When Tone Cluster began in 1994 as a gay madrigal group with a temporary name, no one was thinking about what the future might hold for the choir. Now 30 years later, Tone Cluster is a vibrant musical ensemble that contributes both musically to the Ottawa arts scene and socially as part of Ottawa’s 2SLGBTQIA+ community.
Tone Cluster’s concerts continue to attract a wide audience that enjoys the group’s eclectic repertoire and thematic programming. The choir takes pride in showcasing talented performers from Ottawa-Gatineau at its concerts and commissions new works from queer composers in Canada and beyond.
The choir has grown over the years into a group of 2SLGBTQIA+ singers and their allies who come to rehearsal each Monday night to celebrate diversity, enjoy each other’s company, and make some great music.
Meet the team behind our creative direction.
Deirdre Kellerman (she/her) is a choral conductor and music educator based on unceded Algonquin territory (Ottawa, ON), where she conducts Tone Cluster – quite a queer choir. Previous conducting positions include Artistic Director of Hypatia’s Voice, conductor and pianist with the Ottawa Children’s Choir, Assistant Director of the Ottawa Choral Society and Director of Music at First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa.
Since settling in Ottawa in 2015, Deirdre has become a regular fixture in the area’s choral community. As a workshop facilitator and guest conductor, she has worked with the Cantata Singers of Ottawa, Ottawa Gay Men’s Chorus, Canadian Centennial Choir, and CAMMAC.
Deirdre has studied across North America, including a residency at the Banff Centre’s Choral Art program. She was nominated for the Leslie Bell Prize for Choral Conducting in 2018 and 2023. An avid chorister, Deirdre has sung with a wide variety of ensembles, including Xara Choral Theatre and the National Youth Choir of Canada, and she currently sings with Aella, an upper-voice ensemble.
Deirdre holds a M.Mus in Conducting from the New England Conservatory and B.Mus in Vocal Performance from Acadia University.
A fun-loving queer arbor-artist based in Ottawa and Montreal, Kim Farris-Manning creates works across disciplines that engage with the performer and audience in unique ways. Allowing ideas to grow and change is a central facet of Kim’s work; pieces are often made in versions, through a process of experimentation and collaboration with others. Kim’s artistic and arboricultural practices are deeply connected, feeding and nourishing each other. Named one of “Six Emerging Canadian Composers To Keep An Eye On” (Ludwig van Toronto, 2022), Kim’s work has been experienced in performances worldwide. Kim is part of folk-indie duo YELLOW, and is a founding member of the Paramorph Collective, who will be launching their debut album on Redshift Records in 2023.
Mary-Margaret Annab is an multi-disciplinary artist and youth arts educator originally from Guelph, ON. She has a BFA in Theatre Production and English Literature from York University and a graduate diploma in Arts Management and Masters of Arts Leadership from Queen’s University. As a theatre artist and musician, she has toured across Canada, the United States, the UK, and Poland, and has had the pleasure of teaching youth across south-western Ontario. She currently works for MASC as their Community Programs Manager and sits on the Board of Directors for the Guelph Youth Singers.