Toronto Festival Singers
“The best synagogue choir in North America”
Neil Levin, artistic director
Milken Archive of American Jewish Music
“One of the finest choirs I’ve ever worked with”
Professor Josh Jacobson, founder and director
Boston Zamir Chorale
The Toronto Festival Singers is the resident choir of The Song Shul under the direction of Cantor Simon Spiro. They’re young, vibrant and fun!
Each member is a professional vocalist and educated musician in Toronto with stellar soloist credits in opera, musical theatre and jazz. Coming together, however, their voices have been shaped to present “The Spiro Sound” – a smooth blend of voices that move together seamlessly.
They sing on Shabbat and festivals, in concert and at special events. Their musical material is both traditional and contemporary, and most of their arrangements are written specifically for them by Cantor Spiro.
What to look and listen for
When The Toronto Festival Singers sing written arrangements and we’re all singing along, you’ll see them looking at the printed music in their books. But when they are looking only at Cantor Spiro and singing a sustained hum, watch the Cantor. This is when he is improvising Hazzanut, at which he is a master. As he sings, he shows them different finger positions to indicate which musical chord they should be singing. It is a fascinating technique, similar to a musician playing an instrument. The Cantor is “playing” the vocal accompaniment with finger motions. This is a reflection of the Cantor’s skill, of course, but it is only possible because all of the choir members have a sophisticated understanding of this music and its intricate modes.
Meet the Toronto Festival Singers!
Click on the singer’s photo for bio, followed by the number of years he/she has sung with Cantor Simon.