Carolyn has lived in Ontario (Windsor, London, Ottawa, Toronto, Collingwood) all her life. She has two adult children who live in Toronto. Carolyn has sung in musical theatre and consistently in choirs, although she took a break while she was raising her children.
Carolyn has a degree in English Literature and Film History, and another in Theatre (Set and Costume Design). She has worked as an arts administrator supporting a diverse range of disciplines since 1994. Carolyn is always ready to try new things, and loves organizing. Besides singing, she enjoys being outdoors, hiking, skiing, swimming and gardening.
Echo: What is your musical background?
CG: I sang in a “triple trio” in public school and did musical theatre in high school. I also took singing lessons for several years, which I enjoyed immensely. At university, I sang with the Carleton University Choir.
My mother had a beautiful singing voice and sang all the time around the house. My father did musical theatre when they were first married. He also had a beautiful (tenor) voice.
Echo: What type of music do you most enjoy listening to?
CG: During the pandemic, I got a subscription to Spotify as a way to get access to all sorts of music, and I’m totally addicted now. I listen to Rock and Roll from the Seventies and Eighties and disco because it’s what I grew up on, and World Music (North African, Turkish). Through my work, I come in contact with local composers, whom I can access and go deeper into their music through different playlists.
Echo: How long have you been with Echo? Is it a good fit for you?
CG: Yes, a very good fit for me. I started in 2010. I took a brief hiatus when I had cancer and couldn’t go to rehearsals. Then I came back a few years later and have been singing ever since. I chose Echo because I was a hockey mom to both my son and daughter, and we had hockey every single night except Tuesdays. I looked at the Choirs Ontario website and chose Echo because they rehearse Tuesday nights. I came to the choir cold; I knew nothing about the repertoire, members or venue. And I fell in love right away—with [the artistic directors] and with the women in the choir. It was a wholly different kind of music than I had sung before. Protest songs and folk music fit with my world view, though not my musical background. I was introduced to songs with a tradition and message. It’s been fantastic!
Echo: What would you say to someone to encourage them to join Echo?
CG: It is a warm and inviting community of singers. I felt at home right away. I have been introduced to songs and music (Georgian music, Shape Notes) that I would never have stumbled upon on my own.
Echo: What do you hope to contribute to the board?
CG: I’m hoping to help Echo find new ways of funding (a skill I have developed by working for a funder) to bring in more money to help us make our music. Also, I think we do a good job of addressing social and economic diversity among our members, but we need to work on increasing racial and age diversity, and to help new singers to join the choir. Increasing the public events that we participate in, like Sing! [The Toronto Vocal Arts Festival] may be good ways to attract new singers.