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Elora Festival Singers conductor accused of sexual misconduct


Elora Festival Singers conductor accused of sexual misconduct

by Chris Daponte

ELORA - Elora Festival Singers artistic director Noel Edison has been placed on personal leave following allegations of sexual misconduct.

Edison, a member of the Order of Ontario and a longtime Elora resident, has also been placed on leave as artistic director of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir (TMC).

In a joint statement, senior officials with both organizations stated they reacted with “shock, disbelief and sadness” to the accusations. They noted an independent investigation into the allegations is underway.

Edison directed the Advertiser’s March 1 request for comment to his lawyer Gerald Punnett.

However, Punnett did not provide a statement and did not return phone calls by press time.

According to Ludwig van Toronto, the classical music website that first published the story, multiple male accusers have alleged sexual misconduct by Edison over several years, with some incidents taking place at the conductor’s home in Elora.

None of the allegations have been proven in court and Wellington County OPP spokesperson Josh Cunningham confirmed Edison has not been charged.

A March 1 statement  posted on the Elora festival Singers website states, “We recently received letters of complaint from third parties regarding Noel’s conduct.

“These complaints were immediately raised to the boards of both the TMC and the Elora Singers.

“Both organizations responded promptly by placing Noel on a personal leave of absence and launching an independent third party investigation.”

The statement, signed by Elora Festival Singers director John Spearn, as well as TMC board chair Maureen Palmer and TMC executive director Cynthia Hawkins, requests anyone with information to contact them.

The TMC has cancelled a few events while officials search for a replacement.

Edison, 59, is a Toronto native who co-founded the Elora Festival in 1979 and, one year later, the Elora Festival Singers as its choir-in-residence.

He is a past Juno Award and Grammy Award nominee with the Elora Singers and the Mendelssohn Choir.

- With files from Jaime Myslik

March 9, 2018


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