The beautiful artwork displayed in our banner depicts a shtetl (village) scene, and was created by the late progressive labour artist Avrom Yanovsky for the Toronto Jewish Folk Choir's production of 'Oyfn Fidl' (On the Fiddle) in the early 1970's.

"Annual Spring Concert of the Toronto Jewish
Folk Choir"

Choir 2013 Spring Concert


"по русски"



What is the Toronto Jewish Folk Choir? 

The Toronto Jewish Folk Choir, founded in 1925, is an amateur choral group with a musical repertoire drawn from the heritage of the Jewish people throughout the ages. The Choir performs under its conductor, Alexander Veprinsky, with accompanist, Lina Zemelman.

The Choir's aim is to preserve and maintain our secular Yiddish heritage and experience and continues to express in song the Yiddish working-class culture upon which it is founded. Its extensive repertoire draws on Yiddish folk and working-class songs, and compositions inspired by the humanistic classics of a thousand years of Yiddish literature. In addition, Israeli, Canadian, and international folk songs are performed in Yiddish, Hebrew, Ladino, French, Russian, and English.

The Choir also performs works on Jewish themes by classical composers and strives to enhance contemporary Jewish culture through the commissioning of new works by Jewish-Canadian composers. Among the well-known composers who have written works for the Choir over the years are John Weinzweig, Louis Applebaum, Milton Barnes, Srul Irving Glick, Ben Steinberg and Leon Zuckert.

Rehearsals are held at the Winchevsky Centre Wednesday evenings at 7:30 p.m. New singers are always welcome in all sections.

“The choir’s CD, Remembering Our Roots, containing beloved Yiddish songs, and songs in other languages, is available for purchase.” 

For more information about joining the Choir, please contact Luba Gatt at 905-669-5906. To email the Toronto Jewish Folk Choir, click here.

A Bit of Choir History
In 1925, a few Jewish immigrant factory workers got together and founded the "Freiheit Gezangs Farein" (Freedom Choral Society) - the predecessor of the Toronto Jewish Folk Choir - and gave its first spring concert in 1926 under the baton of Hyman Riegelhaupt.

A turning point in the Choir's history came in 1939, when Emil Gartner took the Choir to its greatest heights andestablished its reputation for memorable annual concerts. For the next 20 years, under Gartner's baton and with a 140-strong chorus, the Choir performed on the stage of Toronto's Massey Hall, accompanied by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, with such renowned singers as Paul Robeson, Jan Peerce, Regina Resnick, Jenny Tourel and Lois Marshall.

Over the years, The Choir continues to achieve a high level of musicality and interpretation of the Yiddish repertoire. Today, the Choir has about thirty-five members and has a busy performing schedule with our Annual Spring Concert, concerts at the Baycrest Home for the Aged, Jewish Music Month, Centre, Winchevsky Centre events, as well as at various other community centres and cultural events. The Choir has also participated in the "Zimrya" Choral Festival in Toronto, Festival Canada 1997, sponsored by the National Arts Centre, and at the semi-annual performed at the Ashkenaz Festivals of New Yiddish Culture held in Toronto.

"Keeping the Flame Alive" is a video made in 1995 by filmmaker Alan Collins documenting some of the history of the choir and capturing the strength and vitality of it as it made its mark on the Yiddish cultural scene in Toronto over several decades.

December 1949 - the first of the 25th year Jubilee Concerts with guest artist Paul Robeson, conductor Emil Gartner, accompanist Fagel Gartner, at Massey Hall in Toronto, Ontario.