ROOM - Richmond D

John-Michael Erlendson & Patti Jannetta

Festivals must innovate to remain relevant and continue to draw audiences.  SING! The Toronto Vocal Arts Festival has expanded not only in length (from three days to 10 days) but also beyond the standard music festival model to innovate and inspire through unique programming that reaches into disparate communities, both general and music.   Key pillars are:

a) Innovation across communities:  reaching out to people who are adjacent or part of a larger context to your initial style.  SING! began with presenting contemporary a cappella but has expanded to include barbershop, jazz, world music, classical music, and live looping. 

b) Innovation across disciplines:  producing program that pairs music with other art forms, including dance, film, visual arts, and technology

c) Innovation across borders:  reaching beyond the core community (SING! Toronto Festival in Toronto) to partner with international festivals in the UK and Italy, as well as produce festivals under the SING! brand in Nanaimo (BC), Edinburgh (Scotland), Mexico, and four cities in Texas, creating opportunities for Canadian artists to be showcased nationally and internationally

Through this type of innovation, festivals can expand their audience base and attract a broader spectrum of sponsors and donors.

Three KEY Learning Outcomes:

1. Manageable and simple strategies for expansion that do not require significant investment

2.  Understanding and motivating festival artists to be partners in the festival growth and expansion

3.  Ideas for expansion beyond borders

John-Michael Erlendson is General Manager of SING! The Toronto Vocal Arts Festival, co-founder of a cappella groups Countermeasure. Ruach Singers and the new Beatsync, award-winning composer, recording artist, international performing artist, and Senior Business/Process Specialist and Project Manager with over 10 years of experience in Business Process Management (BPM) and Project Management. Once deemed “the youngest professional songwriter in Canada” at age 11, J-M grew to becoming a key member of internationally-recognized collegiate a cappella groups Onoscatopoeia(the Hart House Jazz Choir at University of Toronto), Varsity Jews (University of Toronto), TBA (Tunes, Beats, Awesome), and his own New Resonance Choir (University of Toronto). He has toured throughout Europe, the UK, Canada, and Asia as a singer/songwriter/instrumentalist for 24 years, represented Canada as a “cultural ambassador” to major events in several foreign countries, and managed events internationally for Sphere Entertainment for 10 years. It is his artistic vision, and process management skills as an engineer specializing in systems that ensures the excellence and fine-tuned organization of the SING!

John-Michael Erlendson

SING! The Toronto Vocal Arts Festival

Beyond Borders: Festival innovation that drives brings in more audiences and brings in more support

Thursday, February 27, 2020 - 10:15 am - 11:15 am






Presented by: