Choir History

1969

  • Oriana Singers meet for the 1st time to sing madrigals and ancient church music for their own enjoyment.
  • The choir is soon invited to perform concerts and to provide choral music for church services and theatrical productions.

1970 - 1979

  • Busy Winter and Spring seasons in the Cobourg-Port Hope area, and in various major centres in southern Ontario.
  • Participated in many events of local significance - Cobourg Sesquicentennial Celebrations and the gala reopening of Victoria Hall in Cobourg.
  • Won first prize at the Oshawa and Toronto Kiwanis Festivals, performing in the Festival of Stars at the St. Lawrence Centre.

1980

  • Their very high standing leads to their entry in the 1980 National Competitive Festival where they win the City of Lincoln Challenge Trophy as best chamber choir in Canada.

1985

  • Win the Fred Everett Memorial prize for excellence in choral singing the Toronto Kiwanis Festival.

1995

  • Commission Toronto composer Ruth Watson Henderson to write a setting of Psalm 150 to celebrate the 25th anniversary season.
  • Retirement of Beryl Maguire, founding director of twenty-five years
  • Robert Grandy, co-director since 1993, becomes director until 1997, followed by Randy Mills.

1998

  • Marie Anderson is welcomed as conductor.

2007

  • Marie leaves the group to continue her education and is replaced by Markus Howard, artistic director and conductor to this day.

Past Directors

1970-1995

Beryl Maguire
Founding Director and Director Emeritus

1995-1997

Robert Grandy

1997-1998

Randy Mills

1998-2007

Marie Anderson

Our 2005 website
is still alive and is an interesting snapshot of the way we were then.
Origin of "Oriana" 
The name Oriana dates from the era of Queen Elizabeth I of England, when the art of madrigal writing was at its peak. The name Gloriana, shortened to Oriana, was a fanciful name for the Monarch. The finest composers of the time contributed beautiful and intricate compositions to a series of madrigals known as The Triumphs of Oriana as a tribute to the Queen. Each song from the group ended with the refrain, “Long Live Fair Oriana”.