Guelph Community Singers

They Make It Happen

They’re the bread to our butter. The musical notes to our silence. The exclamation mark at the end of our sentence. Rachel Cleland, our music director, and Grace Peters, our accompanist, lead the Guelph Community Singers. We asked them…

rachelRachel Cleland, Director

Q: What’s your absolute favourite part of being the director of the Guelph Community Singers? 

A: Hanging out with this incredible group of people and, of course, seeing Grace every Wednesday!

Q: If you could perform any piece of music in any venue, what would you choose and why?

A: Ok, I am going to have to say a whole role: Tosca by Puccini! The music is epic and she is one character that I really like. She’s fiery, passionate, kind, compassionate, innocent, and full of strength in many ways AND she gets to sing my favourite aria, Vissi D’Arte (I’ve lived for art, I’ve lived for love).

Q: When do you find yourself singing?

A: I sing loads, being a conductor and teaching kids’ music classes, but my favourite time to sing is in the car with my boys, Josh and Davide. And you will hear us singing “Shake it Off” by Taylor Swift or “Weight of the World” by Chantal Kreviazuk.

Q: Finish this sentence: “My guilty pleasure that I enjoy too much to give up is…”

A: Chocolate… dark chocolate, preferably Green Black 80% Dark Chocolate. But in a pinch, any dark chocolate will do!

graceGrace Peters, Accompanist

Q: What’s your absolute favourite part of being the accompanist for the Guelph Community Singers? 

A: My favourite part is working with this incredible group of people! Everyone treats me so well and Rachel always makes me laugh. We also perform some pretty awesome music and that means more time for me at the piano, which is where I love to be.

Q: If you could perform any piece of music in any venue, what would you choose and why?

A: Chopin’s “Fantasie-Impromptu,” because I love to play Chopin and this piece always wows me.

Q: When do you find yourself singing?

A: I sing all the time! My daughter and I respond to each other often via our favourite song lyrics and Broadway show tunes. There is a lot of music in our house. I also sing while I drive and air-drum too. 🙂

Q: Finish this sentence: My guilty pleasure that I enjoy too much to give up is…

A: Reading. I read all the time, and usually have a pile of books at my bedside because I can’t read just one at a time.

Their Experience

Rachel Cleland

Our talented Artistic Director, British-Canadian soprano Rachel Cleland, has energetically led the Guelph Community Singers for three years. She is also Artistic Director of the Woman to Woman choir and Assistant Conductor for We Are One Jazz. Rachel is committed to music education. She has worked with the Canadian Opera Company, Centauri Summer Arts, the Jane Austen Society of North America, Queen’s University (Belfast), York University (Ontario), Gideon’s International, and numerous other schools and charitable organizations across Canada. She has taught music to underprivileged children for 10 years with DARE Arts and continues to teach children’s musical classes at the Cambridge Centre for the Arts.

Ms. Cleland’s voice has been hailed as astonishing, florid, full and agile. Her 2014/2015 season began with her debut as the title role in Tosca for Opera York. Her recent engagements include two solo recitals, Leonore in “Il Trovatore,” her second Beethoven’s “9th Symphony,” and several opera highlights concerts.

Grace Peters

Guelph Community Singers’ accompanist Grace Peters has kept us sounding our best since our 2011-2012 season. She is also the Musical Director and Pianist at Holy Rosary Catholic church and the Director and Pianist for the Gracenotes Chamber choir, which she founded in 2019. She has also been a pianist for the Royal City School of Ballet for 18 years. Grace is an incredibly talented pianist with a Master of Arts in Musicology and Ethnomusicology, and her associateship in Piano Pedagogy from the Royal conservatory of music. She also teaches piano and theory, vocal coaches, performs as a soloist and within chamber ensembles, directs and performs musical theatre, and works as an accompanist. She has also recently joined a piano, viola, clarinet trio. Her patience knows no bounds, and she carries us to heights we could not reach without her! (seriously, she is our secret weapon!) Thank you, Grace, for giving us our cues, for keeping us grounded, and for making such sweet music with us.

Quotes from our members

  • “Great people singing can never be anything but wonderful.”

  • “I love that the pieces chosen are challenging but doable. I love the inclusivity of it.”

  • “I enjoyed hearing how we sounded in the end. All that hard work paid off. Such a great harmonized sound.”

  • “I like challenging myself to sing songs I never thought I could.”

  • “I’m so glad to be part of this choir. I find it very grounding.”

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