Skip to content
Sponsored Content

Elora Festival showcases choral excellence

The 45th annual Festival will debut on July 5

The Internationally-renowned Elora Festival is a choral showcase with a big reputation, and they’ll back in July 2024 with their 45th season.

For two weeks, they’ll transform Elora into a music hub, with distinguished guest musicians and choirs embarking on the area to delight attendees.

“There are a lot of special things coming this year. This classical choral music festival is a professional, incredible event, and will feature our in-residence The Elora Singers, as well as so many incredible artists from other areas,” said Artistic Director Mark Vuorinen.

“We’re doing 19 ticketed events, with 10 involving the Elora Singers, including solo concerts for the Elora Singers and collaboration with guest artists. Any time we can collaborate, we absolutely love to.”

“There will be the King’s Singers acapella group, and Constantinople is a show that will fuse eastern and western music with Persian influences for its concert. We have a closing evening concert Carmina Burana, and we have Constantinople: A Filetta as well as Bach renditions.”

One of the most incredible, exciting and quirky facets of the festival is its venue of choice: The Gambrel Barn.

“I drove past it today, and it was filled with road salt and sand for our Wellington County roads this winter. But every summer, it becomes our amazing venue,” he said.

“It gets power-washed, we build a stage on one end, and put lights in the rafters. There are seats for 550 audience members, and we’re so proud it’s our principal venue. It’s an old barn – it’s not weather-proof – but it’s a great venue for classical music.

The festival has had a long-standing tradition of being rooted in choral excellence, and Vuorinen has always been in awe of what they’ve accomplished.

“The ensemble-in-residence has always been a big part of things, and this festival has been known a long time for the high standards they have. One big thing is since I joined five years ago, there’s been an increase in collaboration with other artists,” he said.

“It’s just becoming more and more fruitful. The collaborations become highlights, and people start to look forward to it. It’s important to bring new artists to the festival and look at new programs as well.”

He said this year is a special one, as nearby Parry Sound’s Festival of Sounds is also celebrating their 45th anniversary.

“A day after our festival, Parry Sound will have the same one. We collaborated closely on this program, and it’s been a really nice thing. This is going to be spectacular, and there’s a lot of free programming,” he said.

“We have a family-friendly production from Fergus, Ontario’s Shoestring Opera, and they’ll be doing a modified “The Magic Flute” from Mozart. It will be a lot of fun.”

He says the Elora Festival serves as a way for people to come see their favourites and discover new musicians as well.

“Many guests come year-after-year, and it’s so amazing for musicians to showcase new talents. Over the years, we’ve had so many starting their careers here, and then they’ll go do other festivals over the summer. When they come back five years later, they’ve found International success, and it’s a wonderful thing,” he said.

“I’m always fascinated by the number of new-comers in the audience too. We are constantly trying to give new experiences to people as well.”

If the barn venue wasn’t enough, programming includes some outside-the-box concerts as well, including the Music In The Woods event.

“We put our audience on a bus, and bring them to a regional forest. Once they start walking, there are musicians set up in there. Audiences are led through the paths and hear music along the way. This started last year, and people were really happy with it,” he said.

“We do a lot of traditional choir concerts, but also like to live a bit on the edge of what might be thought of as classical music. We also work on more immersive staging and movement to surround our audience and make the experience special.”

Vuorinen is overwhelmed by the incredible support he sees from the community, whether it’s from volunteers, the town or businesses.

“Our volunteers are the lifeblood of this organization and festival in many ways. From working as ushers to opening their homes for billeting artists, the people in this town do so much. Choir members from Toronto, Hamilton and London are essentially here three weeks for the festival, and people accept them with open arms,” he said.

“We also receive financial support. Whether that’s sponsors so we can do free programming, grants, or in-kind services, people are here. There is just so much love for our organization, and we appreciate it.”

He cannot wait to share the 45th iteration with people, and knows so many folks will find things to love and enjoy.

“We have so many really great things in store for the audiences, and we also hope people may find and enjoy things they never experienced before.”

To learn more about the Elora Festival, visit them online here.