Our upcoming performance of Handel's MESSIAH
will take place on Saturday, December 18, 2021
Hugh Van Pelt | Conductor
HUGH VAN PELT is the founding artistic director of Choral Connection with experience encompassing both choral and orchestral conducting. Prior to his current involvement with Choral Connection, Mr. Van Pelt directed the St. Thomas Youth Choir. Throughout his tenure with this organization he prepared five European Tours spanning nine countries. He has conducted choirs in many of Europe’s most famous cathedrals including Westminster Abby, St Paul’s Cathedral, Cologne Cathedral and Coventry Cathedral. Highlights of these tours include conducting at the International Shrewsbury festival, the Rastaat Festival in Baden, Germany and the Bray Jazz Festival in Ireland. Hugh also collaborated with other choirs including the Trelawnd Male Choir in Rhyl, Wales and the Chor des Theodor-Heuss-Gymnasium, Germany.
CHELSEA VAN PELT Praised as "...appealing and delicate..." (Opera Canada), soprano Chelsea Van Pelt's last season included performances of Bach’s Mass in B minor, Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem, Haydn’s Kleine Orgelmesse, Bach’s St. John Passion and Mozart’s Exsultate Jubilate. Prior to that she had the pleasure of auditioning at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden and the Atelier Lyrique National Finals at L'Opéra de Montréal. Chelsea Van Pelt is a graduate of the Calgary Opera Emerging Artists program. Throughout her time there, she had the pleasure of performing the role of Juliette for the Canadian premiere of Die tote Stadt, Pamina in Die Zauberflöte (*cover), Rose in Lakme and la Princesse in l’enfant et les sortilèges. Chelsea most recently sang the character of Serpina in Pergolesi’s La Serva Padrona for the Windsor Symphony Orchestra’s recorded season this year. Additionally, Chelsea has kept herself busy with activities slightly outside of the musical sphere, which include managing and providing design consultation for a construction company in Southwestern Ontario.
Chelsea Van Pelt | Soprano
CARMEN SPECHT is a mezzo-soprano from the small town of Lacombe, AB, where she could have only dreamed of becoming an opera singer. She is currently in her final year of the Doctorate of Music Performance program at Western University, under the tutelage of Dr. Sophie Louise Roland and Maestro Simone Luti. Carmen has also had the privilege of studying with Christiane Riel, Elizabeth Turnbull, Dr. Blaine Hendsbee, and Dr. Anthony Radford. Her most recent operatic roles have included Suzuki in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly
with Windsor Symphony, as well as the title role in Puccini’s Suor Angelica with Western Unviersity’s Opera Workshop. She has also had the privilege of performing as an Alto Soloist with Fanshawe Chorus London in their performance of Beethoven’s Mass in C. She has performed at festivals around the world, including AEDO (Accademia Europea dell’ Opera), UWO Opera Workshop, St. Andrew’s By the Sea Opera Workshop, COAA (Canadian Operatic Arts Academy), Opera NUOVA, the Franz Schubert Institute, and University of Lethbridge Opera Workshop. Carmen enjoys the interaction with her audience and colleagues, and lives for the beauty of music. After more than a year away from her passion of singing, Carmen is beyond thankful to return to the stage. She will be joining both London Pro Musica and Choral Connection as an
Alto Soloist in Handel’s Messiah, as well as performing her final Doctorate recitals, with selections including Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder and Mahler’s Das Knaben Wunderhorn.
Carmen Specht | Alto
ROBERT MACLAREN From 1988 to 2004 Robert MacLaren sang as a Lyric Tenor soloist in various German Opera houses including; Cologne, Dortmund, Hannover, Saarbrücken, as well as in Austria and Switzerland. His repertoire included many oratorio works and recital performances. Robert joined the Desautel Faculty of Music at the University of Manitoba where he taught Vocal technique for 14 years. He is now retired and living in London Ontario.
Robert is originally from Montréal where he sang with the Tudor Singers and was soloist at the Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul.
Robert MacLaren | Tenor
Clarence Frazer | Baritone
CLARENCE FRAZER Canadian/Korean baritone Clarence Frazer brings his athletic presence and “silky-smooth baritone” to a wide range of roles. An alumnus of Canadian Opera Company’s prestigious Ensemble Studio and Calgary Opera’s Emerging Artist Development Program, Clarence starred as Figaro with Pacific Opera Victoria and Saskatoon Opera in Il barbiere di Siviglia, as well as Marcello with Saskatoon Opera in La bohéme, and Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro with Windsor Symphony. On the concert stage, Clarence has performed with pianist Steven Philcox at Toronto Summer Music, as soloist in Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem with Hamilton’s Bach-Elgar Choir, Mozart’s Requiem with Grand Philharmonic Choir, Messiah with Chorus Niagara and Windsor Symphony, and Handel’s Israel in Egypt with Caelis Ensemble. This season, Clarence joins the cast of Calgary Opera’s The Merry Widow as Bogdanowitsch and debuts with Edmonton Opera as Guglielmo in Cosi fan tutte. Clarence sang Marcello in Against the Grain Theatre’s acclaimed 2019 production of La bohéme, touring from Yukon to Toronto. Clarence starred as William Cormack in the world premiere of Shanawdithit, a co-production of Tapestry Opera and Opera on the Avalon, and portrayed James Isbister in the Canadian Opera Company’s production of Louis Riel. Clarence is featured in several OperaBreaks cinematic videos directed by François Raçine and produced by Domoney Artists during the pandemic.