The Duet Club Chorus


The Duet Club Chorus was formed at the turn of the 20th century by Mrs. Frank Wanzer. At Duet Club meetings the Chorus would sing trios and quartets under the direction of Bruce A. Carey.



The Chorus grew over the years to 25 members under the leadership of Mrs. Harold Hamilton. The baton was then handed over to Cyril Hampshire and Reginald Bedford (both Principals of the Hamilton Conservatory of Music), followed by Miss Gertrude Stares. The Chorus was disbanded under the leadership of Mrs. H. Maxwell Morrow in the late 50’s.


In the 1950s a big event was held at which the club sang by oil lamp, next to a spinning wheel while dressed in 1880s costume to celebrate their history.


In Centennial year, 1967, the Chorus was reorganized and the club’s Centennial project included an impersonation of Ellen Ambrose in a setting of early Hamilton musical life, piano duets, a commissioned work by Keith Bissell, A Summer Evening was performed by The Duet Club Chorus under the new direction of Frank Thorolfson. Dr. Roy Fenwick conducted The Duet Club Chorus’ finale, A Toast to Hamilton. Due to ill health, leadership was handed over to Lorne Betts. In 1985 Lloyd Oakes (1989 – 98) was appointed conductor. At that time, Lloyd’s wife Gloria was President and his mother Naomi was an active member.

Conductors following Lloyd were Marguerite Couldridge, Nancy DeVries, Peter Maley and Stéphane Potvin. All have contributed their individual musical gifts to The Duet Club Chorus over the years.

Piano accompanists have provided a firm foundation for the Chorus. They include Flora Everett, Barbara Saylor, Susan Plewes, Anne Barnshaw, Janice Beninger, Auldeen Montoux, Alena Kratka, Erika Reiman, Krista Rhodes and Christabel Pinto, a one-time Duet Club Scholarship winner. The Duet Club has appreciated all of our talented pianists.

In 2017, the chorus was renamed Women of Song, and our logo designed in 2022.


Women of Song at our annual holiday concert in 2023


Under the direction of Dawn Martens and accompanied by Ethan Lacey, Women of Song is active today consisting of 35 active members. The Chorus practises weekly at Melrose United Church and continues to enjoy the friendship that only comes from music for the joy of it!

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