November 21, 2014, 7:30pm: “Autumn Leaves” Heliconian Concert Series

Please  join us on Friday, Nov 21, at 7:30 pm for the Heliconian Music Concert Series’ second concert of the 2014-2015 season.

We will hear music to warm the soul as the days get shorter and the air gets chillier. Janet Catherine Dea, soprano, and Maria Soulis, mezzo soprano, join their voices in solos and duets with collaborative pianist, Brahm Goldhamer in an evening of Classical, Broadway and Jazz.

The first half of the programme is bookended with Mendelssohn’s charming Op 63 duets. Julian Knight joins Maria and Brahm for Johannes Brahms’ moving Op. 91 for viola, mezzo and piano and the singers then each take solo turns with autumnal songs by Tosti, Fauré and Richard Strauss to create an introspective and evocative atmosphere.

Symbolizing the brilliant colours of autumn, new Music Section member, Suzanne Yeo delights with Liszt’s sparkling “Paraphrase de concert sur Rigoletto, S. 434.” before we are transported with Jazz standards from “Autumn in New York” to Paris with “Les Feuilles Mortes” (Autumn Leaves).

Ending with a sizzle we find ourselves in sunny Spain with Saint-Saëns’ duet “El Desdichado” General admission $25; member/senior/student $20.

 Click here for tickets.


October 31, 2014, 9:30 am to 3:30 pm: Sharing Dance Research with the Community

Join us for a day of exciting and stimulating talks by eight dance researchers presenting their current research on such varied subjects as tap dance, zumba, dancesport, fad dance, surveillance technology, writing about dance, curating, and developing audiences. Lunch will be provided.

Sponsored by the Toronto Heliconian Club and the Graduate Program in Dance at York University, the day provides an opportunity to hear about the latest dance research, and to interact with members of the dance community.

Tickets ($20) must be purchased in advance by Tuesday, October 28 so that food can be ordered. Tickets include both entrance to the event for the full day and lunch. To purchase click here.

Friday October 17, 2014; 7:30 pm, An Evening with Jane Austen

An illustration of two Regency Ladies at the pianoThe Toronto Heliconian Club will open its 2014-2015 concert series with “An Evening with Jane Austen”, featuring a selection of music found in the Austen family collection. Musical items will be complemented by readings from Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Persuasion and Emma.

Performed in period costume, the programme, featuring Barbara Fris (soprano) and Dorothy de Val (piano) along with a côterie of musical collaborators, draws you into Jane Austen’s world, with a selection of musical favourites of the time, ranging from chamber works by Johann F. X. Sterkel and Ignaz Pleyel to the hugely popular and bombastic Battle of Prague by Frantisek Kotzwara.  In addition to violinist/violist Velma Ko and cellist Kye Marshall, violinist Susanna McCleary will round out the program with a performance of a sonata by Austen’s contemporary Jane Mary Guest. Songs and operatic duets by Stephen Storace, James Hook, William Jackson, Tommaso Giordani and Joseph Haydn, will be sung by Barbara Fris and Allison Cecilia Arends, with piano accompaniment by Jane Blackstone and Louise Morley, who will read from Austen’s novels between musical selections.

An informal Regency-style reception will follow the performance.


Tickets are $25 general admission, $20 students/seniors, available online or for purchase at the door.

November 1, 2014, 7 pm: Performance in the Round, An Evening of Celebration by Women about Women

Celebrating the talent of the women of the Toronto Heliconian Club, this performance will feature superb music, dance, authors’ readings, and visual art. The evening is a benefit concert in aid of Nazareth House, a non-denominational transition home for women and babies at risk in Toronto.

The evening will begin with light refreshments as we welcome our guests. Margaret Weiers will provide an informative history of the Club, sure to captivate anyone new to the Club. Among the Heliconian members performing are musicians Janet Catherine Dea, Ruth Kazdan, Elizabeth Macmillan, Barbara Hart, Dora Krizmanic and Velma Ko; and writers Ellen Michelson, Susan Viets and Mary Willan Mason. Jasmine D’Costa, Angela Blumberg, and Kye Marshall will offer us their interdisciplinary work Ekphrasis. Our visual artists will be represented by the art show By Women about Women.

This is a wonderful opportunity to showcase the rich and diverse talents of our members and to learn about the life-changing work that Nazareth House does in the community. Tickets are $25, of which half will go to Nazareth House and half will go to the Club.

 Click here for tickets.

Literature Section Chooses New Writer-in-Residence

Karen Shenfeld, poet and filmmaker, has been appointed Heliconian writer-in-residence for the 2014-15 season.

Karen has published four books of poetry and is an accomplished reader.  She also has considerable experience in editing and has written many feature articles for major Canadian publications, including but not limited to, The Idler, Saturday Night, Toronto Life, The Globe and Mail and The Toronto Star.

Karen is also the maker of several documentary films and is currently writing a screenplay for Canadian director Bruce McDonald.

Members of the Literature Section look forward to collaborating with Karen and with other Sections and are confident that she will make a valuable contribution to the section and to the entire Heliconian Club.

Heliconian Club Announces its 2014-2015 Concert Series

The Music Section is happy to launch the sixth annual Heliconian Club concert series. The 2014-2015 concert series will showcase diversity in its collaborations with actors and artists, some of whose work is featured below.  All concerts will be held at historic Heliconian Hall, 35 Hazelton Avenue
Toronto, (Bay subway)

Concerts begin at 7:30 (doors open at 7:00)

Regular tickets: $25 or $90 for 4 concerts
Member/Senior/Student: $20 or $70 for 4 concerts
Buy online or call 416-922-3618

10% off “Early Bird” subscription before July 31, 2014

Click here for Tickets.

An Evening with Jane Austen
Friday, October 17, 2014 at 7:30 pm

Dorothy de Val, a specialist in music of the Regency era, invites you to join her and a côterie of musical collaborators to take us on a musical journey back to the times of Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice. The concert will feature music from Jane Austen’s collection and by her contemporary Jane Mary Guest.



Autumn Leaves
Friday, November 21, 2014 at 7:30pm

Music to warm the soul as the days get shorter and the air gets chillier. Janet Catherine Dea, soprano, and Maria Soulis, mezzo soprano, join their voices with an eclectic ensemble of musical collaborators in an evening of Classical, Broadway and Cabaret songs.


The Music in Our Lives
Friday, March 6, 2015 at 7:30pm

Author Ann Elizabeth Carson reads from her book We All Become Stories.  Peggy Mahon, vocalist, and panist Danny McErlain delight with Jazz selections.  They are joined by dancer and mime artist Noriko Yamamoto.


Schubert Abend
Friday, April 17, 2015 at 7:30 pm

An intimate evening of all Schubert music featuring pianists, Jane Blackstone and Louise Morley, soprano Barbara Fris with Rita Greer, clarinet the Encore String Quartet with violist Velma Ko, and the fine musicianship of other club members. Enjoy audience favourites for voice, piano and strings, including “The Shepherd on the Rock” for soprano, clarinet, and piano.


To download an e-brochure for easy printing please click here.


Application for 2014-2015 Writer-In-Residence deadline extended!

WRITER-IN-RESIDENCE APPLICATIONS INVITED The Literature Section of the Toronto Heliconian Club seeks to appoint a writer- in- residence for a one year period for the 2014- 2015 season. Desirable applicants are women at the beginning or mid-point of a career in writing (fiction, non-fiction, poetry), editing, or journalism. A woman interested in applying for the post of non-paying writer-in-residence should submit a resume of her work experience with a complete list of published works (where and when) as well as some examples of her writing. Short excerpts of longer works, not to exceed 2000 words, are acceptable. As well, an applicant should explain why she is interested in the position, of what benefit the post would be to her and how she, in turn, could benefit the Toronto Heliconian Club and its members. A writer-in-residence is expected to attend several events over the year, and to present her work to an audience at one or more readings and/or workshops. She may have the opportunity to work on a project or workshop with other writers and with musicians and artists from the club. Details of the residency will be discussed on an individual basis upon acceptance. The Toronto Heliconian Club is the oldest association of its kind in Canada. Founded in 1909 to give women in the arts and letters an opportunity to meet socially and intellectually, the club holds to its original purpose while responding to the changes of contemporary life. The Club was founded by professional women in music, writing, painting and drama who later were joined by those in dance, sculpture, architecture, and other professions related to the humanities. The members range in age and experience from women who have earned great distinction to those in the early stages of their careers. The Club is currently composed of six sections: music, art, literature, dance, drama, and humanities. The latter section is composed of women who, while not professional practitioners in the above categories, have a keen interest in and knowledge of the arts. Each section meets monthly. As well, the Club holds events on a regular basis. Several times a year club members are invited to speak about their lives and careers. Guests are invited to talk about their work on a regular basis.  Members pay for lunch or dinner when they attend an event. Regular art exhibits, music concerts and literary events are held and trips are occasionally arranged. Should the appointee wish to stay on as a regular member, the Club initiation fee of $75 would be waived but the regular annual membership fee, currently $300, would be payable. Letters of application should be sent  to The Literature Section, Toronto Heliconian Club, 35 Hazelton Avenue, Toronto, M5R 2E3 or by email to  The deadline for applications is June 7, 2014. April 2014