Established in 1874, St. Thomas's has been, from its earliest days, at the forefront of the liturgical and musical life of the Anglican Church of Canada. The Eucharist is the central act of worship every Sunday and is celebrated daily throughout the year. On Sundays, the 9:30 a.m. Eucharist (Contemporary Rite) follows the Book of Alternative Services. Solemn Eucharist at 11 a.m. follows the Book of Common Prayer. As well, the service of Evensong and Devotions takes place every Sunday at 7 p.m.
Excellent choral and organ music are vital components of all the Sunday services and Feast Day Solemn Eucharists. The music at St. Thomas's is extraordinarily beautiful and diverse - from plainsong and Renaissance masterpieces to gems of the British cathedral tradition and contemporary compositions. The choirs regularly perform choral works by Canadian composers, including Healey Willan, Derek Holman and Andrew Ager.
The 11 a.m. choir is a group of about 30 singers, including two quartets of paid lead singers. One of the quartets and a small ensemble of volunteers lead music at the 9:30 service; the other quartet and a group of 12 to 16 volunteers sing at Evensong and Devotions. The choir for Solemn Eucharist rehearses on Thursdays for one hour and 45 minutes; the Evensong choir arrives at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday to rehearse for about one hour and 15 minutes before the service.
In May 2004, the choir that sings at Solemn Eucharist won first prize in the church choir category of the CBC National Competition for Amateur Choirs. In May 2008, the same ensemble was awarded second prize.
The Choirs of St. Thomas's were invited to travel to England in August 2005 to sing daily services as choir-in-residence at York Minster and Gloucester Cathedral. In August 2010, they returned to England for a week at Salisbury Cathedral and a week at St. Paul's, London. In 2013, they were choir-in-residence at Canterbury Catheral (three days), St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castles (three days), and Westminster Abbey (one week).
The choirs of St. Thomas's were directed by Organist and Choirmaster John Tuttle from September 1989 to 3 July 2016. Elizabeth Anderson, who assisted John as Associate Organist, is the Interim Organist and Choirmaster from 4 July to 31 December 2016.
Click here for information about the organ.