Our Story

Seton Cantata Choir, in existence for over 30 years, strives to be the best of its type in the area.  The relatively small size (30 to 40 members) helps to achieve, as a first priority, a choral sound of high vocal quality with an excellent balance and blend of voices.  The Artistic Director is Garth MacPhee and the Piano Accompanist is Dean Bradshaw.

Seton is an SATB ensemble founded in 1983.  Singing a wide variety of music from the classical to the contemporary, the choir has premiered new works by Canadian composers.  In addition to its two concert programs per year, Seton performs for special events such as Festival 500, an international choral festival held in St. John’s, NL, and the 100-Year Memorial Concert commemorating the Titanic disaster. This past year, concerts were performed in November and May at the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts.  The fall concert, "Magnificat", featured works by John Rutter, Franz Liszt and Giovanni Pergolesi.  The spring concert, "To Everything There is a Season", presented works by Hubert Parry, Edward Elgar, Pete Seegar, Stan Rogers and Leon Dubinsky.   In September of 2018, Seton began a new existence as the official adult choir of the Maritime Conservatory.  In future, all rehearsals and performances will be held at the Conservatory and choir members will be registered as members of the Conservatory. 

In 2018 Seton initiated a Choral Scholar program which awards a free one-year membership in both the choir and the Maritime Conservatory.  Our first Choral Scholar was Ryan Harris who is working on a Bachelor of Science degree at Dalhousie University.  Our second Choral Scholar is Marianna Saunders, a recent graduate from the University of King's College with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Psychology.  Choral Scholarships were recently awarded to Riley Pilapil and Jaimee Lee-Bagley.

All those with previous choral experience and some ability to read music are invited to join Seton.  New members and old members absent for a year or more will be asked to attend a short audition.  The membership fee is $265 ($200 for Seton and $65 for the Maritime Conservatory) for the choral season, September through May,
or $135 ($100 for Seton and $35 for the Maritime Conservatory) per term.

Artistic Director Garth MacPhee is a native Nova Scotian and a graduate of Church Music at McGill University (MMus, 2006), where he studied organ with John Grew and
Dr. William Porter. He brings over 25 years of experience as a professional church musician.  Among his several appointments, he served as Music Director at St. George’s Round Church in Halifax, NS, 1997-2000; at St. John the Divine in Victoria, BC; at St. John the Evangelist in Montreal, PQ, 2004-2011; and at Temple Emanu-El Beth Shalom, also in Montreal, 2007-2011.  While in Montreal, he studied choral conducting with Michael Zaugg and voice with the late Jan Simons.  Garth returned to St. George's in 2011.  In addition to his liturgical work there, including the training of the adult and children’s choirs, he is the music coordinator for St George’s YouthNet, which offers after-school programs to inner-city youth.  Garth is the musician in residence for the Anglican Formation Programme at the Atlantic School of Theology, playing for the weekly Eucharist and giving private voice lessons to Anglican postulants.  He is an experienced pianist and harpsichord player and is in demand as an accompanist and choral tenor.  Garth came to Seton at the beginning of the 2014-15 season.

Piano Accompanist Dean Bradshaw received his musical training at the University of Toronto where his teachers included Jane Coop (piano) and Oscar Morawetz (composition).  After graduation he joined the staff of the National Ballet of Canada.  He taught piano and theory at the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts and is currently an accompanist and keyboard harmony instructor at Dalhousie University.  He is organist and choir director at St. James United Church in Dartmouth.  He has given solo recitals, played vocal and chamber music concerts and given concerto performances.  Dean has been piano accompanist with Seton since the 2010-2011 season. 

The Choir, 14 December, 2014 at Bethany United Church, Halifax

The Choir, 14 December, 2014 at Bethany United Church, Halifax