The Saskatoon Men's Chorus consists of men from Saskatoon and area who meet every week between mid-September and April. These men come from many walks of life and most of them are members of church choirs and/or participate in other musical activities in their community.
The chorus began in 1980 and, with one exception, has presented at least one concert every year in Saskatoon and in other communities in Saskatchewan. In addition to public concerts, the Chorus has also sung at Special Care Homes in Saskatoon and in morning worship services in numerous churches in the city and surrounding communities.
The size of the chorus has varied from year to year. It began with 24 men and has grown to where the membership now is approximately 50.
The repertoire consists of a wide range of sacred and secular material including folk and traditional songs, spirituals, hymns and anthems, sea shanties, opera choruses as well as music from the classics.
During the 1997-98 season, the choir recorded 19 selections from its repertoire which were packaged on both compact disc and cassette tape for public sale. At the end of that season, Alf Driedger relinquished the post of music director. Gary Gullickson, an active member of the Saskatoon music community for over 40 years, then became the music director.
In the spring of this year, 2008, Gary announced that he was retiring from conducting the Chorus in order to pursue other interests. His enthusiasm for the Chorus, and for choral music in general, was an inspiration for the whole Chorus. He has the ability to choose music that is both challenging and gratifying for the chorus, as well as very enjoyable and inspiring for the audiences.
Starting with the 2008/2009 season, Lynn Driedger became the director of the Chorus. He is one of the Chorus' original members, and has been the assistant director since 1991. Lynn taught for 30 years in various schools in Saskatchewan, at both the high school and elementary school levels, working with their vocal and instrumental music programs.
With the commencement of the 2015/2016 season, Deborah Buck has joined the Chorus as co-director with Lynn. We are very pleased to have her with us; she brings to the Chorus a wealth of experience in choral conducting, stage work, voice instruction and singing.
Alf got his first teaching position in the town of Hanley. It was there, and in the Saskatoon East School Division, that he spent most of his teaching career. During his time in Hanley he led choirs in the high school and also did some music in the community as well. While on a year's sabbatical leave in Eugene Oregon, he sang in a male chorus based at the University of Oregon. This experience led to the idea of one day leading a similar group.
In the fall of 1980, with a proposed concert in mind, Alf invited to regular rehearsal a group of friends and acquaintances with the object of establishing a community chorus of men’s voices. The resulting concert, the first performance of the Saskatoon Men’s Chorus, was held on Dec. 7, 1980.
Since his retirement from teaching, Alf has assisted the Saskatoon Opera Association as its Chorus Master in a number of productions; has directed the Nutana Park Mennonite Church choir for a few years; and has directed a superannuated teachers’ chorus. He is a charter member of the Association of Canadian Choral Conductors.
Gary Gullickson has been an active member of the Saskatoon music community for over forty years. He is former head and professor of music education in the Department of Music, University of Saskatchewan. Gary is a life member of the Saskatchewan Music Educators Association and Past-President of the Sask. Choral Federation. His other community interests include Rotary and membership on the University of Saskatchewan Senate, the Saskatoon Symphony Board and the SaskCulture Board. He is also a director on the board of the Saskatoon Children’s Choir. Gary directed the Saskatoon Men’s Chorus from 1997 to 2008.
Lynn Driedger has his B. A. and B. Ed., both with a major in music, from the University of Saskatchewan. During his teaching career he has taught band, guitar and choral programs in the Hudson Bay School Unit, Nutana Collegiate and Bedford Road Collegiate; and has led the Girls’ Choir at Roland Michener Elementary School. Over the years, he has been a member of the University Wind Ensemble, Greystone Singers, Saskatoon Concert Band, and the Saskatoon Brass Band. He continues to sing in a number of other choirs and small groups, and play in the Bridge City Brass Band. Lynn is one of the original members of the Men’s Chorus.
In the spring of 2014, Deborah made her debut with SMC as a guest conductor, and in the fall of that year accepted the position of Co-Director. She is an alumna of the University of Saskatchewan Greystone Singers (for whom she currently serves as accompanist), has sung in Saskatoon Chamber Singers, and is a member of the Canadian Chamber Choir, whose recent CD has been nominated for a Juno for classical album of the year. In addition to co-directing SMC, she leads the choir of Augustana/St. Timothy’s Church, has led the chorus for Saskatoon Opera productions, and frequently directs music for theatre. Deborah received an M.A. from Queen’s and B.A. from U of S, and graduate diplomas in Piano and Piano Pedagogy from Trinity College of Music, London, England.