Old Ottawa South Community Association

Stairwell Carollers 40th Anniversary Concert

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On Friday November 24, 2017 residents of Old Ottawa South will for the first time get to hear in their home area one of Ottawa’s top choral groups, the Stairwell Carollers, as they present a special 40th anniversary concert at Southminster United Church.

This is a benefit concert for the Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization, OCISO, and its work with refugees and immigrants here in Ottawa. It is also a celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Stairwell Carollers in 2017-18, as well as OCISO’s own 40th anniversary coming up in 2018. OCISO is thrilled that CBC Ottawa’s Adrian Harewood has agreed to be the MC for this double anniversary concert.

The Stairwell Carollers will be singing a uniquely crafted program this season, titled “A Canadian Christmas.” Their director, Pierre Massie, who founded this award-winning choir in the stairwells of Ottawa U in 1977, provides the context: “Canada’s 150th year happened to coincide with our 40th season. It seemed appropriate to offer an all-Canadian Christmas concert to celebrate both milestones.”

Old Ottawa South residents will have the unique opportunity to hear the world premieres of three brand new carols on November 24th. Pierre Massie, an award-winning composer himself, has done a lively new arrangement of the ever-popular “Carol of the Bells”, and has written a very special bilingual carol in honour of Canada’s 150th and the choir’s 40th: “A Baby is Born / L'Enfant est né.” In addition, the choir will be singing the famous German carol, “Es ist ein Ros entsprungen”, in a brand new arrangement for the choir by the author of this article.

The friendship between the Stairwell Carollers and OCISO began in December 2015, when the choir donated $2,000 to support OCISO’s work with refugees and immigrants.
Photo by Stairwell Carollers.

The friendship between the Stairwell Carollers and OCISO began in December 2015, when the choir donated $2,000 to support OCISO’s work with refugees and immigrants here in Ottawa.

The choir has been singing in “a humanitarian key” for decades, with proceeds from concerts and CD sales allowing the Carollers to present donations to dozens of local charities and music scholarships to local high school students totalling over $130,000.

You are warmly invited to come and hear this very special Xmas concert: Friday November 24, 7:30pm, Southminster United Church, 15 Aylmer Avenue at Bank Street. Proceeds to support OCISO’s work with newcomers to Canada.

Tickets: $20 at the door, or $15 in advance at www.ociso.org or from The Leading Note, 370 Elgin St; Compact Music, 206 & 785 ½ Bank St locations; or Books on Beechwood, 35 Beechwood Ave. 

If you can’t make it to Southminster, you can still hear the Stairwell Carollers on one of these dates:

  • December 2: St. Thomas Anglican Church, 1619 Stittsville Main Street, 7:30 pm.
  • December 9: Église St-Joseph d’Orléans, 2757 St Joseph Blvd, 7:30 pm.
  • December 14: Knox Presbyterian Church, 120 Lisgar Street, 7:30 pm.
  • December 20: St. Columba Anglican Church, 24 Sandridge Road, 7:30 pm.

For concert info, contact David Rain at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For info about the choir, visit stairwellcarollers.com, and about OCISO’s work with refugees and immigrants, visit ociso.org.

David Rain, who often runs through Old Ottawa South, has volunteered and worked for OCISO for 2 years and has sung with the Stairwell Carollers for 25 years.

Originally published in the November 2017 OSCAR.


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