The Accolades are a Toronto singing group composed of friendly, enthusiastic women of all ages and varied occupations, with a wide range of musical and non-musical backgrounds. We come from all over the Greater Toronto Area and gather every Thursday evening from 7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at Willowdale Baptist Church, 15 Olive Ave., near Yonge and Finch, to share our love of music and singing.
We sing a cappella, in four-part harmony, primarily in the barbershop style. We have a varied repertoire, including ballads, show tunes, folk and popular music, and we are always learning new songs. We learn from a combination of sheet music and audio learning tracks, so it is not necessary to know how to read music.
Our director, Wendy Arnold, has been directing us since the year 2000 and is a very experienced barbershopper. We gain much from her expertise, as well as from a variety of coaches who are brought in on a regular basis. Classes and workshops are also available at other times of the year, through Harmony, Inc., for those who would like to learn more about music and improve their singing skills.
Harmony, Inc. holds Area Contests in May and an International Contest in November, for those choruses and quartets that qualified in their Area Contests. Over the past few years, the Accolades have participated in International Contests in St. John, New Brunswick, Hershey, Pennsylvania, Orlando, Florida, Windsor, Ontario, and Verona, New York. This year, the chorus has qualified again and will be heading to Halifax to compete internationally.
Our 30-member chorus puts on a show every other year, and sings at community celebrations, health care facilities, social clubs and fund-raising events for many worthy causes. Our 15-member group, Who Let The Girls Out, also performs frequently. A portion of what these two groups earn from various performances goes to charity. In the past, we have supported such causes as the Autism Society, Sing Canada, the Brain Tumour Association, and the Pulmonary Hypertension Association of Canada. This year we are supporting the York Centre for Children, Youth and Families, whose goal is to improve the mental health of children, youth and families by addressing their social, emotional, academic and familial needs.
We are always looking for singers to join us. All are welcome to come and observe our rehearsals at any time to check us out. Just email our Membership Chair first to make sure that we aren’t away singing at an area function on the evening you wish to visit.