Just for once, choir members turned the tables on a director-- to the delight of everyone present at a banquet at the Arden Park Hotel.
On Sunday, May 25, over 135 well-wishers paid tribute to Ian Sadler to recognize his 25 years as director of the Stratford Concert Choir. The banquet followed the choir’s final concert of the season which combined the talents of the choir with the Chantry Singers of Port Elgin.
The celebration, several months in the planning, took Sadler by surprise. His wife, Catharine, mentioned that he was touched and certainly surprised. What he had anticipated would be a usual year-end choir dinner after the concert turned into an occasion for many friends and colleagues to express their appreciation for Sadler's 25-year association with the choir.
Friends from the United States and England and members of other choirs were on hand to offer their congratulations. It was an evening filled with many humorous stories of Sadler's musical career from his time as a school boy at St Paul’s Cathedral in London, through the many trips with choirs in Canada and abroad, to his active commitment in promoting local talent.
Guest speakers included Martin Elliott, international soloist and teacher, who spoke of his early association with Sadler, Giles Bryant, who described delightful excursions with Sadler's choirs, and Imre Olah, organist and Stratford Concert Choir accompanist, who spoke of the influence Sadler has had on him and others, both personally and professionally.
In thanking the organizers for the presentation of a carved, monogrammed music stand, Sadler spoke of the warm, friendly, welcoming atmosphere in the choir.
“They care for one another," he said.
The final speaker, Rev. Canon Dr. Timothy Connor from London, Ont. described his church’s sudden need to fill the post of organist and choir director. When someone heard of his situation, the advice was immediate: “Need help? Call Ian Sadler!”
No wonder that the members of the Stratford Concert Choir eagerly anticipate the new season under the direction of Ian Sadler.