People Carolling Outdoors
Date of Issue
November 3, 1994
Series Time Span
Perforation or Dimension
Canadian Bank Note Company, Limited.
Designed by Diti Katona Designed by John Pylypczak Based on an illustration by Nina Berkson
Music is the international language that knows no boundaries of frontiers. It is for all to listen and enjoy without subtitles or translations. From mellow and relaxing to motivating and stimulating, there are musical scores to please all tastes and serve all purposes. This year's Christmas stamps feature carolling and choir singing appropriate for the centennial of The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and the 100th anniversary of Toronto's famed Massey Hall. Canada has a short yet yuletide musical heritage brought to this land by early settlers. It as left a social and cultural impact on Canadians, whose philosophy and outlook on life was undoubtedly affected by the music that they heard. The first canoe songs motivated the paddlers to a certain rhythm and steady cadence. Working songs and dance songs served other purposes, as did military and peace marches. Although different forms of music served distinctive goals, the ultimate end result remained the same - enjoyment. Ever since the Halifax Harmonic Society, one of Canada's early choirs, to Les Petits Chanteurs du Mont-Royal, an all children choir, vocal ensembles have played an important role in our musical history. Whether liturgical or secular, many were disbanded while a few survived. Such is the case for The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, celebrating its centennial in 1994. Founded by choirmaster and organist A.S. Vogt, the choir began with 75 members, rapidly increased to 167 and today boasts membership of about 200 men and women from various religions and walks of life. Disbanded in 1897 and reformed in 1900 under a new constitution, the TMC now required that all members re-audition. This practice has continued and is conducted at the beginning of each season to ensure that the tone remains pure. The reconstituted choir debuted at Massey Hall on February 16, 1901. For years the Massey Music Hall has been the home of the TMC. It performed its inaugural concert on January 15, 1895 at the concert hall built by Hart A. Massey, farm equipment magnate and patron of the arts who gave the building to the City of Toronto in memory of his son, Charles Albert. Specifically designed for concerts by acoustic architectural expert C.R. Badgely, the building was to improve the cultural life of Toronto. But like many Victorians halls, it heard and saw it all! From religious revival meetings, political and war rallies, films and even a boxing match, nothing displaced its true vocation as a concert hall. A public favourite due to its intimate atmosphere, seating has been reduced to 2765 from the original capacity of 4000.
Canada Post Corporation. Canada's Stamps Details, Vol. 3, No. 6, 1994, p. 1, 4-5.
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