Mayor Jim Watson, West Carleton-March Councillor Eli El-Chantiry, and Somerset Ward Councillor Catherine McKenney presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award at City Council today to the Ottawa Police Chorus for their contributions to the community since 1972 and for enhancing the image of the Ottawa Police Service through song.
Chorus Manager Barbara Duggan accepted the award on behalf of the 43 members who sing in four-part harmony, and Musical Director Geoffrey Linklater addressed the audience before the chorus performed “Go Now in Peace”.
The Ottawa Police Chorus was the brainchild of former Police Chief Leo Seguin and began in 1972 as an all-male group of active, on-duty police officers under the direction of Craig Davidson an Ottawa school music teacher. The chorus was set up to encourage the men of the Police Force to become better acquainted with each other on a less formal level and to enhance the image of the police through song. In 1991, membership was extended to women, civilian staff and members of the community.
This year the chorus celebrates 45 years of singing for the community in support of the Ottawa Police Service. Three of the original tenors, Wayne Barry, Paul Rochon and Jean Roger remain singing with the chorus which has performed annually since 1978 at the Canadian National Police Memorial Service.
The chorus is privileged to stand with other police choruses from across Canada on the steps of Parliament Hill every September to honour the sacrifice of fallen officers at the National Police Memorial and also performs at the annual memorials for fallen police and peace officers held in May at Queens Park in Toronto.
Significant events for the chorus include memorial services, Remembrance Day ceremonies, and civic events like the Mayor's Canada Day Breakfast, that speak to the variety of repertoire needed and the scope as the chorus continues to address the objectives of its mandate. Over the years the chorus has performed abroad in Bermuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Germany and the United States. It has also welcomed police choruses from the UK and Germany as well as locations across Canada.
The Mayor’s City Builder Award is a civic honour created to recognize an individual, group or organization that has, through outstanding volunteerism or exemplary action, demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to making our city a better place today and for the future. This may include lifelong service, outstanding acts of kindness, inspiring charitable work, community building or other exemplary achievements.
Individuals, groups or organizations may be nominated by members of City Council or the public.
The award is presented at the beginning of each City Council meeting.