SUBSIDIZED MUSIC LESSONS THIS SUMMER FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH!!
- Music lessons foster creativity, enjoyment and focused study habits. Metropolitan Downtown Music School offers affordable music lessons for children and youth.
- Lessons are offered in Voice, Guitar, Piano, Bass, Music Theory, Songwriting and Hand drumming.
- Musical instruction is offered in Classical, Folk, Rock, Jazz, R and B.
- Participants will be invited to take part in a voluntary group recital at the end of the summer, that may be attended by friends and family.
- Metropolitan Downtown Music School is funded and run by Metropolitan United Church of Toronto.
- Metropolitan Downtown Music School is a non-denominational arts outreach service, open to Toronto families of all backgrounds and beliefs.
- Students applying for private lessons in Guitar, Piano, Bass and Hand drumming will need to provide their own instrument.
- Lessons are 30 minutes long, and given on a weekly basis.
- Families will be required to pre-pay for 4 lessons at a time, at a a fee of $10 per lesson. The balance of the lesson fee will be funded by the Metropolitan Downtown Music School.
Please contact Metropolitan United Church
416-363-0331, ext. 0 and leave a message for Benjamin Stein.
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Music has always been important at Metropolitan. In 1930, the church installed the largest pipe organ in Canada (now with 8300 pipes). Metropolitan’s 32-voice choir is renowned across the country, and the Metropolitan Silver Band plays regularly at our services. The 54-bell carillon was the first tuned carillon in North America. Metropolitan United’s music program is led by Dr. Patricia Wright, the first ordained Minister of Music in Canada. More than one hundred people, from age 4 to 85, take part in musical programs at Metropolitan.
Each year, Metropolitan United organises its own concert season—choral, piano and organ concerts in the fall, oratorios at Christmas and Easter, the annual Carol Service at Christmas, free Noon at Met concerts on Thursdays, the famous Phantoms of the Organ show at Halloween, and special musical presentations through the year. The next important concert will be November 29: An Evening With Rachmaninoff, Chopin, Canteloube and others. Performers include the world-famous pianist Arthur Ozolins as well as Matthew Coons, and Lesley Bouza, soprano, accompanied by pianist James Bourne.
Metropolitan’s Casavant Organ
Metropolitan’s organ is the largest pipe organ in Canada and one of the largest church organs in the world. It has 8300 pipes ranging from a 32-foot (9.75m) low C to a half-inch (1 cm) high C. The organ console has five manuals (keyboards) for a total of 305 keys with 32 pedals for the low notes and 120 stops used to vary the tonal colour. Built by Casavant Frères of Quebec in 1930, the Metropolitan organ has always had a tonal palette which places it among the finest recital instruments. A gallery division of seven stops installed in 1998 makes it possible to play antiphonal music of contrasting sounds from the front and back of the church. An upgrade in 2005 to an electronic system now makes it possible to move the console for better visibility. The Metropolitan organ is in constant use for church services, Noon at Met Concerts, teaching, and student recitals.
Choral Music at Metropolitan
The Metropolitan Choir is an auditioned choir of 32 members who sing during Sunday worship and at special events. Thursday evening rehearsals prepare works for Sunday services and concert performances. The choir’s repertoire is very wide, ranging from 17th century composers such as Tallis and Schuetz, through Bach and Mendelssohn to 20th century composers such as Britten and Duruflé. The choir often features Canadian works, some of them written expressly for the group.
Five recordings by the Metropolitan Choir are available, including two Christmas discs: Gaudate and Noel! The Metropolitan Festival Choir is an augmented choir assembled for our annual Good Friday concert—a Toronto tradition of more than 30 years. The Festival Choir rehearses on Sunday afternoons for six weeks prior to Good Friday. Past repertoire has included Bach’s St. John Passion and B Minor Mass, various cantatas, and Fauré’s Requiem.
Music for Young People – and not-so-young people
Guided by our Minister of Music, Dr. Patricia Wright, more than 100 amateur musicians are involved in programs at Metropolitan United:
Sparklers—for children ages 4 to 6. On Sunday mornings, the children learn the basics of rhythm and unison singing.
Choristers—for children ages 7 to 11. These older children learn vocal technique, sight singing and musical concepts.
Great Heart—for teenagers. This group meets after the Sunday service. The group performs music from many traditions: classical, gospel, jazz and contemporary.
The Handbell Choir – Metropolitan United has a ten-member handbell choir that plays a wide repertoire of music, from traditional church music to arrangements of modern hymns and folk songs. The Handbell Choir plays a three-octave set of Schulmerich handbells donated in the memory of Peter Campbell and Roy Rigg. The group rehearses Thursday nights and plays for the congregation once each month.
The 54 bells of Metropolitan’s carillon are located high in the tower facing Queen Street. The instrument is played before each Sunday service and at many special events through the year. Installed in 1922, Metropolitan’s carillon was the first tuned carillon anywhere in North America. The bells in a carillon are sounded by clappers hung from the inside while the bells themselves remain motionless in their frame. This makes it possible to play music very quickly and to play many bells at the same time for harmony. The largest bell, or bourdon, in Metropolitan’s carillon weighs 8,456 pounds (3,836 kg). It is 72 inches (183 cm) in diameter, and is almost the same in height. The entire group of 54 bells weighs many tonnes, but Metropolitan’s bell tower, dating to 1872, was constructed with 7 foot thick walls to accommodate the weight.
Click here for our Bells of Metropolitan brochure.
The Metropolitan Silver Band
The Metropolitan Silver Band is an all brass and percussion ensemble in the English tradition that has called Metropolitan United Church home since 1934. Under the leadership of Music Director Fran Harvey, the band’s concert and service schedule includes twenty performances a year at church and concert venues in Toronto and the GTA. The band has also gone on five performance tours in Ontario, the Maritimes and the USA. The band performs during Metropolitan’s worship services six times a year and participates in the annual Carols United Concert in December.
The Silver Band has a long history of superb musicianship as demonstrated by their contest history and many excellent recordings. Their repertoire includes classics, marches, religious music, popular selections, and contemporary works written and arranged for brass band. The membership is made up of men and women from all faiths, many who travel long distances each week to attend rehearsal. For more information about the Metropolitan Silver Band, see their website at www.metband.ca .
Metropolitan's carillon, whose bells are located high in the tower facing Queen Street, is still played before each Sunday service and before our many special events, as it has been since April 2, 1922. On that date, Metropolitan's 50th anniversary was celebrated with the dedication of the first 23 bells in Metropolitan's carillon, marking the first installation of a tuned carillon anywhere in North America.
The original bells were donated by Chester Massey in memory of his wife Margaret. On each of these 23 bells is inscribed, "May the spirit of the Lord reach the heart of every one where the sound of these bells is heard." Twelve smaller bells were added in 1960 and another 19 bells were added in 1971, bringing the total to the current 54 bells.
The carillon is played from a pedal and key console housed in the tower in an insulated cabin just below the bells. The original key and pedal console from 1922 is preserved and is on display in the tower vestibule.
Tours of the carillon are usually conducted following worship services in the Christmas and Easter seasons, but can also be arranged by contacting our office.
Metropolitan has one of the finest music programs in Toronto, and is blessed with a number of ensembles. Here's a short description of each of them.
The Metropolitan Choir
The Metropolitan Choir is an auditioned choir of 32 members who sing regularly during worship and at special events. Thursday evening rehearsals are more than a time of preparation for Sunday Service, as choir members are truly a family of friends who minister to each other through their shared ministry of music to the congregation.
Metropolitan Festival Choir
The Metropolitan Festival Choir is an augmented choir assembled for our annual Good Friday concert (a Toronto tradition of more than 30 years). The Festival Choir rehearses on Sunday afternoons for the six weeks prior to Good Friday. Past repertoire has included Bach's St. John Passion and B Minor Mass, various Cantatas, and Faur's Requiem.
The Metropolitan Handbells rehearse on Thursday evenings under the direction of Dr. Patricia Wright. Our three-octave set of Schulmerich handbells was donated in memory of Peter Campbell and Roy Rigg.
Great Heart Ensemble
Metropolitan's music group for youth ages 12 and older. This ensemble rehearses on Sunday afternoons and sings a wide variety of music under the direction of composer-arranger and Metropolitan soloist Benjamin Stein.
This group for ages 7-11 rehearses on Sunday mornings at 10 am and participates in each Sunday Service. Everyone is welcome with no prior music experience. Part of each morning is devoted to the development of music reading skills.
This group meets on Sundays at 10 am and is a beginning music-education time for children ages 4-6, taught by Metropolitan choir member Jennifer Duke Martyn.
Celebrating our 75th year 2008-2009 !
The Metropolitan Silver Band was founded in 1931 and has been associated with Metropolitan United Church since 1934. The brass band is a special ensemble as it utilises only the instruments of the brass and percussion families.
The only brass band that we know of in the United Church of Canada, the Metropolitan Silver Band is a vital part of our music ministry. It rehearses in the Chancel Room on Tuesday evenings and plays during our worship services six times a year. In addition, the Silver Band presents a yearly spring concert and participates in our annual Carols United (carol service) in December. Our concert and service schedule of over 20 performances a year also sees us performing at a variety of churches, seniors' homes, and concert venues in the Greater Toronto Area.
Our repertoire includes classics, marches, the music of the great musicals, religious music, popular selections, and contemporary works written and arranged for brass band. All of the music (with the exception of the bass trombone part) are written in treble clef. The membership is made up up of men and women from all faiths. We currently have 30 members but we are always looking for new members. Since our musical programs change constantly, strong music reading skills are essential.
Our Conductor Fran Harvey played Flugelhorn and Solo Cornet with the band for many years before being named the conductor in April 2003. She holds Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Education degrees from the University of Toronto, where she studied trumpet with Larry Weeks, James Spragg, and Stephen Chennette. Her conducting teachers included Victor Feldbrill, Stephen Chennette and Diana Brault. Her musical experiences have ranged from playing fanfares for the Queen to orchestral and jazz performances all across North America. An active player and conductor in the GTA, Fran is also a Music Educator who has worked since 1987 for the York Region District School Board both as a teacher and an administrator.