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Theatre Orangeville Youth Singers perform concert at Opera House

June 1, 2023   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

On Wednesday, May 24, an evening concert at the Opera House saw the return of the Theatre Orangeville Youth Singers or TOYS choir. With a beginning number of 12 kids, as there was not much time to advertise chances to register, the singers were all new to TOYS. Between them and their new director, Elisabeth DuBois, plus a relatively short rehearsal time, the youngsters still thrilled the audience and Ms. DuBois with their performance. The splendid pianist, Hayden Thomas, accompanied the TOYS concert.

Said Ms. DuBois during a telephone interview the day after, “It went fantastic, very well received. The kids were so excited to be there and you could see them working harder to be there. We had one out who couldn’t come because she was sick. So, then there were 11 instead of 12.”

They sang well, doing their actions well, with the costume changes too, she told us.

She was there for support, sitting close to the front of the audience seating, “mouthing the words. I was not full-on conducting,” she praised them. “They did this on their own. “Kait’s [Gallant, Theatre Orangeville programs manager] mom helped out on the other side of backstage.”

Her smile was audible even over the telephone: “Waiting to go on, they couldn’t stop smiling. I’ve never seen them so jazzed to do the show. Nobody knew how it would go – the audience was wonderful. I told the kids, ‘We have a 110 people so when you see them all, don’t worry – just sing the songs. We’re all family – I’m just so excited for you guys.’ They were, like, routing me on.”

She shared a great little story, “I was going back to my seat, and I was a little nervous about it all. One girl told me, ‘It’s okay; just stay strong.’

“Afterwards, the kids were just thrilled.”

Theatre Orangeville’s audience, at slightly over 100 people, came to show support for the return of TOYS, many of them family and friends, others also enthusiasts for all the programs Theatre Orangeville sponsors.

Elisabeth DuBois commented that her grade six teacher, who was also her music teacher at school, sent her an email saying she saw the concert.

For all of you who are wondering, the answer is yes, “We’re looking forward to the next years to come with TOYS,” was the assurance. One of the easily most rewarding things for their new director.

In the end, she got up to speak and thought she had it all figured out, but “that went out the window.”

She had watched them come into their first rehearsal, she told the audience, and they didn’t want to sing, and yet here they were, doing solos and singing as a choir.

For the one member stuck at home, they sent her a video saying they hoped she would get better soon and that they missed her.

Up next for TOYS, the fall and winter shows, with many events to come, while from here to then, there is time to plan, and registration can start as soon as dates for the upcoming shows are settled. Check the Theatre Orangeville website, blog and social media for details.

Meanwhile, this was truly one of the “coolest things for sure.” Ms. DuBois reckoned most families brought others; there were regulars, parents from the past.

“David seemed very excited about it,” she said. “A goal I had was to show that big glow and excitement; everyone was just so excited.”

This is the 28th year of TOYS, and Ms. DuBois’ initial involvement with the youth choir was, as a six-year-old, the youngest member ever. She sang with them for 11 years and has always been regarded as part of the TOV family.

It was at a Teachers Appreciation Night at the theatre in November; she was coming up the stairs to see the show when artistic director David Nairn, standing at the top, saw her and recognized a wonderful opportunity. 

He asked her on the spot if she would like the job as director of TOYS, and on the same spot, she said, “Yes!”

When asked at the end of this concert about her commitment to continue, she had a ready answer.

“Twenty years,” she said.

Speaking of exciting news, there is more from Theatre Orangeville’s Young Company about their two annual programs this summer.

Every year, Young Company Musical takes place in July, during which participants rehearse, build and produce a musical on the main stage. This is an intensive five days a week program, teaching all aspects of theatre arts and the show for this year’s July production is the Addams Family musical. This is a very exciting opportunity, even for someone with little knowledge of what goes into theatrical productions but with perhaps a love of theatre.

A second round of auditions has opened for the Addams Family musical. Submissions will be accepted via online video. Please email for all the details on how to submit a video audition. This is open to youth grades 7 to 12.

The entire month of August sees Young Company Drama, with the same format of intensive, five days a week learning all aspects of theatre arts on and behind the stage for Youth grades 7 to 12. The production this August is PUFF, by Matt Cox, a story about a magical boy who goes to a Wizard school but not necessarily to “save the world.”

A second round of in-person auditions for PUFF is scheduled for June 5.

Please also email for details on how to schedule your audition. 

The theatre’s website for more details about Young Company and all things Theatre Orangeville is

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