History

Enriching Calgary culture for more than 45 years

40th-Anniversary-poster

Calgary Renaissance Singers and Players has been a proud part of this city’s musical landscape for the last 48 years! Founded by Dr. A. G. Petti in 1970, the choir specializes in performing Renaissance music and music that celebrates the spirit of the Renaissance.

CRSP has given Canadian-premiere performances of seminal Renaissance sacred works, such as the Monteverdi Vespers of 1610 (under Dr. Petti’s direction in 1977). The singers thrive on new creative opportunities: from commissioning and performing new choral works to using the local planetarium as a concert venue; from acting to playing instruments; and from collaborating with harpsichordists and recorder players to jamming with jazz saxophonists.

CRSP 40th anniversary photo

CRSP 40th anniversary photo

  Our Founding Director

The CRSP was founded in 1970 by Dr. Anthony (Tony) G. Petti, a professor of Renaissance English literature at the University of Calgary.

Chester-book-motets-amazonTony started the group as a way of demonstrating Medieval and Renaissance music and drama to his literature classes, and  then expanded it with a mandate for public performance. Concerts were, and still are, designed to educate as well as entertain. Tony was well known and loved for his dynamic narratives and flamboyant wit onstage, as well as his kindness and encouragement to all of us. Tony authored several “Chester Books” of motets that are still in use today by our choir and others.

Tony’s death in 1985 left us with a serious decision to face: should we disband the group, or carry on with new leadership? We did carry on, knowing that the future would challenge and enrich our community musically, professionally, and personally.

  Subsequent Artistic Directors

  • Peter Togni (who became the host of CBC’s “Weekender”),
  • Malcolm Edwards (a professor of choral conducting at the University of Calgary),
  • Susan Lyle (a professional singer and voice teacher),
  • David Wilson (a voice and yoga instructor who also founded Spiritus Chamber Choir),
  • Janet Youngdahl (an internationally recognized soprano who sings with the Sequentia recording group based in Germany),
  • Steve Weisbrod (a voice and piano teacher, musical theatre instructor and accompanist for several choirs).
  • Jean-Louis Bleau, who has also conducted the Airdrie Community Choir, the Calgary Men’s Choir, and the choir of St. Gerard’s Catholic Church in Calgary.
  • Jane Perry is our artistic director as of summer 2011. A classically-trained pianist, she is also Music Director at the Unitarian Church of Calgary and the founding conductor of One Voice Chorus.

Each director has enriched the choir’s experience and expanded its repertoire. We now perform choral works from the 12th through 21st centuries, but our primary focus remains the Renaissance and early Baroque periods.