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Triumph of the Spirit

(This article expired 06.11.2013.)

Inspired recollections from the personal harrowing memoirs of Holocaust Survivor John Freund combine with uplifting music in a moving multi-media presentation.


The Orpheus Choir of Toronto kicks off their 50th year of choral music in Toronto with Triumph of the Spirit, a concert celebrating the resilience of the human spirit, on Tuesday, November 5 at 7:30 p.m. at Grace Church on-the-Hill, 300 Lonsdale Road.

“Fifty years ago Toronto organist and conductor John Sidgwick had a vision of a choral organization with a 'difference'. That dream has survived the test of time”, says artistic director Robert Cooper, “and I am proud to lead an organization which celebrates the transformational power of choral music as an agent of social change and passionate medium of artistic expression.”

John Freund, Holocaust survivor, reads from his moving personal memoir I Was One of the Lucky Few: the Story of My Childhood.  John recounts his harrowing childhood experiences as a Czechoslovakian Jew surviving in the Nazi concentration camps of Terezin and Auschwitz, through to eventual liberation and sanctuary at age fifteen, and culminating with a new life in Canada as a young man.

Orpheus enhances the readings with deeply moving choral selections and dramatic visual projections, selected by Brock University film and culture historian Joan Nicks, to underscore this journey and reflect on the ability of the human spirit to survive extraordinary suffering and adversity.

To complete the program, Orpheus commemorates the centenary of the brilliant English composer Benjamin Britten with the Canadian premiere of his rarely-heard 1938 pacifist cantata World of the Spirit. “This breathtaking and remarkable work is long overdue a Toronto performance”, says Cooper, “and audiences will be captivated by its generosity of spirit, wonderful melodic sweep and lyrical fervour.”

Joining Orpheus for this 50th anniversary opening concert and choral ‘multi-media event’ will be the Talisker Players, Soulpepper actors Courtney Ch’ng Lancaster and Paolo Santalucia and the North Toronto CI Women’s Chorus.

Tickets: $30, $25 for seniors, and $15 for students. Group Rates are available

Order tickets online at or call (416) 530-4428 to order by phone

For more information: Karen Gregory 416-778-9447 or

Orpheus Choir of Toronto

To celebrate the transformational power of choral music as an agent of social change

and a passionate medium of artistic expression.