Nicole Laidler Takes 5 with Chris Harding of Amabile Choirs


Members of London’s Amabile Choirs have been busy recording their 24th CD. This disc, entitled “Sing Your Song”, is special for several reasons.

First, it pays tribute to Amabile co-founder John Barron and long-time conductor Ken Fleet. Second, it features 16 never commercially released works by renowned Canadian composer (and former Amabile chorister) Matthew Emery. Third, it will be released through the Canadian Music Centre label, Centredisc. And finally, it is being partially funded through a crowdfunding campaign.

The Beat recently reached out to Amabile’s fund development officer, Chris Harding, to learn more about the choir’s adventures in online fundraising.

Q:  I see the campaign has already reached 50 per cent of it’s $10,000 goal. Congratulations! Why did Amabile turn to crowdfunding to support this project?

A:  Amabile is always looking for new and unique ways of doing things and this is our first venture into crowdfunding.

The campaign will cover a portion of the CD costs. While the choirs are supported by the City of London through the London Arts Council and by the Ontario Arts Council, the CD project is being underwritten by the Amabile organization.

Supporters may choose to pledge any amount, or may accept one of five different perks offered for different dollar amounts, but all donors will receive an income tax-deductible receipt.

Q: Can you give readers an idea of how much it costs to professionally record, produce, and release a CD like this?

A: The budget submitted to the Ontario Arts Council was in excess of $25,000.

Q: Tell me a bit about the works on the CD.

A: Matthew Emery composed ten pieces while he was our Composer-in-Residence, and all ten will be on the CD, in addition to some of his other works.

“Friends, Pass Softly” was commissioned to celebrate and remember the life of distinguished Canadian conductor, educator, and Amabile co-founder, John Barron. “Sing Your Song” was written to honour Ken Fleet’s lengthy tenure as conductor with the choirs, as he suffers from the debilitating effects of Alzheimer’s Disease. This song reflects on a significant quote by Ken to those suffering as he does – to get up every morning and just ‘sing your song.’

Q: What are the benefits of releasing the CD through the Canadian Music Centre’s Centredisc label?

They are a Canadian record label with national and international reach. They will promote and distribute the disc across Canada and internationally through various agencies, including NAXOS and iTunes.

Q: How long do Londoners have to contribute to your crowdfunding campaign?

A: While it is slated to wrap up in mid-June, the campaign may be continued depending on the number of perks that have been claimed and the amount raised.

“Sing Your Song” will be released in January 2017.

To make a donation to the crowdfunding campaign visit

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Nicole Laidler has been covering London’s cultural scene for more than a decade and is delighted to be writing for The Beat.


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