Building choral excellence
in our community
Guelph Youth Singers (GYS) is an award winning choir with deep roots in our community for 30 years! GYS works to build choral excellence in Guelph by developing the artistic soul and musical skills of children and youth. Audiences in Guelph are delighted when they hear our 90 young choristers. Our recordings are sold throughout North America and beyond, and have branded Guelph as a city that values the arts and produces an excellent product.
History of the Guelph Youth Singers
Guelph Youth Singers, now heading towards its 30th season, has become a high-profile representative of the City of Guelph in the field of choral music. Now flourishing under artistic director and conductor, Markus Howard, the organization was founded in 1991 under founding music director, Linda Beaupré, to provide children and youth with an opportunity to experience a professional level of musicianship.
The four original treble choirs of the organization are still going strong: Choirs I, II, III, Chamber, and Cantabile. Drawing from all choirs, a seasonal Boys Treble Choir was developed in 2005 to compete in the Guelph Kiwanis Festival, to sing a feature piece in the major spring concert and, more generally, to encourage the boys to appreciate their special part in the overall choir. In January 2014, a new addition to GYS treble choirs, the full-voiced SATB Choir, was introduced by Markus Howard, providing an exciting choral opportunity for boys and young men with changing or changed voices, as well as young women, who are 16 years old and over.
GYS has released three solo CDs: Bird in the Nest (1998), Wind in Our Sails (2002), and Into the Breeze (2011). The Choir has also performed on CDs with Guelph Chamber Choir (On Christmas Night, 1995); for the Canadian Literacy Association (Notable Canadian Choirs Sing Christmas Carols, 1996); with the Guelph folk ensemble, Tamarack (Blankets of Snow, 1998); and singing the title song on the CD Song of Our City: A Musical Celebration of Guelph.
All GYS choirs perform annually in the Kiwanis Music Festival of Guelph, and have won the trophy for the Best Choral Programme annually since 1996. They have also distinguished themselves at both the Provincial and National levels of the Canadian Federation of Music Festivals, winning several provincial and national first prize awards.
Choir III tours regularly throughout Canada and into the northern United States. Past performance highlights include singing for national conventions of the Association of Canadian Choral Conductors (Quebec City, 1996 and Toronto, 2002) and the American Choral Directors Association (Chicago, 1999). They have performed in Montreal, Kingston, Toronto, Calgary, Syracuse (NY), Vancouver and Coquitlam (BC), New Glasgow (NS) and Moncton (NB) as guests of various choirs. They have also hosted choirs from southern Ontario, Quebec, Alberta, British Columbia, Edmonton, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and New York State as well as choirs from Japan and Slovenia. GYS has toured to perform as visiting guest artists to the State University of Potsdam, New York (2000), Albion College in Michigan (2001), Fort Wayne, Indiana (2003) and Farmington Hills, Michigan (2005). In May of 2008, Choir III/Chamber choristers were invited to form part of the honour choir, along with choristers from Bach Children’s Chorus, for the Children in Harmony Festival at Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida. A 25th Anniversary trip to New York City and a workshop with Mary-Mitchell Campbell, Broadway musical director and arranger was a highlight of the 2015/16 season.