The Saskatoon Men’s Chorus consists of men from Saskatoon and area who meet every week between mid-September and April. The singers come from many walks of life and backgrounds, and have joined together because of a common love of singing.
Under the leadership of Alfred Driedger, 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 singers have also sung at Special Care Homes, community events, and in morning worship services in numerous churches in the city and surrounding communities.
The repertoire consists of a wide range of sacred and secular material including folk and traditional songs, spirituals, hymns and anthems, sea shanties, as well as music from the classics. The singers take special pride in performing the works of Canadian composers.
Alf Driedger conducted the Chorus through its first 17 years. Since the 1997-98 season, the singers have been lead by various directors; Gary Gullickson, Lynn Driedger, and now Deborah Buck. Deborah started with SMC in the 2015/2016 season as co-director with Lynn, but soon after took on the role of Director.
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 a group of friends and acquaintances to a few rehearsals, 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. After a year to regroup and decide on the Chorus’ future, it was started up again in the fall of 1982. Each year would see at least two public concerts in Saskatoon, along with providing music for services at various churches in and around the city. Out-of-town concerts were also part of the season’s schedule, all done in the effort of promoting choral music in the province.
He continued to lead the Chorus until the spring of 1997. Over the years, Alf also assisted the Saskatoon Opera Association as its Chorus Master in a number of productions; directed the Nutana Park Mennonite Church choir for a few years; and started a retired teachers’ chorus. Through all his work in the community, he became a Charter Life Member of the Association of Canadian Choral Conductors in 1988.
Up until his passing in 2020, he attended SMC concerts when his health allowed, and showed a keen interest in the doings of the Chorus.
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 Saskatchewan 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 University of Saskatchewan, and graduate diplomas in Piano and Piano Pedagogy from Trinity College of Music, London, England.
Karen Reynaud holds a Bachelor Degree in Piano Performance as well as a Master Degree in Chamber Music and Accompanying from the University of Saskatchewan. She has accompanied many vocalists and instrumentalists and has played for Saskatoon Boys’ Choir, University Chorus, Cecilian Singers and Saskatoon Opera. Karen is the Director of Operations for the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra. She is also a member of the Saskatoon Registered Music Teachers’ Association and maintains a private teaching studio. Karen continues to work as a collaborative pianist and enjoys making music with the Saskatoon Men’s Chorus.