About

Who we are

Valleyview Male Chorus had its beginning in 1997 as a small chorus of 15 members from Valleyview Mennonite Church with Henry Boldt as the conductor and Clare Jantzi as pianist (1997 – 2004). It was formed with the intent of being part of a worship service at the church. However, the interest of its members was such that it continued with rehearsals and performed a spring concert in 1997. In 1999, the first two non-Valleyview members joined the choir with others joining in subsequent years. After 6 years the choir had grown to 26 members, within 10 years to 35, and currently is approaching 50. Approximately half the members are from outside London, some as far east as Kitchener and as far west as Dutton. The choir has thus evolved from a church choir into a community choir with representation from a broad spectrum in terms of age, experience, musical interest and denominational affiliation. The ages of the choir members spans 6 decades, from their 30's to their 80's with some having sung in choirs for more than 60 years and others for whom this is their first choir experience. The goal of the choir is to provide an opportunity for men of all ages to sing, but further, to provide a community where friendship can flourish and where support and caring for each other happens.

Over the years, the musical competence of the choir has increased under the conductorship of Henry, Kim and choral workshops with Dr. Carol Beynon. The repertoire of the choir encompasses a range of music from gospel to classical, from folk to contemporary. Larry Nickel, a Canadian composer from Vancouver, has been commissioned to write several pieces for the choir. At our annual concert (first Saturday in June), we seek to feature young, local musicians such as Central Secondary School Strings, Cameron Crozman, Janelle Timmermans, Celine Murray, Keaton Rutherford, Primus, Laurier Chamber Choir, El Sistema South London, Renee Nikkel and Nathan Glacjh .

Aside from our annual spring concert, the choir has been part of various fund raising events as well as performing for a variety of other functions in the London community and beyond. We are open to further opportunities for participation in worship services, celebrations, special events and fund-raising.


Our Accompanist

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Krisanne Nunes is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario where she holds a Bachelor of Education and a degree in English and Music. She is an active solo, choral and church accompanist in London, and sings in a number of choirs in the London area. When not participating in musical activities, Krisanne works as an elementary occasional teacher for the Thames Valley District School Board, is a budding stage manager, a copy editor and, in her spare time, an avid knitter. She is honoured to play for the Valleyview Male Chorus.


Our Founder

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Henry Boldt received his Honours Bachelor of Music from the Faculty of Music, University of Western Ontario. Before his retirement he was the music department head at Sir Wilfrid Laurier Secondary School in London where he taught instrumental music for 30 years. Henry has conducted church choirs in Niagara and in London, has been involved as a Board member with the London Youth Symphony, instructor and organizer of the London Youth Symphony Young String program and is one of the founding members of the London Community Orchestra.



More detailed account of Valleyview Male Chorus history

Article from the "Canadian Mennonite", Oct. 2016, written by Vic Fast

​It all started simply enough. In January 1996, Clare Jantzi, worship leader at Valleyview Mennonite Church in London, invited three men from the congregation to sing an introit during four consecutive worship services.

One year later, encouraged by the previous year’s experience, Clare planned another choral musical introit for the worship service. In consultation with Henry Boldt, the church’s volunteer coordinator of music, he invited a larger group of men from the congregation to sing. Fifteen men volunteered. The chosen anthem was the familiar “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty.”

The men were inspired by the experience and decided to continue getting together to sing, just for the enjoyment of it. By May 1997 they had organized a spring choral program for the church community. Little did anyone anticipate that event would serve as the harbinger of many more spring concerts yet to come.

On June 4, 2016, the Valleyview Male Chorus (VMC), by now expanded to fifty singers, presented its 20th annual spring concert. In the past twenty years VMC has changed from being a small church choir to an established feature of the London musical landscape. By its tenth year half its singers were community members. Today it is a solidly ecumenical group, with more than half a dozen denominations represented in its current membership.

Although the chorus’s formal Mennonite connections are now less apparent, the Valleyview church continues to be deeply involved. It provides a range of office resources and free space for rehearsals. Thirty-eight of its members have sung in the chorus over the years. Church members continue to volunteer in carrying out many of the administrative duties of the chorus, as well as in the positions of conductor and accompanist.

Few of the singers have any formal musical training. For some, it is their first experience singing in a choir of any sort. Four-part singing was new to some when they joined the chorus.

So what brings all these men together weekly? A love of music, certainly. A desire to experience the joy that is evident during concerts. A sense of camaraderie shared during rehearsals and beyond (think Tim Hortons on Thursday evenings).

The key to the success of this enthusiastic choral group has been the patient yet demanding and persevering work of its dedicated conductor of twenty years, Henry Boldt. For much of its existence the chorus had counted on Elenor Taves as its patient primary accompanist.

The chorus seeks to blur the lines between sacred and secular, believing that all music can be a spiritual experience. While religious selections constitute about half of its typical concert menu, its repertoire includes classical, modern, folk, sea shanties, spirituals, pop, and other genres.

Along with its major annual spring concert, VMC has also had opportunity to sing at funerals, anniversaries and in numerous seniors’ centres. It has been invited to participate in fundraisers for the Canadian Foodgrains Bank and local charities, and in special events such as the annual outdoor pork farmers’ barbeque and a somber worship service in the chapel of the impressive St. Peter’s Catholic Seminary. Some of its members have enjoyed participating alongside the London Amabile choirs and singing in the Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

Although the early concerts were free, with expenses covered through donations, the chorus now charges a modest fee for its concerts. Guest performers, often up-and-coming young artists, are appreciative of opportunities to present their talents for public enjoyment. There is no fee for members.

Having outgrown its concert space at Valleyview Mennonite Church, the male chorus now performs at a downtown United church and offers funds for that church’s Out of the Cold program, which provides a weekly free hot meal for needy Londoners during the winter months.

VMC is no longer a church-affiliated venture. Even so, its commitment to service in the community continues as strongly as ever, and service has become an important part of the chorus’s unwritten mission statement.

The Valleyview Male Chorus is like the proverbial biblical mustard seed. It has grown into a big tree, serving people today as surely as it did on the Sunday it sang its first song at a Mennonite worship service 20 years ago.

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