Parent Organization: Ryerson University
The Oakham House Choir was established in 1984 by Professor Marie Dowler of the Ryerson English department and Matthew Jaskiewicz, a former conductor with the Warsaw Chamber Opera, who had just arrived in Canada as a political refugee.
In those early days, many of the members lacked extensive choral experience, though they made up for it with their enthusiasm. Mr. Jaskiewicz, who spoke no English, gave his instructions in French or Polish – several other Polish immigrants had joined the choir – and relied on someone to translate for him.
Despite those tentative beginnings, the choir grew steadily under Mr. Jaskiewicz’s direction. As its musical standards rose, its repertoire expanded to include many of the best-known choral masterpieces. Today the Oakham House Choir is a respected ensemble and an integral part of Toronto’s music scene.
Oakham House Choir regularly performs on the Ryerson campus and at many downtown churches, and has appeared at other Greater Toronto Area venues, including Mississauga’s Living Arts Centre and the Toronto Centre for the Arts. The choir has also sung at Ryerson graduation ceremonies and has competed in the Kiwanis Festival.
For many years the choir has been presenting two concerts a year with the Toronto Sinfonietta chamber orchestra, which is also directed, and was founded by, Mr. Jaskiewicz. We take pride in being one of the few amateur choirs in Toronto that perform regularly with a professional orchestra.
Toronto, ON M5B 1E9