Muskoka Men of Song
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Our History
33 years of beautiful music

Muskoka Men of Song

June 2016

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1St Director John Rutherford

John Rutherford directing the Muskoka Men of Song in the early 1980's

The roots of The Muskoka Men of Song choir extend back to the early 1980s when a small group of friends, all interested in the study and appreciation of good music, gathered each week around the piano at the home of the late John Rutherford, a congenial and enthusiastic music instructor at the Bracebridge and Muskoka Lakes Secondary School. At the start it consisted mostly of gospel songs, eventually evolving into a more formalized structure that included other genres. The enthusiasm of those taking part was contagious and other like-minded individuals expressed an interest in participating; it wasn't long before the founding members Dave Rasmussen, Ian Turnbull, Larry Archibald and Dr. Dave Kent, mentored by John Rutherford, were joined by others and The Muskoka Men of Song was born. Regular practices were joined by modest performances in schools, churches, community concerts, as a guest performer at the popular war memorial review “Down Memory Lane” and “Happy Birthday Bracebridge”,the 125th anniversary celebration of the Town of Bracebridge held in 2000.
With the success of those very public events, the choir grew in popularity, continued to attract more members and requests for appearances became more regular resulting in subsequent appearances at the “Gravenhurst Opera House Annual Concert”, the “Trek to Bethlehem” in Bala and churches throughout Muskoka.
In due time, the choir moved into a schedule of holding their own annual concerts, one held in December celebrating the Christmas season and one in June with varying themes, in 2017 “Love” to be held June 10th. In 2016, for the first time, due to expanding audiences, the choir moved to two performances on the same day of the event.An important and rewarding part of The Muskoka Men of Song is the “Sean Kelly Bursary” program. It started when an early member of the choir, the late Sean Kelly, suggested that a little money that had been collected from one their concerts be used to assist a young man, Ryan Jackson, who wanted to further his costly music studies and was experiencing difficulty in doing so. The choir members agreed and the recipient went on to a hugely successful career in music, culminating as organist and choir director for the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York City. The bursary and recipients have become an important part of the choir’s concerts.

Rob Knighton and the Choir in 1994

Sheane Kelly

The late Sean Kelly and Rob Knighton discussing an upcoming concert - 2001

John Rutherford as Choir Director was followed by Rob Knighton in 1994, Alana Hall in 2007 and Frances Mae Balodis in 2015, who continues in that capacity. The vitally important position of pianist for the choir has been filled by John Reynolds, Lois Cavey and Katherine Belisle who have all added greatly to the professionalism of the choir performances.

Alana Hall Directing 2009

History written by : Kenneth Carman Veitch
Christmas 2013
Chrismas 2013
Orillia 2011
Coffee House 2011
Nem of Song 2014
Bracebridge 2014
Steamship 2011
Director & Accompanist
Website design K. Turner and Associates © Muskoka Men of Song 2017