Our Story

Forte—Toronto Gay Men’s Chorus is one of Canada’s premier male choral ensembles with a membership proudly drawn from Toronto’s diverse LGTBQ+ community. 

Read all about our history in the Forte 20th Anniversary Yearbook!

Read all about our history in the Forte 20th Anniversary Yearbook!

Created by our three founding members in 1997, Forte has evolved through a wide range of performance styles and repertoires; from show tunes and “choir-ogrpahy,” to original and classical works. Today, our programming includes an exciting and challenging array of musical styles, presented in our annual Holiday and Pride-affiliated summer shows and our on-going Unzipped cabaret series at Buddies in Bad Times. We’ve also appeared at a variety of beloved LGBTQ+ community events include the Candlelight AIDS Vigil, Pride and Remembrance Run, Toronto Pride Flag Raising Ceremony at City Hall, Inspire Awards, Orlando/Pulse Nightclub Memorial, The Imperial Court of Toronto Coronation and the Toronto Mr. Leatherman competition. (What can we say? We like to get around.)

Other community partnerships and appearances include performing the Canadian Anthem at the first ever NFL You Can Play Night with the Toronto Argonauts; Canadian and US anthems at Toronto Blue Jays and Toronto Raptors games; an original audio installation at Nuit Blanche Toronto 2014; Voices of Toronto; National Ballet School of Canada; Breakfast Television; Mad Dog and Billie; the Unison Canadian Gay and Lesbian Choral Festival in Ottawa 2014, Winnipeg 2010, Vancouver 2006, Toronto 2002 and Edmonton 1998; and appeared in concert with Margaret Cho, Leona Boyd, Billy Newton Davis and Mary McCandless. In 2008, Forte was a National Semi-Finalist in Choral 2008, the bi-annual CBC National Radio-Canada Competition for Amateur Choirs, and a National Finalist in the 2010 National Choral Competition. In addition, Forte actively seeks to give back to the community through donated charity event concerts, most recently for the Campbellford Memorial Hospital Association and Durham Peel LGBTQ Youth Services with Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne.

 

Artistic Director Edward Connell

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Since 2002, Forte has been under the leadership of Edward Connell, one of Canada’s finest choral directors.  His diverse musical career includes many years creating music for professional theatre, as well as Head of Music Theory and Piano at the Alberta College Conservatory, and Music Director of Timothy Eaton Memorial Church, one of the largest church music programs in Canada.  Since 2005, he has also been concert pianist with The National Ballet of Canada, where he has performed as soloist for many productions. He and the National Ballet performed Chopin’s 24 Preludes as part of the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, as well as several performances in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City. Mr. Connell’s many academic honours include being named a Fellow of the Royal Canadian College of Organists with the Healey Willan Prize.

 

Our Vision And Values

Forte would be nothing without the incredible contributions of our members. Due to the great strengths that the incredible members of this organization bring, we are able to realize our goals of providing exciting opportunities and a sense of belonging, engaging with the community, promoting leadership and organizational experiences, and the creation of powerful music.

Our vision is to be one of North America’s premier men’s choral organizations and a progressive voice in the LGBTQ+ movement. Our mission is to bring voices together with a commitment to musical excellence to enrich the lives of our members and strengthen the community to which we so proudly belong.

We accomplish our vision and mission by passionately bringing our core values to life in everything that we do:

  • Musical Excellence
  • Inclusion & Diversity
  • Brotherhood
  • Community & Outreach