Choeur Maha was founded in 1991 by composer/performer Kathy Kennedy and visual artist Su Schnee. The choir has delighted audiences for two decades with their creative repertoire, singing in as many languages and styles as possible, from Hildegard von Bingen to Hildegard Westerkamp; from Mozart to Madonna and incorporating a healthy dose of electroacoustic music for good measure.
Choeur Maha is well known for its support of women’s organizations throughout Montreal. They perform annually in memory of the Ecole Polytechnique Anniversary as well as International Women's Day, and have occasionally performed in benefit concerts for local women’s shelters and support groups. In 2011 Maha attained charitable status and is raising money for their own concert and recording expenses. You can donate at our concerts or via PayPal.
Maha has produced some of the city’s most memorable musical interventions and guerrilla performances incorporating technology and social commentary. From the large scale sonic installation Never/Always performed outdoors at Place des Arts with over 100 participants to the more intimate surprise performance in the corridors at City Hall, Maha continually turns heads.
Maha’s musical collaborators range from jazz diva Karen Young to electroacoustic composer Hildegard Westerkamp. They launched their first CD Different Angels in 1996 and were the subjects of Patricia Kearns and Deborah VanSlet’s 1998 documentary feature film, CHOIR GIRLS.
Their name is always associated with innovative feminist music, high energy performances and a decidedly non-traditional take on choral music. Over the years, many women have passed through the portals of Choeur Maha, and moved on to successful careers as artists and teachers. The choir has been a pillar of support for women’s choral music in Montreal, helping the public understand and appreciate women’s choral music and the different arts tied to musical performance.
- Weekly rehearsals take place every Tuesday from September through May, from 6:45 PM until 9:30 PM, at Galerie Oboro (4001 Berri), in the Plateau.
- We often go for a drink afterwards at a local bar to spend more time together.
- We have two weekend intensive retreats, one in autumn and the other in the winter—usually one hour outside of Montreal.
- We produce two main concerts per year:
- A cabaret-style event which includes Maha and Maha Community in December
- Our final concert which happens over a weekend with 2-3 showtimes at the end of May.
- The annual fee is $200 to be a member of Choeur Maha. This amount finances our functioning, and the salary of our director. Choeur Maha is a non-profit organization which can give receipts for donations as well.
- Choeur Maha has along tradition of participating in community, artistic and activist events throughout the year. These commitments are not compulsory, and they are open to the members of Maha Community as well. These smaller events allow us to participate in important celebrations and protests, occasionally make some money, to widen our audience and increase our visibility, and, as always, have the pleasure of singing together even more often
Megan Batty is a bilingual choral music educator based out of Montreal and Ottawa. She is currently pursuing an M.A. in Musicology with a focus in Feminist studies (McGill) and holds a B.Mus. in Voice and B.Ed./O.C.T. in vocal music (Queen’s). She has sung in high-level choirs since age 6, most notably, with the Cantiamo Choirs of Ottawa under the direction of Jackie Hawley. Her interest in choral conducting led her to internships with both Cantiamo and the Cantabile Choirs of Kingston (under Dr. Mark Sirett). Most recently, she was named Associate Conductor for Nipiit Kattitut – Voices United educational engagement initiative.
Her work as a choral conductor, a cappella arranger and occasional beatboxer has lead her to study and work with groups from across Canada and England. When she’s not singing, Megan can be found swing dancing (leading and following) or teaching swing at Cat’s Corner Swing Dance School. Choeur Maha allows Megan to bring the feminist methods and theories she studies into practice, and she is so grateful to all of the singers who contribute their energy, their talents and voices to Maha.