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> 40th Anniversary > Reasons to Celebrate

Jewish Studies Program

The Jewish Studies Major in Social Science was established in 1986 at the Snowdon Campus providing an interdisciplinary set of courses to students from all cultural backgrounds. At its peak, the program graduated more than 20 students annually, many of whom decided to pursue Jewish Studies at the university level and in their professional lives. The Jewish Studies Program is also responsible for a number of initiatives, including the annual Trip for Tolerance to Washington DC and New York, and the annual Symposium on the Holocaust and Genocide in association with the Kleinmann Family Foundation. Throughout the years the program has organized a variety of on-campus events and hosted several guest speakers providing outreach to both the Vanier and Montreal Jewish communities.

Neil Caplan
Teacher, and long time Coordinator, Humanities

Holocaust Symposium

Now in its 18th year, the annual Symposium on the Holocaust and Genocide began on the initiative of Esther and the late Peter Kleinmann of St-Laurent. Consisting of survivor testimonies, lectures on Holocaust research, and a wide variety of films, the Symposium seeks to develop respect for cultural diversity and a sense of social responsibility.

Neil Caplan
Teacher, and long time Coordinator, Humanities

The Vanier Singers

Formed in 1993, the Vanier Singers was an amateur choir made up of Vanier teachers, administrators, and support staff. Led by then student choir director Jean Sult (and later English teacher Ari Snyder), the ensemble met for weekly rehearsals and performed twice annually at the Église Saint-Laurent next door. The Vanier Singers’ repertoire covered everything from sacred works and Broadway show tunes to jazz standards and world music. An original choir member recounts: “To be able to get together with colleagues and make music, after a long day in our classrooms and offices, was therapeutic--and a great deal of fun. Inspired by this experience, many of our members went on to make music in choirs outside the college.”

John Preston
Teacher, English

Social Science Festival

The first Social Science Festival took place in the autumn of 2000. It was created as a means of putting students in the program in contact with individuals directly involved with issues relevant to the Social Sciences. Throughout the years, some of the speakers have included Elisabeth Abbott, Edwin Black, General Romeo Dallaire, Gwynne Dyer, Richard Pound, Daniel Sekulich, Margaret Sommerville, and Sheila Watt-Cloutier. Currently in its 11th year of existence, the week-long series of presentations and activities has become an integral component of the Social Science Program.

Mark Prentice
Teacher, Social Science

Oratorio Terezin

While the Music Department has earned a reputation for putting on a number of high calibre concerts, of special note is the Montreal premiere of Ruth Fazal’s Oratorio Terezin held at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, Place des Arts on May 4th, 2008. Based on poetry written by children imprisoned in the Terezin concentration camp between 1941 and 1944, and Hebrew Scriptures, Oratorio Terezin featured a 100-voice Vanier College Choir and the 60-voice McGill Conservatory Youth Choir both directed by former choir director Erica Phare.

Nadia Turbide
Teacher, Coordinator, Music Department

Music Department Noon Concert Series

The Music Department at Vanier College has been presenting an annual series of noon concerts since its inception. Every week at mid-day during universal break, students, faculty members and guest artists have performed for the Vanier College community in the Choir Room A250 and in the Vanier Auditorium. These concerts include the Noël Spinelli Vocal Scholarship Recital held in November, and the Tops Concert held on the last noon concert in May.

Nadia Turbide
Teacher, Coordinator, Music Department

Music Department Evening Concert Series

In addition to the Noon Concert Series, the Music Department also hosts regular evening concerts, including: the Big Band Evening Concert featuring a high school Big Band, the Vanier College Big Band and a university Jazz Band held in mid-October, the end of semester Concert Band and Choir concerts, and the Big Band Benefit Concert in April with host Oliver Jones. Several of these musical performances have also been dedicated to members of the Vanier Community who have retired (i.e., David Johnson, Fran Davis), made a special contribution to musical life in Montreal (i.e., as Wah Keung Chan, La Scena Musicale), or as memorials to colleagues (i.e., Vic Angelillo, Art Roberts).

Nadia Turbide
Teacher, Coordinator, Music Department

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