were not looking forward to be singing in the rain! Our members appreciated the buffet (free for them) and the opportunity to see the races from excellent seats. Some even got into a bit of gambling – a few free tickets seemed enticing - but nobody won really big, maybe next year!

Report from Fall 2016 to Spring 2017

Before we celebrate the long awaited spring, let us look back at what we have accomplished since our last report in the fall 2016. Our choir consists of 29 singers, 19 female and 10 male voices, with the oldest being 89 and the youngest 66; 11 singers are in their 80’s, 16 in their 70’s and 2 are the young ones in their 60’s which brings us to an average age of 77.6. Can you believe what this energetic group of wonderful people has achieved in the last 6 months? Read on and find out. We have been very lucky to have found our tag team of Mélanie and Dr. Keith Hartshorn-Walton who have conducted and accompanied us for about 1 ½ years. With their infectious enthusiasm, contagious good humour and impeccable musical talents they have challenged us, improved our techniques, increased our repertoire and brought the fun back to rehearsals and performances.

This is our review of events::
We sang on November 20th at the Ewigkeits-Sonntag in the Martin Luther Church to honour those who have passed away. Our choir has participated in this emotional church service for many years. On December 4 we participated in the Advent-Singing at the Martin Luther Church which was well attended by parishioners and their families who happily joined in the sing-a-long following our performance while enjoying Glühwein, Kaffee and cookies. December 10th saw us hosting our traditional Christmas Dinner Dance at the Maple Leaf Almrausch Club. We had an almost sold out house; the delicious dinner was catered by Chef Franz Hoefler and ably served by his experienced crew of waiters; the tombola netted us a small profit, and the Edelweiss Duo got many of us onto the dance floor with their humorous remarks and catchy music.

The following day, December 11, we hosted our annual Christmas Concert at St. Albertus Church with the Montagna Singers, a Swiss choir, Quodlibet, another German choir, and Akord, the Ukrainian Male Choir whose strong voices blow us away every year. The exceptionally beautiful and fairly mild day encouraged many to attend and the church was filled to capacity. After individual performances the choirs gathered together to perform the final song The First Noel accompanied by an instrumental group (violin, viola, cello and flute). We had barely sung the last note when the audience gave us a standing ovation with an enthusiastic outburst of applause. What a wonderful experience for the singers to be awarded with such an appreciative show of support.

On January 1 we rang in the New Year at the Martin Luther Church. On January 8 we had the sad privilege to sing at the visitation for Fr. Ernst Schoenhammer, O.M.I. Father Schoenhammer was appointed as associate pastor at the St. Albertus church in 1966 and became pastor in 1977, and his sudden unexpected death at the age of 78 left a huge void in the parish. He had always supported our choir whole-heartedly, and we were honoured to have sung in the St. Albertus Church on many occasions. His quirky humour, his tireless dedication and his distinctive Fürther dialect are deeply missed. Our choir, together with the Quodlibet Choir, also sang during the funeral mass on January 9 in the St. Patrick’s Basilica, a very moving, touching yet comforting ceremony.

On January 10, 2017 we held our General Annual Meeting when the old Executive was again voted in as the new Executive with very minor changes. The current Executive roster is shown under "our Executive" on this website.

On March 23 we sang at the Redwoods Retirement Residence, one of our best and most fun experiences singing for Seniors. We were welcomed very warmly, and the lively audience thoroughly enjoyed our program and the subsequent sing-a-long.

The family of long-time choir member Gisela Koehl asked us to sing at her funeral on April 1, and we were pleased to be able to honour their request.

On April 29 we hosted the DKSB meeting at the Maple Leaf Almrausch Club. The meeting was well attended considering that many delegates had to travel quite a distance. A number of delegates enjoyed the Bayernabend with a delicious dinner, performances by our very own Schuhplattlers, and the lively funky music by the Golden Keys from Kitchener enticed many of the over 150 guests onto the dance floor.

On April 30 we sang during a church service at the Martin Luther Church with a disappointingly small number of members of the congregation present.

On May 13, 2017 we hosted The Power of Song, our Spring Concert with the Quodlibet Choir, French Jazz combo Mélanie E., Jazz Guitarist Alex Tompkins and the D.A. Moodie Shrek Jr. cast who presented pieces from the musical Shrek Jr. The concert was not as well attended as in previous years but those present enjoyed the program which varied considerably from the traditional choral singing as in addition to the kids from the D.A. Moodie school we also included a performance by the French Jazz combo Mélanie E., consisting of our Mélanie and Keith who joined their two diverse musical universes (voice and tuba) to create a jazz-flavoured twist on popular French songs. They were joined by Alex Tompkins on the guitar. After the concert the audience, choir members and musical guests enjoyed socializing during the reception; refreshments were devoured in no time, and a good time was had by all.

For events following for the remainder of the year, please refer to the program schedule on this website. For your conveniance it also lists the address and start times of the respective events. The program will be updated as soon as changes occur.

As you can see we strongly believe wer rastet, der rostet (s/he who rests will rust) and continue to perform at many different events. Our enthusiastic group of singers has lots of stamina and defies the perception that aging means being frail and grumpy, sitting in the rocking chair on a porch. We rather live by Mark Twain’s saying that Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter. Have a wonderful summer everybody.

Sigrid Vila, President



Report from Spring 2016 to Fall 2016

We had a busy time since our latest news. After singing at an Easter service, we prepared for our Spring Concert in June. In addition to our choir and the Quodlibet Choir we enjoyed the participation of the Sussex Brass Quintet, Cedarview Middle School Brass Ensemble, Cedarview Middle School Woodwind Trio and the Cedarview Middle School Choir. The church was filled almost to capacity, and the great audience enthusiastically encouraged all participants with applause. Many joined in when we l performed Tulpen aus Amsterdam as the finale. The reception following the concert was very well attended, and we received many compliments on the lively renditions of the presented pieces.

The end of June we sang during a mass for our departed choir members, an annual event that honours those who are no longer with us. We enjoyed a 2 months summer break, and many of us travelled, spent time at cottages or just chilled at home during this glorious summer with endless sunshine.

Our choir member Valerie invited choir members and partners to her cottage in August as she has done for many years. Thanks to her hospitality we enjoyed a wonderful afternoon with much singing, eating, drinking and camaraderie. Despite the rainy weather which unfortunately forced us to party inside some of us hearty souls did go swimming – all two of us!

We resumed rehearsals at the end of August for our next public appearance during German Night at the Races at the Rideau Carleton Raceway. Standing in the Winner’s Circle and singing outside is a very different experience than our customary performances inside. The performance is seen and heard on big TV screens in the dining room which was completely sold out. This is a memorable event much enjoyed by the singers.

The beginning of October quite a few of us wearing traditional Bavarian outfits celebrated Oktoberfest in the Pub Italia where many of the choristers enjoy a libation or two after our hard work at weekly rehearsals. Our lively singing, accompanied by some fine accordion playing shared by two of our choir members, was much appreciated by the patrons and attracted a few passers-by who either stopped on the side-walk to listen or came in to find out what we are all about.

Concert at Orchard View Living Centre

We also sang at the Orchardview Living Centre for a lively audience of seniors who enjoyed our singing and participated enthusiastically in a sing-a-long.


We have lost several choir members due to various reasons such as ill health and advanced age and have not been successful in attracting new members. Especially the male section is struggling a bit with 8 voices who are not always present at rehearsals but we carry on as long as we all enjoy it. Having Mélanie and Keith Hartshorn-Walton as conductor/accompanist duo has certainly livened up our rehearsals and performances, and we are happy to learn new techniques and new songs.

We grieve the loss of Gerd Taudien who passed away October 15th. He was instrumental in creating the Concordia Male Choir in 1958, and many of us remember him and his vast contributions to the music scene fondly. Our deepest sympathy to his family.



On June 11, 2016 the Concordia Choir hosted a Spring Concert in the St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Ottawa.

 We were happy to welcome a variety of performers who delighted us with an interesting mix of music. The following are the performing choirs

Cedarview Middle School Woodwind Trio, directed by Mélanie Hartshorn-Walton, played In the Halls of the Mountain King by Grieg and Für Elise by Beethoven.

Cedarview Middle School Brass Ensemble, directed by Mélanie Hartshorn-Walton, presented Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, Schubert’s Sanctus and Amazing Grace.

 Concordia Choir, directed by Mélanie Hartshorn-Walton and accompanied on the piano by Keith Hartshorn-Walton, began as we do at all rehearsals and performances with Grüß Gott, followed by All Things Bright and Beautiful by C. F. Alexander and R. Shephard, Abschied vom Walde by F. Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, the folk song Du, du liegst mir im Herzen, They all call it Canada by Freddy Grant and Melodien zum Verlieben, a potpourri of evergreens all related to spring time. Please click on the arrow button to play the song "They All Call It Canada". Use the adjustments available in the bottom right hand corner of the movie to adjust playback quality and picture size.

Sussex Brass Quintet, under the leadership of Keith Hartshorn-Walton, performed the Contrapunctus by Bach, Four Hits for Five, By George! by Gershwin and Die Bankersängerlieder arr. By Robert King.

Cedarview Middle School Choir, directed by Mélanie Hartshorn-Walton, sang One World, Jalapeno Borthers by Kirby Shaw and Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon and Garfunkel.

 The Quodlibet Choir, directed by Simone Oberacher and Martin Damus, took us on a journey through several countries/areas beginning in England with Sumer is Icumen In, continuing to Catalonia with Dindirndin, Os Olhos de Marianita from Portugal, Vem kan segla forutan vind from Sweden, Come with me by Yolan Trabsky, Wenn du durchgehst durchs Tal from Carinthia in Austria and ending with the extremely fast lac-ac from Rumania.

Thank you to all the performers who participated so energetically, enthusiastically and joyfully.

 We are grateful that so many of you enjoyed the afternoon and thank all our friends who filled the church and encouraged the participants with strong applause. Not everything we rehearse gets to see the light of day, some efforts are not rewarded by airing them publicly, but it means much to us that you appreciate our performances and continue to support us by your presence and your financial contributions and donations – many thanks, vielen Dank and merci beaucop.

 The reception after the concert was very well attended and gave audience and performers a chance to meet, reconnect, make new friends and enjoy coffee, cake, cookies and other delightful goodies.

Have a wonderful summer everybody and keep checking our web site for updates.


Friedemann Stihler performed a "Rockin' Organ" Concert at Martin Luther Church


Friedemnn und Gemahlin


Friedemann Stihler from Mannheim, Germany, is currently on tour through the USA. With a ten-hour detour he came from Detroit to Ottawa on May 11 to perform his concert "Rockin' Organ" in the Martin Luther Church. The combination of classical pieces and rock songs was surprising but very much appreciated by the audience. Transitions from Bach's "Air" to the "Rose in Spanish Harlem" or from Haendel's "Largo" to Billy Joel's "Honesty" and "Hard to say I'm sorry" by Chicago were completely unexpected but made us realize just how beautiful a mixture of various musical genres can sound. Imagine Rock 'n Roll on the organ? Well, Friedemann pulled it off with aplomb.

Friedemann accepting donation from Pastor DehmkeThe Concordia Choir and the Quod Libet Choir performed a couple of songs each, and the Concordia Choir's Music Director Melanie Hartshorn-Walton sang a beautiful solo, accompanied on the piano by her husband Keith. 

Friedemann Stihler plays concerts all over the world to support school building projects in Tanzania, Africa. The support comes in collaboration with the organisation Brückenschlag which translates to building bridges and works with the Federal Ministry of economic cooperation and development to ensure that concert donations get directly to the charity.The money donated through his concerts so far amounts to over $ 25,000.00

We are happy to report that the donations yesterday amounted to $ 628.00 which made Friedemann very happy.

Thank you all for your attendance and your enthusiastic support.


Report from Fall 2015 to Spring 2016


Although every year we promise ourselves to slow down during the busy holiday season but somehow that never happens. Since we last reported in the fall, 6 public appearances kept us busy until the end of the year.

We enjoyed presenting a medley of Oktoberfest songs at a Senior’s Residence in October; on November 1st we sang at a church service commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Martin Luther Church; on November 13th we sang for Seniors at a residence, November 22nd we participated in the Ewigkeits-Sonntag church service, on November 28th we hosted our completely sold out Christmas Dinner Dance at the Maple Leaf Almrausch Club with the Edelweiss Trio providing the thoroughly enjoyable dance music, and on December 13th we held our annual Christmas Concert at the St. Albertus Church with the Swiss Montagna Singers, the Quodlibet Choir and Akord-the Ukrainian Male choir. The nice weather enticed many people to venture out, and St. Albertus Church was filled to capacity. The mass choir of over 90 voices performed a rousing rendition of Carol of the Bells, and the appreciative audience gave us a standing ovation. We were extremely pleased that we raised over $ 1,000.00 – we do not charge admittance fees but ask for donations – which was split between the Food Bank and the Snow Suit Fund.

Our last performance of the year was on December 15th when we sang in a Senior Residence where one of our former conductor lives and very enthusiastically conducted a song – Roy Morris has not lost his touch!

We began the New Year by singing at the New Years’ Service on January 1 at the Martin Luther Church at the civil hour of 3:00 p.m. followed by a reception in the community hall downstairs.

Our Annual General Meeting was held on January 12th, and most people on the Board were re-elected, not much of a surprise there as I think these positions come with a life-sentence. However, we were able to recruit a few new faces, and I Iook forward to work with the dedicated members of the Board to make this another enjoyable year. None of our accomplishments would have been possible without the hard work and enthusiasm of the Board members, and I want to take this opportunity to thank them all very much for their loyalty, hard work and unfailing support. You all make my job so much easier, thank you.

On April 3 we sang during the Palm Sunday service at the Martin-Luther Church under the direction of our new choir director. We had been discussing a possible change in musical leadership for a few months and as good luck would have it, all the stars aligned and the universe generously sent Melanie and Keith Hartshorn-Walton our way. Loreley’s loss is certainly our gain! Both Mélanie’s and Keith’s infectious enthusiasm energizes the choir, we look forward to rehearsals which are fun but also give us renewed opportunity to brush up on old techniques, learn new ones and look at music through a different lens. We thank Heather Rice for her dedication and hard work during the 10 years she conducted us and wish her well in her future endeavours.
Please note that our program for this year has been expanded and we will add events during the year as the need arises. Please refer to the up-to-date version of our program on this website.

Our membership holds pretty steady around 30 members, we lost a couple but gained 3, all our snowbirds are back after their long 3-4 months jealousy-inducing absence, and we are rehearsing a variety of many songs, concentrating now on the selection for the concert in June – come and visit us if you are in the neighbourhood, it should be a great afternoon with a variety of choirs and instrumentalists.

Have a wonderful spring and summer, enjoy your singing and cameraderie and remember:

He who sings frightens away his ills (Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote)

Sigrid Vila, President 



Our Choir during the Year 2015 up to the End of Summer

The Concordia Choir greeted the New Year by participating in the church service at the Martin Luther Church on January 1st. On January 6th we held a New Year’s party in the community hall of the Martin Luther Church with spouses/significant others and friends – a good time was had by all with lots of good food, great company and a fun sing-along. On January 8 we honoured one of our departed choir members, Elisabeth Nastyn, by singing at her funeral.


The Annual General Meeting took place on January 13 when the President and the Board of Directors was re-elected for another year. These positions seem to turn into life-time jobs pretty quickly as people are not exactly lining up for them!


On April 12 we sang at a church service in the Martin Luther Kirche. On April 28 we sang at a Senior Residence to help one of our former choir members celebrate her 85th birthday, and on May 9th we had the sad privilege to sing for the last time for the German Benevolent Society – Deutscher Hilfsverein who unfortunately had to close their doors after 60 years of service to the German community. The Hilfsverein has supported the Choir financially for several years, and we have been extremely grateful for their generosity.



On June 7 we hosted a Spring Concert at St. Thomas the Apostle Church together with the Quodlibet Choir and the Manotick Brass Ensemble. The event was well attended, guests enjoyed the songs of the two choirs and the lively and often funny performance by the Manotick Brass, and many participated in the reception after the concert – a chance to meet friends, get to know new people, exchange ideas and enjoy the abundance of food, coffee, cakes and cookies.



June 21 saw us sing during a mass at St. Albertus Church in honour of departed choir members, and on June 28th we sang at a Seniors’ home to celebrate the 70th birthday of a former choir member who recently had to move into the home due to ill health. The surprise for him was a huge success, and his tears of joy when seeing and hearing us were very touching. On August 8th we helped another choir member celebrate his 80th birthday, and on August 15 we had fun at the cottage of one of our choir members who invites us to her place annually to coincide with her brother’s visit from Australia. Some of us enjoyed swimminbg, others just sat and chatted, ate, drank and were merry, No choir event is complete without singing, and our resident accordionist Hans Foerstel ably accompanied our imprompty songs.





We managed to surprise our oldest choir member, Leni Bolte, with a lunch on August 25th to celebrate her 93 birthday. We should all be so lucky to be in such great shape, good humour and livelyspirit at that age. Our hat off to you, Leni – mach weiter so.



We are starting rehearsals on September 8 as we have quite a few events scheduled for the remainder of the year. Please reserve November 28th at 6:00 pm for our Dinner Dance at the Maple Leaf Almrausch Club and December 13 at 2:00 pm for our Christmas Concert at the St. Albertus Church. Be sure to check for news on our web site





Das Sängerblatt Spring 2015

Frühling lässt sein blaues Band wieder flattern durch die Lüfte; Süße, wohlbekannte Düfte streifen ahnungsvoll das Land. Veilchen träumen schon, wollen balde kommen. Horch, von fern ein leiser Harfenton! Frühling, ja du bist's! Dich hab' ich vernommen! Eduard Mörike

Wir geben die Hoffnung nicht auf, dass sich der Frühling endlich einstellt, wenn auch zur Zeit meiner Reportage noch Schnee im Garten liegt, die Winde draussen eisig toben und uns nochmal 10 cm Schnee angedroht wurden! I wrote almost the same paragraph for the last Spring edition, so come on Spring, take a hint!
We have been very busy since the Fall/Winter issue:
Our Christmas Dinner Dance on November 15th was a big success despite a last minute date change that contributed a few more grey hairs to the President’s head but after many anxiety-inducing moments everything fell into place and went off beautifully. The dinner was efficiently catered by Franz Hoefler and his able crew, the Edelweiss Trio was in fine form and got the dancers among us moving, the tombola contributed to making the evening modestly profitable, and a good time was had by all.

We had 4 performances in December, starting with an Adventsinging in the Martin-Luther Church, helping the German Benevolent Society (Hilfsverein) celebrate during their Christmas party with our lively songs and hosting our traditional annual Christmas Concert on December 14th with the Montagna Singers, the Akord Ukrainian Male Choir and Quodlibet, a fairly new German choir in Ottawa. Since we do not charge for admission to the concert, the voluntary goodwill offerings go to charitable organizations, and we were very happy to be able to give app. $ 600.00 each to the Snow Suit Fund and the Food Bank. We also sang at a Senior Residence where the former conductor for both the former Male and Female Choir resides, and he was delighted to be able to conduct the Mixed Choir during a couple of songs.We started 2015 by singing on January 1st during the New Year mass at the Martin-Luther Church. On January 6th we held our New Year’s Party for choir members, significant others and friends. A couple of years ago we had decided to forego the traditional Christmas party as December is just too busy a month to add yet another social get together. January is a bit of a let-down after all the Christmas hustle and bustle – what better way to start the New Year than with a lively get-together with great food food and wine and lots of songs and laughter.
On January 8 we had the sad duty to sing during the funeral mass for one of our departed choir members. One person attending liked our singing so much that he spontaneously decided to join the choir and has been with us since then. 

The Annual General meeting took place on January 13th. Very few changes to the Board – it seems once you hold a position you are in it for life!  A complete roster of the executive is published elsewhere on this website.
Thank you to you who were willing to be nominated and were elected, some year after year. You are a great team and without your support and hard work we would not have accomplished as much as we did or planned so many diverse activities.
The rest of the year 2015 looks busy enough as you can see from our program which is also published under the respective tab on this website.

We are grateful to our WebMaster for putting together this great website; it was a lot of work for him but we are very happy that we have finally joined the 21st century.

We are excited about our June 7th concert; this is the first time in a few years that we are performing for the general public other than singing for Seniors or during Christmas performances. We are sharing the stage with the Manotick Brass Ensemble and the Quodlibet Choir and hope our venue will be filled to capacity since we are dreaming in multicolour of actually making some money with this event.

This year is full of celebrations: we have 3 choir members who have turned or are turning 70, 4 who have turned or are turning 75 and 3 who have turned or are turning 80. With 31 members our average age is 75 but you would never know it when you attend one of our rehearsals. Sometimes our very competent and patient Choir Director Heather Rice needs to put the brakes on as we are sometimes a bit unruly, however, we all enjoy the odd joke and the camaraderie and hope to keep singing for a long time. We might have some trouble getting to our rehearsals in the months to come as our poor Martin Luther church where we practise every Tuesday evening will be dwarfed by a 45 storey (143 m) Tower being built directly beside the church with another building a mere 65 m tall under construction across the street and 2 more towers of 190 m and 155 m being proposed in the same area. Hopefully construction will stop in the evenings or we might have to look for another location. We wish everybody a wonderful Spring – do not despair, it will come! – and a lovely summer.

Goodbye until the fall.

Sigrid Vila, President

(The above are excerpts from the Sängerblatt formatted for web and mobile presentation. The complete issue is shown as a pdf file under announcements)

End of 2014, beginning of 2015

We had reported all our events until the end of October in the previous news article. This is what has happened since:
 Our Christmas Dinner Dance took place on November 15th. We had a full house with a wonderful dinner catered by Franz Hoefler, the choir sang a few songs with a solo performed by one of our members, the dance music was provided, as usual, by the Edewlweiss Trio who certainly know how to get us off our chairs and onto the dance floor. Our tombola was quite successful and the small profit will help our dwindling funds. We sang during the mass on Ewigkeits-Sonntag in the Martin-Luther Church, and participated in a lively Advent-Singing in the Martin-Luther-Church on December 7th,. On December 13 we performed Christmas songs at the Christmas party hosted by the German Benevolent Society, and the following day on December 14th we sang our hearts out during our Christmas concert in the St. Albertus Church. The Swiss Montagna Singers, Akord – Ukrainian Male Choir, the Quodlibet choir and the Austrian Stub’n Musi participated with us, and the audience in the packed church seemed to really enjoy the variety of these different groups. The reception in the basement of the church after the concert was also well attended and gave everybody a chance to socialize, meet old friends and make new ones and enjoy the coffee, cookies and sweets provided by various choir members. The goodwill donations of $ 1,200 were divided equally between the Snowsuit Fund and the Food Bank. We closed the year with an afternoon performance at the Court of Barrhaven where one of our former conductors now resides; he was delighted to conduct a couple of songs sung by the male section of our choir, and the fairly large audience of Seniors joyfully joined us during a sing-along of well-known Christmas music.

The new Year started with our Annual General meeting on January 13 when the new Executive was elected – please check the list under the Choir Executive tab. We sang during a funeral mass for one of our former choir members, and are now busy planning our events for the rest of the year. Please check our program for dates.

I would like to begin the New Year by telling you how much we appreciate all the support we have had during the last years, be it the presence of our supporters at our events, financial donations or people lending a hand when needed. We could not continue without your help and hope that you will continue to support us this year. Perhaps you do not know that our income comes only from annual membership fees (yes, our choir members pay a not insignificant amount annually for the privilege of singing), donations and the small profit from the dinner dance. We pay our conductor, the rental for the church, a hefty insurance, and the sad fact is that every year we lose about $ 2,000.00 as income is always lower than expenditures. However, we continue with joy as long as we can: Dort wo man singt, da lass Dich ruhig nieder, böse Menschen kennen keine Lieder.


Sängerblatt Fall 2014

Concordia Choir Ottawa-NewsDie Natur zeigt sich von ihrer farbenprächtigsten Seite, so als wolle sie uns ein Abschiedsgeschenk machen, bevor sie dann im Winter in ihren erholsamen Schlaf verfällt. Doch bevor es soweit ist, sollten wir dem Herbst danken für seine Geschenke, ob es die zauberhaft verfärbten und in der Sonne leuchtenden Blätter sind, ob es der Wind ist, der die Blätter freudig tanzen lässt oder ob es der Morgennebel ist, der unser Land in der aufgehenden Sonne wie im Märchen aussehen lässt, aber auch die nasskalten hässlichen grauen Regentage gehören dazu. Schon Johann Wolfgang von Goethe hat gesagt: Der Herbst ist immer unsere beste Zeit. Für unseren Chor bedeutet diese beste Zeit viel Arbeit, da die Herbst- und Weihnachtszeit sehr ausgefüllt sind mit Vorstellungen, Konzerten und unserem traditionellen Weihnachts Dinner Tanz.

Our retrospective shows that we fulfilled all our commitments outlined in the program published in the Spring edition. In April we took part in a post-Easter Sunday mass at the Martin-Luther Church. May 15-17 we participated in the wonderful celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Germania Choir Hamilton. It was an amazing weekend, well planned and executed, and we came away with many fond memories. We shared a bus with the Germania Choir Montreal who picked up our choir in Ottawa – a marvellous way to cut costs! – and the bus ride was a fun adventure with lots of joking and singing; oiling the voices with some medicinal libations certainly helped to make us sound absolutely wonderful.

Our choir had fun providing musical entertainment together with a few other choirs to a very appreciative audience. The Calgary Ladies’ Choir certainly deserves the Entertainer of the evening award for their hilarious presentation. Sunday was a full day with morning sound checks and practise of songs, but all the effort was so worthwhile as the singing in the McIntyre Performing Arts Centre, Mohawk College, was an utterly memorable event. We enjoyed very much listening to the other 10 participating choirs and were happy to present our songs in our brand new uniforms – yes, this was the first public event where we wore our new shirts, ties blouses and scarves. Being part of the mass choir at the end of the concert was an unforgettable experience: just imagine a 325 voice assembly singing Ich bete an die Macht der Liebe and They all call it Canada. A standing ovation showed all of the singers how much the audience enjoyed the afternoon and that means a lot to all of us. The occasion was a bit overshadowed for our choir as one of the singers had to be taken to hospital before the performance on Sunday, luckily she was back shortly after the gala dinner was finished, and the cooks whipped up a dinner for her in no time. The wife of one of our singers fell in the evening at the Club while trying to get to their table and was also taken to hospital – she suffered a fracture, and her recovery was painful and lengthy but luckily she is doing better. Emma, at the DKSB meeting on Saturday Oct. 18 several people inquired after you and they are sending you their best wishes. We were all quite upset by the turn of those events. The end of June we participated in a mass at St. Albertus Church and helped one of our choir members celebrate his 86th birthday on that day. Happy birthday Peter Paul. It has become an annual tradition that we get together at the cottage of one of our choir members during our well-deserved summer break. Thank you, Val, for once again hosting us in your beautiful cottage to enjoy fantastic food, great wine and beer, coffee and cakes, lots of singing and warm camaraderie.

Practise started in September, and during that month we helped our past President Emmi Moll celebrate her 80th birthday – happy birthday, Emmi.

The month of October saw us singing in two Senior Homes where we were presenting fun songs during an Oktoberfest-themed afternoon. Some of the senior residents sure enjoy hearing about the traditions of Oktoberfest, listening to our lively drinking songs and joining us during sing-a-longs – can’t quite get them up to do the polka but they certainly swing in their seats and clap to the music.

On October 18th we travelled to Montreal to help the German Choir of Montreal celebrate their 60th anniversary. It was a fun evening with 6 choirs participating and singing their hearts out. The lively dance performance by the Schuhplattlergruppe Alpenland Montreal provided a nice break, and the dance music by the Edwelweiss Trio enticed many singers to show off their dancing skills. However, my members were all driving home to Ottawa at the end of the celebration, and it was a long evening for them especially since not all choirs adhered to the requested 10-minute limit. It is just not correct when one choir sings close to 30 minutes and thereby considerably delays everybody else. Thanks to my conductor and all my choir members for your participation, effort and patience.

Upcoming events: Our Christmas Dinner Dance will take place on November 15th; we will sing on Ewigkeits-Sonntag in the Martin-Luther Church, have an Advent-Singing in the Martin-Luther-Church on December 7th, present Christmas songs at the Christmas party hosted by the German Benevolent Society on December 13 and close the year with our Christmas concert on December 14th in the St. Albertus Church with the participation of the Swiss Montagna Singers, Akord – Ukrainian Male Choir, the Quodlibet choir and the Austrian Stub’n Musi.

It seems early but since there is no other issue of the Sängerblatt until the Spring 2015: We wish you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas, Frohe Weihnachten, Joyeux Noël, and all the best for a happy, healthy, harmonious and peaceful New Year.

Another fresh new year is here ....
This bright new year is given me
Another year to live!
To banish worry, doubt, and fear,
To love and laugh and give!

To live each day with zest...
To daily grow and try to be
My highest and my best!
Once more to right some wrongs,
To pray for peace, to plant a tree,
And sing more joyful songs!

William Arthur Ward



Man kann machen was man will,
Die Zeit des Lebens steht nicht still!
Nach dem Tag kommt schon ein Jahr,
nichts ist mehr wie es mal war!

This poem sums up the past six months for our choir which brought many challenges but also lots of fun.

We had told you in the Fall issue that the Concordia Male and Female Choirs were practising together on a trial period until the end of the year with a final decision as to the future of the choirs to be taken at the Annual General meeting in February. Well, we did it and combined the two choirs and are now known as Concordia Choir Ottawa. Heather Rice who conducted the Female Choir readily agreed to conduct our combined choirs, and under her expert guidance we worked hard to put together a repertoire for mixed voices. Thank you, Heather, for your enthusiasm and thank you to all our choir members who faithfully come to practise every Tuesday evening and are willing to learn new songs. Thank you also to the men who invited the ladies to participate in their sacred previously male-only Stammtisch after practise where we continue to sing much to the delight of the Pub’s patrons many of whom have never heard German songs sang with such gusto. Unfortunately our ladies are a little reluctant to join but the four or five of us who do go enjoy ourselves immensely. Since our last report we were really busy. Here is a list of our activities: Dec. 2 Adventsinging, Martin Luther Church. This was our first public appearance as a choir for mixed voices, and the audience gave us positive compliments which were encouraging to all of us singers.

Concordia Choir Ottawa

Dec. 8 Christmas Dinner Dance, Maple Leaf Almrausch Club. This is one of our few fundraising events and was well attended. Naturally, the cost of having the meal catered reduced our usual profit considerably but everybody enjoyed the delicious food provided by Franz Hoefler, and we offset the extra cost somewhat with the proceeds of a successful tombola. Judging by the enthusiastic applause, the audience liked our songs, and the Canadian version of The Twelve Days of Christmas particularly had people laughing. After the concert we enjoyed dancing to the music of the Edelweiss Trio who certainly know how to get the twinkle-toes among us moving.

Dec. 15 Christmas party German Benevolent Society, St. Albertus Church. It has become a tradition that we sing at this afternoon event and enjoy Kaffee, Kuchen und Glühwein with the members of the Hilfsverein after our performance.

Dec. 17 Singing for Seniors, St. James Anglican Church, Manotick. After we all appreciated a very nice lunch the seniors enjoyed our repertoire and quite a few joined us singing traditional Christmas songs.

Feb. 5, 2013 Annual General Meeting. As mentioned earlier, the participants in the AGM voted unanimously to form a Choir for Mixed Voices which means that in addition to the many mixed pieces we are practising the ladies will continue to sing some songs on their own, and we will encourage the men to do the same in the near future. Although we have lost some male voices we have a total of 35 members, 23 female and 12 male voices.

The newly elected Board looks like this:
President: Sigrid Vila
Vice President: Valerie Hume
Treasurer: Karin Pitts
Assistant Treasurer: Klara Zvalo
Secretary: Horst Dannehl
Assistant Secretary: Birgit Bohnen
Librarians: Ingeborg König and Deborah Belanger
Directors: Peter Paul Kraft and Pat Peres

We sang a Sacred Heart Mass on March 1, St. Albertus Church and participated in a Pre- Easter celebration on March 10 in the Martin Luther Church.

April 6 and 7 Celebration with German Choir Montreal. The German Choir Montreal invited us to participate in their Spring Concert, and lo and behold, we were able to actually get the choirs together to do just that. Some of our choir members were slightly frustrated having gotten lost in the wonderful city of Montreal with its unique one-way streets, name changes and minute signs resulting in some colourful expressions not suitable for printing. However, we had a wonderful time singing in the evening after having listened to the German Choir Montreal. Many of us stayed to dance after the concert , again to the music of the Edelweiss Trio - these guys are just everywhere! And I was told that some of our choir members were admonished by the hotel staff for partying a bit too loudly after coming back; imagine that! Who says seniors are dull and boring? On Sunday morning we sang at a church service and gave a mini concert after. Thank you, Ingeborg, for having invited us, it was a bit difficult to convince our choir members to participate but it worked out well in the end, and we hope to participate in more combined events.

Concordia Choir Ottawa

We look forward to the next dates:
April 16 Singing for Seniors at Court at Barrhaven where our former conductor Roy Morris and his wife Kay are residents.
May 14 Multicultural Concert, Unitarian Church. We are singing with a Chinese, Ukranian, Polish and Swiss Choir.
May 26 Memorial Service for our deceased choir members, St. Albertus Church
June 4 Singing for Seniors, Rockcliffe Residence
According to Leo Tolstoy, spring is the time of plan and projects. We have planned our events until the end of the year and leave you with the hope that no matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow. Stay tuned for more news in the fall.