Hark! We are now SOLD OUT.
Hark! A Christmas Concert with The Choir of MCC Toronto & Special Guests will be hosted at our home at 115 Simpson Avenue on December 4, with both 3 PM and 7 PM performances. Along with the always stellar Choir of MCC Toronto, we are thrilled to welcome some of our favourite musical guests including Mark Cassius, Lauren Margison, Shannon McCracken, Julie Michels, Jackie Richardson, and Cantor David Rosen, all under the music direction of Jason Jestadt.
MCC Toronto is honoured to have received a gift from The Estate of Lee Hill. These performances are dedicated to his memory.
Mark Cassius is a concert and musical theatre artist. He is a graduate of Sheridan College’s Music Theatre Program and is presently working on a Masters degree in Music Composition at York University.
He is highly recognized for his work as a member of the world-renowned acapella group, The Nylons (1997–2005). On Broadway, he has performed in Ragtime, the revivals of Shenandoah (1989) and Jesus Christ Superstar (2012). Other musical theatre credits include Cats (Canadian Premier), The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber In Concert, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (with Donny Osmond), Miss Saigon, Showboat, and The Musical of Musicals (The Musical) (Broadway World “Best Actor” nominee).
He has been featured at both the Shaw and the Stratford Festivals. At Stratford, the role of “Mr. Magix” in My One and Only (2008), won him critical acclaim. He is a performance instructor at the Randolph College for the Performing Arts and is completely dedicated to the nurturing of the artist. Sharing at MCC Toronto is always a joy and an absolute blessing.
Follow him on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @TheMarkCassius
Soprano Lauren Margison is making her mark as a young artist of note. An alumna of the Canadian Opera Company’s Ensemble Studio, she was a member of the prestigious Atelier lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal, a laureate of Jeune Ambassadrice Lyrique, and the youngest finalist to appear in the prestigious Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg Vocal Competition.
A versatile soprano, she has performed extensively both in Canada and internationally, specializing in classical, jazz and pop repertoire. Some highlights include performances for Opera Ontario, the TD Toronto Jazz Festival, The Beaches Jazz Festival, the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival, the Cincinnati Pops, and the Hannaford Street Silver Band.She has shared the stage with such distinguished artists as Gordon Lightfoot, Rufus Wainwright, Russell Braun, Isabel Bayrakdarian, Measha Brueggergosman, Nicole Cabell, Louise Pitre, Sheila McCarthy, The Tenors, Jackie Richardson, Rex Harrington, Elaine Overholt, and her father, Richard Margison.She has also been part of the four-member female vocal group ‘The Real Divas,’ whose CD, Café Society, is currently in release.
Lauren also performs across Canada with her father, Richard Margison, in their vocal duo ‘Back to Back,’ and continues to hone her vocal art under the tutelage of her father and her mom, Valerie Kuinka.
Shannon McCracken is a singer, actor, voice-over artist and teacher.
Some of Shannon’s oratorio work includes Handel’s Messiah, Vivaldi’s Gloria, and Bach’s Magnificat in D Major. As well as frequenting as a guest soloist for choirs and orchestras, Shannon has been featured in cabarets at the Banff Centre, with New Stages,and at the inaugural Women of Musical Theatre Festival in Toronto, and her recital and concert work have taken her across Canada.
On the stage, some of Shannon’s favourite credits include: Esme in the world premiere of Buying the Farm (Port Stanley Festival Theatre); Galinda in Wicked;Amalia in She Loves Me (CMTP); Oklahoma! and The Sound of Music (Port Hope Festival Theatre); and Barbarina in The Marriage of Figaro (Opera Laurier).Shannon teaches voice from her home studio in Peterborough, loves going for walks with her dog, and is excited to be a part of MCC Toronto this week.
Julie Michels is, quite simply, a woman with a beautiful voice. She sings everything and anything that catches her ear: jazz standards, rhythm and blues, Brazilian sambas, African chanting – in a world full of music, it’s a banquet of sound just too delicious to pass up! She has played with George Koller, Ottawa’s Chelsea Bridge, Kevin Barrett and her bands Sutra and The Parley at many popular jazz venues including the Montreal Bistro, Top of the Senator, the Rex, Hugh’s Room, Ottawa’s National Arts Centre, Toronto’s own Statler’s and Canadian and European festivals.
Julie’s CDs include Singing Naked (duets with bassist George Koller), Live at Statler’s (with guitarist Kevin Barrett), the soundtrack for Pivoting Echoes (debuted with one of Canada’s premier dance companies, the Decidedly Jazz Danceworks) and Seriously Happy with the Royal Jelly Orchestra.
Julie is a featured artist on The Choir’s second CD, Connected: Songs for the Heart, which is available for sale at our Information Centre and online on iTunes. Julie is also one third of the popular trio Broadsway, also featuring Heather Bambrick and Diane Leah. For details, go to their website: www.thebroadswayshow.com
Jackie Richardson is one of Canada’s foremost singers of gospel, blues and jazz on stage and on screen. She has received the Canadian Black Achievement Award and the Toronto Blues Society Lifetime Achievement Award, and has been nominated for Dora, Juno, Jessie, Betty, Gemini and NAACP Awards.
In 2011, she received a Gemini for her work in The Gospel According to the Blues. Jackie has shared the stage with countless great musicians, including Salome Bey, Celine Dion, Maureen Forrester, Oliver Jones, Anne Murray and Mavis Staples.
Cantor David Rosen is senior cantor and music director at Toronto’s Holy Blossom Temple.
He is a sought-after performer of Jewish and secular music, and has performed in concerts across the United States, Canada, and Europe. His rich, versatile baritone voice has allowed him to sing a wide repertoire of music, from traditional Chazzanut to Broadway showtunes.
He recently produced and was a soloist in “Gifts of Light,” an interfaith virtual concert to raise money for the United Way’s Cantor Rosen serves as adjunct faculty at the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music at Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion. He is a member of the Cantors’ Assembly, a past president of the Toronto Council of Hazzanim, and a member of the executive board of the American Conference of Cantors, where he sits on the ethics committee and the admissions panel.
COVID Relief Fund. The event attracted thousands of virtual viewers and included stars such as Steven Page, Richard Margison, and musicians from the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.
In 2021, Cantor Rosen launched the Holy Blossom Centre for Arts and Culture, a multi-disciplinary centre attracting performers and educators from around the globe who perform and teach at Holy Blossom Temple, serving both its membership and the community at large.
Important Note: Those over the age of 12 will be asked to show a Vaccine Passport QR code or proof of vaccination and complete an easy contact tracing form when they arrive. Please also note that attendance to the event will be limited to 200 guests to ensure social distancing and that masks will need to be worn at all times.
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