Meet the Director
Born in Toronto, Jurgen Petrenko has Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in Organ (Performance) from the University of Toronto. Jurgen is a member of the Conservatory's College of Examiners for organ and piano. After 15 years as an organist and freelance musician, Jurgen joined the CBC, where he served for 18 years as producer and executive producer. After CBC priorities shifted away from classical music, he became the general manager of the prestigious Elora Festival, where he remained for four years.
Leaving a desk-centered existence behind him, Jurgen is once again enjoying the life of a freelance musician, which has enabled him to take on projects which would have been impossible before. These have included conducting a run of shows for Toronto Operetta Theatre, and regularily playing harpsichord with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony. He continues to serve as the Organist of St. John’s Anglican Church, Elora, (where he also conducts the volunteer choir), and to teach oratorio to the graduate and undergraduate voice majors of the Glenn Gould School at the Royal Conservatory in Toronto. He is the founding artistic director of the 100-voice Toronto Classical Singers, currently in their 28th season.
Jurgen lives an idyllic life on a farm just outside of Elora with his darling wife Emily, and their three horses, about thirteen chickens, and two adorable but very active young Bouviers, and anticipates a long and happy relationship with the Centre Wellington Singers.
History of the Choir
In September 1996, about 25 musically inclined folk (3 of whom are still in the choir), answered the call of Carol McFadden, an organist and music teacher in Elora, Ontario, who had the vision of a community-based choir. From that simple beginning, the choir has grown under five directors: Carol McFadden, Kevin Bieman, Louise Elder, Emily Petrenko, and Jurgen Petrenko.
Over the years, the choir has been blessed with various talented accompanists, most notably Betty Weinstein. Betty has a BA degree from Wilfred Laurier University and has been a driving force within the choir from 2004 to present.
Traditionally the choir performs Christmas and Spring concerts in Fergus or Elora. In addition, the CWS has performed at the Alzheimer's Christmas Carols by Candlelight at St. George's Anglican Church in Guelph from 2011 to 2014. As the choir's mission is community-based, performances have also occurred at seniors' residences, nursing homes, Run for the Cure, and at the Christmas Tree Lighting in Fergus.
The Centre Wellington Singers celebrated 20 years of singing at their Spring 2016 concert.
Executive Members and Roles
|Music Director||Jurgen Petrenko|
|Vice-President||To be announced|
|Venue Liaison||Becky Wittich|
|Special Event Coordinator||Bob Cooper|
|Music Librarians||Louise Lussier, Judy McCabe-Smith and Jeff Smith|