Bring your voice, dress as your favourite children’s film character, and join the Toronto Children’s Chorus in our first-ever movie-inspired concert, Celebrate at the Movies! More than 300 voices will perform songs from some of the most beloved children’s films at Randolph Centre for the Arts. The Chorus is excited to welcome guest host and TCC alumna, Ramona Gilmour-Darling who played Loonette the Clown on The Big Comfy Couch. We are also thrilled to welcome percussionist Andy Morris and trumpeter Stan Klebanoff as special guests. The choristers are looking forward to reliving magical movie moments with songs from films such as Frozen, Oliver! and many other treasured children’s classics!
Ramona Gilmour-Darling kindly took some time to talk with the Toronto Children’s Chorus about her memories as a chorister, her passion for the performing arts, and her words of wisdom for our current choristers.
Could you tell us about your experience as a chorister singing in the Toronto Children’s Chorus?
I have many fantastic memories… Travelling to Finland was a highlight, singing a solo for a Kellogg’s Corn Flakes commercial, the overwhelming aroma of dozens of [fundraising] poinsettias in our living room awaiting delivery, and singing a duet with guest Ben Heppner (I was Mary and he was Joseph – he was WAY louder than me). You’d also be surprised by how many of my current friends and work colleagues were once in the choir.
What have you gone on to do since graduating from the TCC and what accomplishment(s) are you most proud of?
I went on to study voice at McGill University in Music Education, and graduated with Honours in Choral Music, and Music for Children. I’m now a professional actor, director, choreographer, arts educator, and director of four small children’s choirs. Certainly my time on The Big Comfy Couch was a TON of fun, and I loved my son naming me “Mommy the Clown”. At the end of the day, I’m most proud of creating a career where I get to creatively explore a wide variety of artistic disciplines and that keeps me on my toes – rarely bored, always challenged!
What sparked your love for the performing arts?
I was invited into the world of the performing arts from a young age since my mom worked in theatre, and my dad was a big supporter of the arts. I think my first love was the musical, Annie (she was brave and bold and could belt out a show tune – what wasn’t to love?). In the TCC, I enjoyed the experience of being in an ensemble of artists together creating something bigger and more fantastic than the individual. I’ve always been fuelled by the exchange of creative energy.
Based on your experience and incredible successes in the performing arts, what advice can you offer our current choristers?
In the performing arts, it is important to sort out what you can control versus what you cannot control. You may not get the solo you want, or the role in the musical you hoped for, BUT you can choose to work hard, have a good attitude, keep trying and learning, and not compare yourself with others. The arts need not be a competition. Focus on what you enjoy doing and put as much into what you do as makes you happy.
What excites you most about hosting our production at Randolph Centre for the Arts?
I’m excited to hear all the different choirs! When I was in the TCC there was only ONE big choir (with smaller subdivisions), and now there are so many choirs AND they are going to be singing so many well-known tunes. It is also exciting for me that my nephew, Julian, is singing in the choir too!
What is your favourite song from a children’s film?
When I was a child I used to love singing Part of Your World from The Little Mermaid, and of course, everything from Annie…!