The 10 best Choir! Choir! Choir! videos

The 10 best Choir! Choir! Choir! videos

Choir! Choir! Choir! at Massey Hall. Choir! Choir! Choir! at Massey Hall.
 Photograph by Joseph Fuda

About five years ago, Nobu Adilman and Daveed Goldman assembled a small choir for a mutual friend’s wedding. They had a blast, so they did it again. Soon, they were meeting every week, then twice a week, with more and more people showing up each time. Choir! Choir! Choir! has sung with Tegan and Sara at the Junos, performed at a David Bowie tribute in New York and invaded Massey Hall to pay homage to Prince. Anyone can join: just show up at Clinton’s Tavern with a fiver on Tuesday or Wednesday nights. Need some inspiration? Here are the chorus’ 10 best videos.

Justin Bieber

10 Choir! recorded JB’s mea culpa anthem in January, at the height of Bieber fever. It was one of the first times they hit capacity at Clinton’s and had to turn hopeful choristers away at the door. They capped the night off with a sweaty dance party to the song they’d already spend two hours singing.


Joel Plaskett
When I Close My Eyes

9 Haligonian singer-songwriter Joel Plaskett stopped by the Drake Underground to give his wistful love song the three-part-harmony treatment. We’re betting a few tears were shed that night.


Taylor Swift
Blank Space (Vancouver edition)

8 Last March, Adilman and Goldman took their act on the road. They regularly conduct one-off Choir! sessions at business conferences and other events, but this Vancouver edition was the first time they tried to emulate the genuine article in another city. You decide which town sang it better.



7 This classic took place at No One Writes to the Colonel, the bar at College and Bathurst that Choir! called home for years. There were no special guests or gimmicks—this song is simply made to be sung by a choir.


Coax Me

6 Chris Murphy and Jay Ferguson also joined Choir! at the Drake to prettify their band’s melancholy 1994 single, “Coax Me,” which contains the most famous lyric in Canadian indie rock: “It’s not the band I hate, it’s their fans.” That night, Ferguson demystified the line: while many people assume it’s about the Tragically Hip, it’s actually inspired by a Kate Bush devotee he knew in high school.


John Lennon
Imagine feat. Reuben Bullock

5 During the Syrian refugee crisis, Choir! pledged to raise $30,000 to sponsor a family. After this performance, featuring the front man of Calgary indie-rock band Reuben and the Dark, they more than doubled their goal. They’ve been matched with two Syrian sisters, as well as an Iraqi family of six, all of whom are set to arrive in the coming months.


David Bowie
Space Oddity

4 When David Bowie died, Choir! organized this “Space Oddity” singalong at the AGO in record time. The video went viral and earned them an invitation to sing alongside Michael Stipe and the Flaming Lips at a two-night David Bowie tribute at Carnegie Hall and Radio City Music Hall.


Patti Smith
Because the Night

3 Before Joel and Sloan and Reuben, there was Patti Smith. Choir! backed her up when she performed at the AGO in March 2013—one of their first brushes with the artists they’d spent years covering. “Because the Night” has been a mainstay in the group’s set list ever since.


When Doves Cry

2 On April 21, 2016, the day Prince died, Choir! performed at Waterkeeper’s charity gala at CBC studios. Adilman and Goldman arranged an abridged version of “When Doves Cry” minutes before taking the stage. Less than two weeks later, 2,000 singers showed up to do it justice at Massey Hall.


Leonard Cohen
Hallelujah feat. Rufus Wainwright

1 If you’ve seen just one Choir! Choir! Choir! video, this is probably it. During Luminato Festival, Rufus Wainwright took the lead on a Leonard Cohen–approved arrangement of “Hallelujah.” The New Yorker covered the session, and a video of the performance has hit a million views (and counting) and features at least one former Governor General (Pssst: check 1:43).

More Choir! Choir! Choir!


July 14, 2016

An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that Miley Cyrus performed at the David Bowie tributes in New York. It also said that the New Yorker article was published in response to the video of Choir! Choir! Choir!'s performance with Rufus Wainwright; in fact, the piece was published before the video was released.