Edmonton Swiss Men’s Choir – 40 Years of Music 1980/81- 2020/21
The concept of a Swiss Male Chorus was founded at an annual Landsgemeinde near Stettler, Alberta in June of 1980 by 10 Swiss compatriots, three of whom still sing with the Choir. In June of 1981 the Edmonton Swiss Men’s Choir Association was incorporated in Alberta; founding members were Erwin Baumann, John Buhler, Robert Fierz, Peter Gertsch, Thomas Huwiler, Peter Johner, Hermann Knupp, Werner Merlo, Peter Scholl and Karl Strickler.
In the fall of 1980 rehearsals began at the Edelweiss Club and new members were recruited from the Swiss community. A director, Dan Breda, was hired and music was obtained from Switzerland and so it began.
Fundraising was needed so the Choir held a Springfest and a Winzerfest. With six Swiss chefs in the group, selling tickets for the meal and dance was never difficult. These events were sold out successes and looked forward to by so many.
The Edmonton Swiss Men’s Choir has travelled and performed across Canada, made 6 concert tours of Switzerland and one concert tour of South America. They have also travelled and performed in the United States as members of the North American Swiss Singing Alliance (NASSA) and as regular guests at festivals of the United Swiss Singing Societies of the Pacific Coast (USSSPC). In addition to participating in many national and international events the ESMC has performed throughout Edmonton and Alberta.
There have been 181 singers involved with the choir to date. The ESMC has had only 3 conductors (Dan Breda, Faye Breda, Elizabeth Lesoway-Anderson) during its existence. There have been 4 accompanists and 1 assistant conductor. Elizabeth has led the choir now for some 34 years.
The Edmonton Swiss Men’s Choir has been instrumental in enhancing Swiss Culture locally and internationally and has been proud to represent Switzerland and the Swiss people wherever the choir has travelled. They make one proud to be Swiss.