(Well known as the founding Music Director of Ottawa’s Canadian Military Wives Choir which she led for ten years, Allison Houston is the new Music Director of the West Ottawa Ladies Chorus. The Chorus is performing their first in-person concerts of We Need a Little Christmas on December 1st and 2nd at St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Kanata.)
With the holiday season in the minds of many, the West Ottawa Ladies Chorus (WOLC) are delighted to bring joy to the community with their upcoming concert performances of We Need a Little Christmas on December 1st and 2nd. The chorus made up of almost 40 members have been practicing, rehearsing and sharing their music online during the past couple of years due to the pandemic. This is WOLC’s first in-person performance under the direction of their new music director, Allison Houston, and of course, accompanied by their long-time pianist, Peter Brown.
We Need a Little Christmas promises to be a colourful concert delivering a virtual mosaic of music celebrating winter and the holiday season layered in four-part harmony. First and second sopranos lift notes gently to the rafters while first and second altos provide warm undertones. Chorus member Vivian McLean plays her beloved Bodhran during many of the performances.
The WOLC is also thrilled to have two special guests at this year’s Christmas performances – Chad Wolfe and Mark Allen.
Chad Wolfe is the Canadian open stepdance champion, dance choreographer and an award-winning fiddler. He was the principal fiddler in Ottawa’s “Oh Canada EH?”, the Mirvish production “The Needfire” and toured with Memories of a Don Messer Jubilee. He has performed with Natalie MacMaster, Donnell Leahy, Ashley MacIsaac and The Great Canadian Fiddle Show. Chad has dedicated his career to preserving these time-honoured Canadian traditions not only through performing, but also teaching.
Mark Allen is a musician who has performed and composed music for community and professional theatre productions as well as for heritage music events. He was recently appointed a member of the North Bay Musicians Hall of Recognition for his contributions to the Arts over the years as a music director and co-composer that were unique to the area. He continues to be involved with theatre groups in Ottawa and has more recently developed a love for accompanying at fiddle events.
In May of 2023, Allison Houston became the third Music Director of the West Ottawa Ladies Chorus. Allison grew up in the choral traditions of this country, as a member of the Saskatchewan Honour Choir, the Manitoba Youth Choir, and the National Youth Choir. She has been the Assistant Conductor of the Manitoba Youth Choir. She has a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Brandon University, and a Masters in Music in Voice from Arizona State University. Allison has been a professional soloist, chorister, accompanist, and classroom music educator.
Allison was a chorister and soloist on CBC TV’s long running ‘Hymn Sing’. Allison has soloed with the National Arts Center Orchestra in the ballet ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, and even had the opportunity to conduct the NACO during one of their Family concerts! She has sung with the Cantata Singers of Ottawa, and the original Opera Lyra.
Allison is currently the Music Director of Stittsville United Church, and is involved with the Kanata Theatre, both onstage and backstage. She was honoured to be the founding Music Director of the Canadian Military Wives Choir, Ottawa, and led that choir for ten years. Always one to enjoy new challenges, Allison is very happy to join the community of the West Ottawa Ladies Chorus, in this their thirteenth season.
“The WOLC is thrilled to have Allison as our new Director and look forward to what the future holds for us as she takes us to new heights,” shared members of the chorus.
Chorus members are looking forward to the in-person performances at St. Paul’s Anglican Church at 20 Young Road in Kanata. There are two shows – Friday, December 1st at 7:00pm and the second being held on Saturday, December 2nd at 3:00pm. Tickets are available for $25 online (children under 12 are free) at https://westottawaladieschorus.ca/.
We love to sing wherever the opportunity arises; in Seniors residences and other places as well, including for shoppers at a grocery store. Our music is diverse, upbeat and fun and there’s something for everyone to enjoy!