Bravado!, Barrie’s show choir, was formed in 1996 with a vision towards creating a multi-artistic experience. Under the new musical direction of Marianne Derow, the choir continually challenges traditional notions of choral music by layering vocal excellence with the visual appeal of staging and choreography.
Bravado! performs all music from memory, getting “off the page” and allowing a more personal connection with their audience. Bravado!’s choral-fusion style transitions fluently from Classical through Gospel, Jazz and Broadway to Rock without sacrificing musical excellence.
Bravado! performs two shows per year, at Christmas and in the spring. Bravado! also sings at charitable fundraisers and private functions, and have been guest performers at musical concerts throughout the Simcoe Region.
Bravado! reaches out to the community by holding their popular Voices at Large public rehearsals, hiring regional musicians, and encouraging youth to participate in performances both behind the scenes and onstage.
Hailing from Canora, Saskatchewan, Marianne Derow has been a director, performer, and educator for over 25 years here in Ontario and abroad. She has taught at the Etobicoke School of the Arts, holding the mantle of Head of the Music Theatre Department for a time and working with their award winning ensembles, Splash, Chamber Choir and Jamme. Recently, she has returned from living in Bangkok, Thailand, where she was the Arts and Activities Director for The International School Bangkok, one of Thailand’s premiere educational institutions for expat students.
With an extensive choral career, Marianne has appeared on CBC’s Two New Hours in works by R. Aiken and J. Beckwith, has been featured in performances of Mozart’s Coronation Mass and Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy and has appeared for several season of the Boris Brott Summer Music Festival as a soloist in Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Hershey Felder’s Noah’s Ark. As a member and assistant conductor of The Bach-Elgar Choir, she has shared the stage with noted Canadian artists NEXXUS, Canadian Brass, The Nylons, Michael Burgess, Jude Johnson, Celine Dion, The Elmer Isler Singers, and The Mendelssohn Choir. She was also featured in the Bach-Elgar Choir’s multi-media production of Voice of a City, the soundtrack recording made for the Biennial Conference of the Association of Conservation Authorities of Ontario. Marianne has toured the Czech Republic, Austria and Germany with Consort Caritatis and the United Kindgom with the Central Presbyterian Choir. A personal highlight was singing with a children’s entertainment group known as the Zig Zags while touring southern Ontario. Sesame Street has nothing on her!
Since moving to Toronto, Marianne has been busy working as a master class clinician and director. She has been the resident drama director for Building Blocks Speech Pathology, creating drama programs for high functioning autistic children. She has worked with students in The Master Class Series and in the No Strings Theatre Program, guiding them through the rigors of solo performing. For several years, she was the resident Music Director for The Toronto Youth Music Theatre Company and for The Stage Door Academy, where she has lead those young companies through their forays into the world of music theatre. She has been privileged to work with some of Canada’s premier opera companies; Canadian Opera Company, Opera Hamilton, Tapestry New Opera Works, and Toronto Operetta Theatre, to name a few. Marianne continues to work with students in her private studio Voxworx Studio and has had the pleasure of seeing her students onstage in Toronto’s Theatre District, in London’s Westend and of course, on Broadway.
Marianne is excited to begin this new chapter with Bravado; to see where the music takes us!
Ellen began her musical studies in the rich culture of Newfoundland and Labrador. At the age of five, her family purchased a used piano, and she began teaching herself to play the piano and read music. This was the beginning of a life-long passion for music. This passion led her to study piano performance and music education at Memorial University, where she received Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Music Education degrees.
Since completing her studies, Ellen has enjoyed many opportunities to share music through performing, conducting and teaching. Highlights of her career in Newfoundland include conducting the St. John’s Community Choir at the inaugural Festival 500 International Choral Festival, as well as the Newfoundland premiere of Celtic Mass for the Sea by Canadian composer Scott MacMillan.
In the year 2000 Ellen and her family moved to Barrie. She continues to teach and perform and currently she teaches vocal and instrumental music at Pickering College in Newmarket, where she conducts the Junior School Choirs, Middle School Jazz Band, and directs the Junior School Musical Theatre productions. This year she is looking forward to conducting the 300 voice Junior Choir at the Canadian Independent School Music Festival at Roy Thompson Hall.
Ellen believes in the power of music to change lives and build community, and loves sharing the traditional music of Newfoundland and Labrador. She is excited to be working with Bravado!
What is Choral Fusion?
Bravado presents 2 self-produced concerts each year in May and December. We support our community by performing for charitable events and we can also be hired for private functions.
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