Founded in 1905 by Bruce Carey as The Elgar Choir, the ensemble quickly gained an excellent reputation, touring extensively and appearing with orchestras across the region, including the Cleveland Symphony. Following World War II, the choir merged with the Hamilton Bach Choir in 1946. As one of the longest running arts organizations in Canada, the BEC has a unique place in Hamilton’s social history, with generations of singers in its ranks. Its many musical accomplishments include the North American premiere of Verdi’s Requiem, lauded performances of masterpieces such as Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius and Mahler’s Symphony 2, and numerous commissions and dedications by Canadian composers like Nathanial Dett, Ruth Watson Henderson, and Matthew Emery. Today, the Bach Elgar Choir remains dedicated to bringing beautiful music to all members of our community. Its productions are among the most essential musical events in Hamilton.
The BEC produces choral repertoire of many genres at the highest artistic standard. Recent performances include Mozart’s Requiem, Handel’s Israel in Egypt, Brahms’ Requiem, and the celebrated annual presentation of Handel’s Messiah. BEC’s original live soundtrack of Fritz Lang’s 1927 film Metropolis was called one of 2019’s best performances by the Hamilton Spectator. The BEC proudly champions Canadian music and artists, recently performing Charles Demuynck’s Ah voltige mon amour, Jean Coulthard’s Quebec May, and James Rolfe’s Open Road. Appearing often with the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra and employing extraordinary local and national solo vocal talent, the BEC is proud to be an intrinsic part of Hamilton’s thriving and evolving arts scene.