Charitable Choices: Lisa Collins of Kantorei Choral Society

Kantorei Choral Society, the strategic and funding support for Mount Royal Kantorei, a renowned auditioned adult choir, is making a significant impact in Calgary’s music scene. With regular performances at prestigious venues and participation in community events, Kantorei Choral Society brings the joy and benefits of community singing to audiences throughout the year. Founded in 1995, the choir has grown and diversified its repertoire, featuring contemporary choral works by acclaimed artists. We spoke with Lisa Collins, the President of the Kantorei Choral Society, to find out more about them.

Kantorei Choral Society
Photo by: Bella Center

Describe your charity/non-profit/volunteer work in a few sentences.

Kantorei Choral Society is the strategic and funding support for Mount Royal Kantorei. Mount Royal Kantorei is an auditioned adult choir based at Mount Royal University Conservatory. In addition to regular concerts at the Taylor Centre’s Bella Concert Hall, our choristers sing at events throughout the year including ProArts, The Mayor’s Celebration of the Arts, community concerts at the Zoo, and care facilities. We have produced a number of award-winning music videos in support of cancer and mental health.

What problem does it aim to solve?

Community singing is as old as society itself. Recent research has demonstrated that it boosts our immune system, increases our ability to cope with stress, and improves our mental health. Some studies have linked improvements to cognition in persons with Alzheimer’s disease and swallowing & speech related to Parkinson’s disease. Just listening to choral music has positive benefits and those benefits only increase for choristers!

When did you start/join it?

Mount Royal Kantorei was established in 1995

What made you want to get involved?

Choral music has been profoundly impactful over the course of my life. When I moved to Calgary, I was interested in finding an organization that I could be a part of that had meaning in the community. Choral music touches on every aspect of the human experience and Mount Royal Kantorei captures that each season – whether that experience is joy, silliness, heartache, grief, yearning and so on. I’m absolutely honoured to be a part of this organization.

What was the situation like when you started?

I joined Kantorei a couple of years prior to COVID-19. At that time, Kantorei had seen tremendous growth. We were experiencing packed concerts and our internal sense of community had just started to peak. The board, like many small non-profits, was a stalwart group of dedicated individuals who wanted to see the choir and society by extension grow and develop. I was thrilled to be elected president for our 2020/2021 season and re-elected since.

How has it changed since?

Over nearly 30 years, Mount Royal Kantorei has increased the variety of its repertoire taking on more contemporary choral works by contemporary choral masters like Jake Runestad (Grammy Winner) and Eric Whitacre (Grammy & Richard Rogers Winner). We still like to feature Canadian artists in our seasonal works. Most recently we have moved from a pure performance choir to hosting the Kantorei Choral Festival so that other choirs can benefit from educational opportunities working with international choral masters. In the last couple of years, we have had an increase in financial assistance from our choristers impacted by the economic downturn.

What more needs to be done?

Like many performing arts organizations the public is still finding its feet when it comes to live performances, we want our audiences to know that we take their safety very seriously and hope that they join us for our next concert 300 Voices! in April 2024. In addition, support for choirs is a real challenge. We would welcome support from those attending our concerts, to assist with music purchases, and our subsidy funds to support choristers’ fees and production costs.

How can our readers help?

The biggest help would be to make an unrestricted donation to Kantorei Choral Society via Canada Helps. In this way, we can apply even the smallest donation where it is needed most, whether that is chorister assistance, music purchases, or chorister education.

Do you have any events coming up?

In late May/early June we look forward to our season-end concert. This event will feature Mount Royal Kantorei capturing highlights from the 2023/2024 season.

Where can we follow you?

YouTube | Facebook | LinkedIn | Website

PAY IT FORWARD: What is an awesome local charity that you love?

Each year, Mount Royal Kantorei members choose a charity of choice which we support as an organization and as individual choristers. This year we are pleased to support the Calgary Food Bank.



About Emilea Semancik 111 Articles
Emilea Semancik was born in North Vancouver. Emilea has always always wanted to work as a freelance writer and currently writes for the Vancouver Guardian. Taking influence from journalism culture surrounding the great and late Anthony Bourdain, she is a recipe author working towards publishing her own series of books. You can find her food blog on Instagram: