Choir

The Robert Wood Singers were founded by the Port Colborne Operatic Society in Port Colborne, Ontario. “The Singers”, founded by Robert Wood, have been delighting audiences with their beautiful songs and harmonious melodies since 1968. Originally consisting of Port Colborne residents, the membership now includes men and women from many parts of the Niagara Peninsula.

In 2000, Robert Wood retired temporarily from the directorship of the choir and the baton was passed to Deanna Schaus. In the summer of 2008, Deanna stepped down and Bob once again assumed the position of Music Director, with Ron Gorham taking the position of Assistant Director.

Andrew Carruthers assumed the position of Muscial Director from 2012 to 2015.

Deanna Schaus took up the baton for the second time from 2015 to Spring 2018.

In the fall of 2018 we welcomed our new director, Victoria Rondinelli.

At present The Singers have approximately 48 members, but our numbers continue to grow as we acquire new singers.

Thanks for visiting! We’re glad you’re here.

Music Director

Victoria Rondinelli

The Robert Wood Singers would like to introduce our new Choir Director as of September 2018, Victoria Rondinelli.

Victoria has been working within the field of music her entire life and she is very proud to have been a member of many very prestigious choirs, both as a singer and as a conductor. Most recently she has been working as the conductor of the Niagara Men’s Chorus since the summer of 2017.

Victoria lived in London, Ontario for the last 10 years and studied at the University of Western Ontario and had opportunities to work with such choral conductors as Victoria Meredith, Jennifer Moir and Gerald Neufeld. She also had the opportunity to study and learn under the tutelage of internationally recognized organist and current President of the London Centre of the Royal Canadian College of Organists, Dr. Wayne Carroll with his choir in St. Thomas, Ontario.

While she greatly enjoyed her time working with Dr. Wayne Carroll, Victoria’s fiercest passion lies with the community choirs that she has conducted, including the West Elgin Choral Society (WECS). She acted as conductor of the WECS from 2013-2017 and together they worked with many different genres of choral music. Victoria has directed thematically organized concerts, such as “The British Isles,” “Hollywood to Broadway,” “Picturesque Christmas,” and most recently “Leaves of Remembrance.”

Since Victoria moved to Niagara Falls, she feels fortunate to work with the Niagara Men’s Chorus, but deeply misses working in a SATB setting. She feels, as our new conductor, the combination of her background in the educational and therapeutic fields of music will encourage good singing and enrich the choral experience for The Singers. Victoria believes good fellowship is the key to choral setting as it is what makes choir therapeutic and enjoyable and will provide the public with a wonderful and exciting experience every time they join us for one of our concerts.

Accompanist

Darlene Oord

In 1976 a young pianist from Wainfleet auditioned to be the accompanist for The Robert Wood Singers. Her talent was evident to Bob Wood as was her engaging personality and she has handled this job brilliantly for over forty years. Audiences in the peninsula know they will be amazed by her performance and the choir knows she will always make them shine.

Darlene has a unique ability to be aware of more than the notes on her page. In rehearsal she will hear a note that one section is not getting and manage to put that note into her accompaniment so that it becomes easy to get. If, on the odd occasion, the choir makes a mistake, Darlene is able to keep the accompaniment going smoothly, enabling us to recover without our audience noticing. With her natural ability to feel the rhythm, we can sing a medley that skips through many styles and rhythms and instantly feel the character of the next song. She plays with a rare emotion and sensitivity that is felt by both choir and audience. Darlene has the ability to get inside the music and dance with it!

Darlene shares her talent with the community having played for the Port Colborne Operatic Society, The Wood Kids, Church choirs and her school musical productions. At present she also accompanies the Central United Church choir. Darlene is counted on for her advice or opinion and is always ready with her encouragement and her smile. We appreciate her dedication, her pursuit of excellence and her friendship and look forward to making music with her in the years ahead.

Founder

Robert E. Wood

Bob has had a long career in the business of teaching music. After graduating from Stratford Teacher’s College in 1959, he began teaching with the London Board of education. In 1964 he moved to Port Colborne where he was appointed Supervisor of Music for the Port Colborne Board of Education. In 1966 he became the Music Director for the Port Colborne Operatic Society.

In 1968, along with a group of PCOS singers, he formed the Robert Wood Singers, and became their Music Director. He held this position until his retirement in 2000. Other musical appointments Bob has held over the years include:

  • 1969 – Appointed Music Consultant to Niagara South Board of Education.
  • 1974 – Appointed Music Director to Central United Church, Welland.
  • 1980 – Appointed Director of Music at Central United Church, Port Colborne.
  • 1983 – Formed “The Wood Kids” young people’s choir associated with the Robert Wood Singers.
  • 1990 – Received citenship award from Port Colborne/Wainfleet Chamber of Commerce.
  • 2000 – Retired from directing the Robert Wood Singers.
  • 2001 – Formed a new Senior’s Choir in Port Colborne – The Harbour Lights Singers.

In the summer of 2008, Deanna Schaus stepped down as director of the Robert Wood Singers, and Bob once more took over as the choir began a rebuilding process.

After the final Spring Concert of 2012, Bob stepped down from leadership of the choir for a well-deserved retirement.