Remembering Albert Greer

ALBERT GREER, C.M

Albert Charles Alexander Greer, born February 23, 1937 in Toronto to Charles Alexander and Hazel Elvra Greer, died peacefully May 9, 2024 at Trillium Manor, Orillia, attended faithfully by his devoted wife of 37 years, Nynka, as well as by his loving family and close friends.

Albert is survived by his adoring children David (Melissa), Malcolm (Regan), Linda O’Leary (Kevin), John (Bonnie) and their mother, Carol West, and his beloved step-daughter Lenora Hamilton (Robin). He was a cherished Grandad to Adrian (Catherine), Kyle (predeceased), Cadence, Krista (Lubke), Savannah, Trevor, and Russell, as well as beloved step-grandad to Miya, Jared, Beckett and Isley.

He is predeceased by siblings Virginia (John Haysom), Hazel (Bruce Andrews), and Harold (Antonia Sanchez-Greer), and lovingly remembered by his surviving brothers George (Heather), Norman (Deena predeceased) and Kenneth, as well as all his Greidanus family-in-laws.

After graduating from University of Toronto Schools and the University of Toronto (BA), Albert embarked on a remarkable career in music as a tenor soloist, conductor, educator, and composer and arranger of choral music. Awards and appointments include the Choirs Ontario’s President’s Leadership Award, the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal and the Order of Canada (CM).

As a tenor soloist specializing in oratorio and concert songs, he performed over four decades with major choirs and orchestras from coast to coast. Albert was acclaimed for the roles of Evangelist in the Saint Matthew and Saint John Passions of J.S. Bach.

It was important to Albert to encourage young musicians, first by teaching at high schools in Northern Ontario and Toronto. In 1980, he became Choral Director at York University, teaching voice, choral conducting and advanced musicianship until he retired in 2004.

Albert directed many choirs, including the North York Chorus and the Ontario Youth Choir. He served as Artistic Director and Conductor of Orillia’s The Cellar Singers for 35 years during which time he founded the Couchiching Young Singers. Albert shared his gifts of music as Organist and Director of Music at St. James’ Anglican Church, Orillia from 1981 to 2018.

A love of travel took him to destinations ranging from the Caribbean to China in addition to singing engagements as far afield as New Zealand. The Cellar Singers’ performances in Europe and Great Britain were particularly memorable.

Albert also loved the water which included jaunts in his Kavalk and a lifetime of experiences at family cottages near Brechin. Albert and Nynka created lasting memories for the many friends and family who visited their Cedar Island home.

We have lost a bright light in our family and in Canadian music. His hearty laugh, engaging personality and heartfelt tenor voice will be greatly missed.

Visitation will be held at Carson Funeral Homes, 54 Coldwater Street East, Orillia on Wednesday May 15, 2024 from 4pm to 7pm. A Celebration of Life will take place at St. James’ Anglican Church, 58 Peter Street North, Orillia, Ontario on Thursday May 16, 2024 at 11am.

Many thanks to the staff at Trillium Manor for their exceptional care over the past two years. In lieu of flowers, donations to St. James’ Anglican Church, Orillia www.stjamesorillia.com, or to The Cellar Singers www.thecellarsingers.com would be appreciated. Messages of condolence are welcomed at www.carsonfuneralhomes.com.

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  1. John Pepper

    I was saddened by this news. We have lost a unique and irreplaceable figure in Ontario music-making and a wonderful man to have known. His ebullient and meticulous musicianship was matched by his generosity of spirit. A fine artist, a great leader and a mentor to many; also, a delightful host. My condolences to Nynka and to all Albert's family.

  2. Victoria (Dodington) Banks

    I so wish that I could have made it north from Nashville for Albert’s memorial service. It’s impossible to express the impact that he had on my life as a musician. What would my upbringing have been without the treks I took with my Dad down to Cellar Singers rehearsals every Tuesday…the snowy performances of Handel’s Messiah every Christmas…the full-orchestra Easter oratorios complete with Childrens choir descants? It was Albert that planted the seeds in my life that led to my becoming a performer. I learned to believe in myself as a singer because Albert gave me a chance to be one. Thanks to his boundless energy and enthusiasm, I got an unmatched musical education and exposure to the kinds of performances that small town kids like me would otherwise never experience. He poured his heart and soul into every minute of the music he created, and resonated with the joy of it. Albert will forever live in my mind with his arms raised wide and a huge smile on his face…and thinking about that leaves an even bigger smile on mine.

  3. Corinne MacDonald

    Albert was truly a remarkable person and a talented musician. A couple of years after I moved to Orillia, Albert asked the Harriett Todd Choir to participate in The Cellar Singers Christmas programs in Gravenhurst and Orillia, December 1986. The choir also joined The Cellar Singers again in March 1988. I first had the opportunity to be with the students to work with Albert. It was a wonderful learning experience. I then had the opportunity to associate with Albert as a Board member of The Cellar Singers and a replacement ....if anyone could ever replace Albert.....conductor of the Couchiching Young Singers during his singing engagement in New Zealand. Albert contributed greatly to the musical fabric of Orillia and other areas. Good Memories. He will be missed. My Sympathy to Nynka and family. Corinne MacDonald, Victoria B C

  4. Cathie Bass

    Nynka: My sincerest wish for resting in peace. Thinking of you. Cathie

  5. Debbie Cooper

    Dearest Linda and family Sending you our deepest condolences on the loss of your father. He was such an accomplished man and I know you cherished him dearly. His memories will be with you forever and I know you carry his strength. Sending love at this difficult time. Debbie and Scott and family. Xoxo

  6. Sara (Burns) Kennedy

    My thoughts and prayers to the whole family at the loss of your husband, father and grandfather. Loss is never easy but hoping loving memories help to ease your sadness.

  7. Leon levy

    Albert saved my life through his gift of music during a time where I lived in a dark neighborhood . I will be forever grateful to him and will cherish the memories of the years we snag together. R.I.P. dear friend and teacher

  8. Sandy (Dalton) McGrath

    Nynka, I'm so sorry to hear this news. I met Albert and joined The Cellar Singers when I was taking voice lessons, working on my grade 10 and ARCT. It was a wonderful experience to work under his direction. Many wonderful memories for sure. Albert also acted as interim director of Collingwood's Sound investment Community Choir, where I now serve as president. Please accept my personal condolences and those of the choir.

  9. Megan Siddall

    My condolences to Nynka and the whole family. What a maestro Albert was! Hours of choir rehearsals and my memories are ones filled with smiles and humour. Albert had a wonderful way of working with children and you could feel his zest for life through his conducting. His passion for music made a lifelong impression on me!

  10. Doris Kehoe

    condolences from Doris Kehoe and family

  11. Mary Willan Mason

    Please accept my condolences on the death of a true master of music alongside a delightful person to get to know with a wonderful sense of humour. Al's death is a real loss for the musical world

  12. Nancy Harris

    This amazing man made immeasurable contributions to the music community, both provincially and locally. His gifts live on in the legacy he leaves.

  13. DONNA BRINDLE

    He was an outstanding singer . His reputation was unmatched and there was a time in Toronto when Albert Greer was the soloist everyone every choral director wanted . My sincere condolences Donna Brindle

  14. Pat Brown (Russell)

    Fond memories of the 1974 OYC. Albert was a wonderful conductor and musician. I studied voice with him and sang with other alumni in his Toronto choir. He had such a beautiful voice and his command of the Evangelist in the St. Matthew and St. John Passions was perfection. Such a gift to the music world. He will be missed. Sincere sympathy to the family.

  15. Helen Pomeroy-Black

    My sincerest condolences to Nynka and all of the family at this time of loss. I wish I could be there with you but unfortunately that is not possible. Albert was always a special cousin to me and an inspiration. We are 3 months apart in age. I have so many happy memories of times at Teddington in Toronto, Brechin and Orillia and he will be missed by me and many others. Helen

  16. Judith Rodger

    So many memories of performing & singing with Albert for over 25 years as a solo performer & also a privilege to sing with the Cellar Singers under Albert's Direction. My Life long Music Career was influenced in many ways by knowing and working with Albert, the consummate Musician!

  17. Greg Mierle

    I am saddened to here of Albert's passing. I only got to know Albert late in life (for both of us!) as a vocal instructor and he touch my soul with his passion for vocal music and eagerness to pass on his knowledge. I am so thankful he was willing to take me under his wing for the relatively brief time that I knew him. I don't think I will ever forget our singing moments together at the piano.

  18. Nancy Telfer

    Nynka, I am so sorry to hear this news. Albert was such a wonderful man and I have so many good memories of times with him. I hope to attend the funeral and to see you then... Nancy Telfer

  19. Barbara Ackerman

    Dear Nynka and family, I was saddened to hear of Albert's passing and I'm sending my condolences. Albert was such a lovely person and fine musician. I miss those concerts with the choir. Albert left a sizeable legacy of music making, and has been a major contributor to the cultural fabric of his community and beyond. I always enjoyed working with him and had the utmost respect for his musicianship. Best Wishes, Barbara Ackerman

  20. Lydia Adams

    Dear Nynka and family - My deepest condolences to you all on the passing of Albert. I have known him as a colleague and friend throughout my career, an exuberant, knowledgeable, inspiring and dedicated leader with a warm and welcoming personality, His portrayal of the Evangelist in the Bach Passions are most outstanding in my memory and he approached each role and each performance with the same passion and integrity. He loved life and it showed from the inside out. Please accept my condolences and those of the Elmer Iseler Singers, General Manager Jessie Iseler, and the entire EIS organization on Albert's passing. You are in our hearts. Lydia Adams Artistic Director, Elmer Iseler Singers, Toronto

  21. Ian McRae

    I'm very sorry to hear about Mr. Greer's passing. He was an outstanding person and kind to me for many years. Growing up and attending St. James church, I always loved his music and that of the choir. I distinctly remember later in life when I first attended another church that I realized how amazing the quality of his music was, as well as Nynka's singing. I feel lucky to have enjoyed so many beautiful Sunday and Christmas services in his presence. I was also neighbors with Mr. Greer and Nynka for several years and cut their grass. He was always a wonderful person to speak with. One time instead of my usual $20 pay, he took me out for a long ride in his boat at full speed! Although I haven't seen him in many years, I'll certainly miss him and keep those memories with me. Sending love to Nynka and his family.

  22. Michael Zelding

    It was my pleasure to get to know Albert as a member of the choir. His wealth of knowledge and ability to teach will always be remembered. My condolences to Nynka and the Greer family.

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