Payback time for Choir School alumni

  • October 5, 2007
{mosimage}TORONTO - Kevin Hearn of the Canadian pop band the Barenaked Ladies, jazz singer Matt Dusk, tenors John McDermott and Michael Burgess and concert pianist Stewart Goodyear are all St. Michael’s Choir School alumni who have gone on to become successful musicians both here and abroad. As a tribute to the school for its 70th anniversary, they will all perform at Roy Thomson Hall Oct. 15 at 7:30 p.m. along with the Canada Pops Orchestra and the boys of St. Michael’s Choir School.

“I’m happy that I get a chance to give back,” said Hearn, keyboardist for the Barenaked Ladies. Hearn’s bandmates will join him for the concert.

“I was drawn to the Choir School because music was such a big part of the school’s curriculum and I was drawn to music for as long as I can remember.”  

Hearn said his time at the school from Grades 3 through 11 helped prepare him for his musical career.  

“It taught me self-discipline of practising. I learned some things about touring. I learned what it was like to interact with people after the show. I learned how to walk on the stage and behave on the stage.”

“The alumni aren’t strictly famous performers. They’re executives and CEOs in this city and across the country,” said alumni Adrian Luces, who teaches executives how to present from a performance standpoint and sings jazz on the side at fund-raisers or in clubs. “It’s a very unique institution from this perspective of the quality of the alumni it produces, the very high success rate.”

But Luces added the school had never drawn on its alumni for financial support and this benefit concert is meant to help establish an alumni foundation, with the hope that it would eventually be lucrative enough to help the school on a regular basis.  

While the Choir School receives public funding, the music program is privately supported, mainly by parents.  

Luces said he hopes the concert will not only raise money, but also awareness of the Choir School.

“When we were at the Choir School we were quite well-known,” he said. “A choir boy could go out in the street and they would immediately be known. It’s lost a lot of its status in the community and beyond. We think it’s time to re-establish itself.”

Call the Roy Thomson Hall box office at (416) 872-4255. For sponsorship or donations Karen Miller can be reached at (416) 224-9990 or e-mail For other information visit

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