Holidays with the Bank of Montreal Choral Society
Founded in 1952, the Bank of Montreal Choral Society consisted of employees from Montreal Head Office and branches in the Montreal area. Every December, the Choral Society, which regularly boasted between 40 to 80 members, held an annual holiday concert in the Montreal main branch. Amid the warm lights and gleaming pillars in the banking hall, the choir performed for an audience of curious employees and customers taking shelter from the snow. In 1960, the concert was even broadcasted live from the speakers atop the bank’s newly built Head Office building, allowing the choir to be heard across Montreal’s winter wonderland.
It was customary for BMO holiday concerts to begin with the Choral Society’s theme song, “The Waits,” written by Jeremy Savile in 1667. The song was rearranged by Dr. Stanley Drummond Wolff, an established choirmaster who volunteered his time as director of the Choral Society, to accommodate different voice types. “The Waits” was selected because it was a favorite of B.C. Gardner, Chairman of the Board, who sometimes participated in Choral Society concerts.
Image: Photograph of the Bank of Montreal Choral Society, accompanied by B.C. Gardner (third from the left), performing at their holiday concert, Staff Magazine, February 1954.
A recording of the Choral Society performing their theme song at the holiday concert in 1962, along with the accompanying sheet music, has been preserved by the Corporate Archives.