Research centre devoted to celebrating rich choral music traditions

Jan 9th, 2017

By Jeff Green

The Bruneau Centre for Excellence in Choral Music was created through a visionary $1-million gift from Drs. Jean and Angus Bruneau.
Research centre devoted to celebrating rich choral music traditions

A specialized research centre is expanding its annual grants competition while welcoming a world-renowned Canadian musician as its conductor-in-residence in 2017.

The Bruneau Centre for Excellence in Choral Music promotes and fosters research and community projects focused on the impact choral singing can have on individuals and communities. It is based in the School of Music and managed by a board of directors consisting of individuals from the wider community and the university.

Each year the centre awards grants to choirs – big and small – supporting a range of diverse projects. Since its establishment in January 2013, it has supported projects such as choral research focused on wellness and education; visiting choral scholars; recordings and publications; and the commissioning of a large number of new choral works and arrangements.

Funds for voices

“Our funding programs are open to any groups whose mandate is to sing together,” said Dr. Meghan Forsyth, interim director of the centre who is also project co-ordinator and a researcher with the Research Centre for Music, Media and Place.

“We’re committed to a broad definition of choral music that includes any group composition in which people are singing together, not only traditional ‘SATB’ – soprano, alto, tenor and bass – choirs.”

Currently, the centre has three granting programs: Community Project Grants, Research Grants and Professional Development Grants. The maximum award for project grants is $15,000; there’s no minimum grant amount.

“We’re always looking for new ways to meet the needs of the choral community across the province,” noted Dr. Forsyth. “I look forward to announcing the details of a new small grants program in the New Year.

“We aim to support projects of varying sizes that encourage community development through, and excellence in, choral singing in communities across the province.”

Provincial partnerships

Dr. Forsyth says the centre is honoured to be in the position to partner with a wide variety of community, university and church organizations. The funding, she says, gives the groups the opportunity to access exceptional training and artistic opportunities.

“We recognize the significant impact that choral singing can have on the well-being of individuals and communities and it is exciting to play a role in creating healthier communities,” she noted.

In addition to its annual grant competition, the centre takes on one or two special projects every year, either a project initiated by its board of directors, or a project in partnership with other groups or organizations.

Acclaimed conductor coming to N.L.

In March 2017 acclaimed Canadian choral conductor Scott Leithead will be the centre’s conductor-in-residence.

Mr. Leithead is the founder and artistic director of Edmonton’s Kokopelli Choir Association and TIME Jazz Association and a sought-after conductor across Canada and internationally.

“Mr. Leithead will start his Newfoundland residency in Grand Falls-Windsor and Clarenville and his visit will culminate in a mass choir concert here in St. John’s,” said Dr. Forsyth.

“We’re partnering with the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District to facilitate exciting workshops in the three communities, in addition to his work with youth and adult community choirs.”

Choral support

Created through a visionary $1 million gift from Drs. Jean and Angus Bruneau, the centre promotes research and community projects focused on the impact that choral singing can have individuals and communities.

It supports projects that have the potential to stimulate excellence in community music-making locally, nationally and internationally.

“Essentially, the Bruneaus wanted their gift and the activities of the centre to create ripples in the choral community,” explained Dr. Forsyth.

“We’re lucky to live in a province with such a vibrant choral tradition, from Nain to St. John’s and all the communities in between. There is incredible choral singing, passion and creativity happening here at every turn.”

More about the centre, its grant programs and projects it has funded over the years is available online.



230 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1B 3X9

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4200, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 864-8000