Delighting audiences since 1993, the Karen Schuessler Singers (KSS) is one of Southwestern Ontario’s premier concert choirs.
Well known for its widely varied, accessible and innovative programming, KSS is led by founder and artistic director Karen Schuessler. Initially formed to perform Missa Gaia/Earth Mass, the choir has become a highly-respected performing arts ensemble of 50 professionally diverse and vocally dynamic singers, all sharing their passion for choral music.
The Karen Schuessler Singers performs an exciting range of repertoire. Each year, the choir offers a three-concert season comprised of orchestral masterworks and concerts reflecting the culture in which we live as well as more popular fare. Music can range from classical to jazz and medieval to modern, always striking a balance between tradition and innovation.
KSS has become noted for its concerts exploring the great human themes through the intertwining of music with words and multimedia. The choir has taken audiences on journeys across Canada and beyond with celebrations of cultures and the world around us. Explorations of creativity, the environment, the historical perspective of slavery and life along the Underground Railroad, the quest for peace and themes found in the musical works of the great masters have been inspiring experiences.
Throughout its history, the Karen Schuessler Singers has been pleased to add the voices of some of London’s up-and-coming soloists as well as those of well-known Canadian artists to those of the choir. In addition to magnificent orchestras and small ensembles, special guest musicians from London’s musical wealth have made for multi-dimensional and artistically stunning performances.
The choir’s lively and engaging style has been enjoyed from Michigan to Newfoundland. It has performed three times in Detroit, throughout Southern Ontario, and in St. John’s, Newfoundland as an invited participant at the Festival 500 International Choral Festival. A winner of the Jack Richardson Best Choir award, it continues to receive critical acclaim at home. KSS has become particularly well-known for its touring performances of Missa Gaia/Earth Mass and Road to Freedom (both available on CD), as well as Love In a Canoe: Canada at 150. The choir was honoured to be invited to perform Road to Freedom before the Governor General at the opening of the Harriet Tubman Institute at York University.
Committed to “Enriching lives through choral excellence and community engagement”, the Karen Schuessler Singers has commissioned and premiered several new works and promoted the work of London composers. It has performed several concerts for children, to broaden their musical experience and introduce them to the enjoyment of singing. To better connect the London choral community, it hosted a “Six Choirs, One Voice” choral workshop weekend that brought a major choral clinician to London to work with the city’s many choral ensembles. More recently, it initiated Big Sing London, bringing in professional community sing leaders to encourage people from all walks of life to enjoy the benefits of singing in large groups. And whenever possible, KSS partners with local not-for-profit organizations like Salthaven Wildlife Refuge, The River Project, Upper Thames River Conservation Authority, Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF), The Fallen Soldier Project and Canadian Aid for Southern Sudan.