The Bach-Elgar Choir is a community chorus of long standing in Hamilton, Ontario. The Choir is composed of accomplished amateur singers from Hamilton and neighbouring cities of Burlington, Oakville, Mississauga and Simcoe. Notable performances by the ensemble include the North American première of Verdi's Requiem and the Canadian premières of Górecki's Miserere and Mahler's Symphony No. 2 (the Resurrection). The choir has had several distinguished directors throughout its history and has performed in several notable venues including Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto, the Brantford's Sanderson Centre, with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, and at the Boris Brott Summer Festival. The choir enjoys frequent guest appearances with the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra.
The Bach-Elgar Choir was founded by Bruce Carey in 1905 under the name the Elgar Choir. The choir was subsequently conducted by G. Roy Fenwick, W. H. Hewlett, and Edward Stewart. The choir disbanded for a few years during World War II, and reformed in 1947, joining with another disbanded amateur chorus, the Bach Choir (founded 1931 by Graham Godfrey), to form the renamed Bach-Elgar Choir. The Bach-Elgar Choir made its debut in 1947 in Handel's Messiah under Charles Peaker at Hamilton's Centenary United Church. Subsequent conductors have been Cyril Hampshire 1948-55, John Sidgwick 1955-60, Frank Thorolfson 1960-2, Charles Wilson 1962-74, Donald Kendrick 1974-8 and 1981-3, Philip David Morehead 1978-80, Denise Narcisse-Mair 1980-1, Gerald Fagan 1983-4, Wayne Strongman 1984-97, Philip Joseph Sarabura 1998-2000, and Ian Sadler 2000-2005. Howard Dyck was artistic director from 2006 to 2010, and Alexander Cann has been the artistic director since then.
The Bach Elgar Choir has presented a subscription series of three to four concerts per year, at Centenary United Church (beginning 1947), followed by Central Presbyterian Church (1960s), Christ's Church Cathedral (1970s-80s), Toronto's Rosedale United Church (1990s), Hamilton Place (where it has been a resident ensemble since 1975), and Melrose United Church (2006). For a number of years, the subsidiary Bach Elgar Chamber Singers (a 36-voice ensemble founded by Charles Wilson in 1969) and the Bach Elgar Children's Chorus (established 1981) gave small concert series and performances in Hamilton and southern Ontario.