The Nathaniel Dett Chorale is Canada’s first professional choral group dedicated to Afrocentric music of all styles, including classical, spiritual, gospel, jazz, folk and blues. The 21 classically trained outstanding vocalists of The Nathaniel Dett Chorale have shared the stage with internationally recognized artists such as Juno Award-winning jazz pianist Joe Sealy, singers Molly Johnson and Jackie Richardson, and opera star Kathleen Battle and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. The ensemble has performed for such luminaries as opera singer Jessye Norman and Dance Theatre of Harlem founder Arthur Mitchell. The Chorale has performed at events honouring world leaders Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, personality Muhammad Ali, and pianist Oscar Peterson and was the only Canadian ensemble invited to perform as part of the celebrations surrounding the historic inauguration of President Barack Obama in January of 2009.
The multi-faceted vocalists of the Chorale, whose talent stretches beyond the traditional expectations of a classical chamber choir, seek to broaden their vision to include all styles and genres of music, from classical to jazz, folk, blues and popular music, as appropriate to the traditions of the African Diaspora.
The Chorale’s vision is to be a premier performer of Afrocentric composers – past, present and future – and to be a touchstone for the education of audiences and communities regarding the full spectrum of Afrocentric choral music.
The Nathaniel Dett Chorale’s mission is to build bridges of understanding, appreciation, and acceptance between communities of people, both Afrocentric and other, through the medium of music. The Chorale seeks to dissolve the barriers of stereotype, to empower humans in general, and those of African descent in particular.
The Chorale adds another dimension to all of its activities by creating a cultural and historical context for its music. All of the Chorale’s concerts and outreach initiatives include an educational element, and our conductor and singers draw audiences together by increasing their knowledge of Afrocentric music and culture, with the aim of fostering pride in those of African heritage, and informed admiration in those of other cultural backgrounds. The Chorale builds vibrant and healthy communities by uniting its audiences in a love of Afrocentric choral music, and by creating a deeply-contextualized understanding of the complex roots of this music.
D. Brainerd Blyden-Taylor, conductor
Christina Faye, collaborative pianist
Jaideep Goray, ASL Interpreter