Toronto Mendelssohn Choir (TMC) conductor Noel Edison has issued a statement to Ludwig Van in response to his being placed on personal leave by the TMC board last week.
The statement, sent via his lawyer, contends that Edison believes his actions have been misinterpreted yet apologized to anyone who he has made to feel uncomfortable, however unintentionally.
“…there may have been times when my actions have been misconstrued. If my actions were taken in a way that I did not intend, I take responsibility for that mistake and unreservedly apologize to anyone who was made, even inadvertently, to feel uncomfortable.”
Edison’s statement went on to mention his support for the #metoo movement and referenced the efforts of those working to end the culture of silence affecting the arts sector and elsewhere. For this reason, the lawyer says, Edison intends to “fully cooperate with the investigation which is now being conducted by TMC and ES [Elora Singers].”
Further comment was declined while the investigation continues.
Expressing “feelings of shock and sadness,” the TMC has also issued a statement.
“Faced with this situation, we must make tough decisions, balancing the obligations we have to all parties involved. These parties include Noel and the complainants, and very importantly, they include choristers and all other members of the TMC and Elora Singers community.”
The TMC contends that the choir administration received complaints about Edison involving members of the choir, and immediately passed them along to the board. The board responded by hiring an independent investigator and suspended Edison until the results of the investigation can be concluded.
They have stated that they will not make any further comment regarding the matter and direct those with information on Edison’s alleged behaviour to contact members of the board.
Allegations about Edison’s behaviour has been a poorly held secret amongst the choral music community for decades and appears to have started during Edison’s role as director of choral studies at Wilfrid Laurier University, a position he left in 2002.
Ludwig Van has learned of various firsthand accounts alleging a climate of acute dysfunction, and possible workplace harassment at both the TMC and the ES. These include alleged displays of public drunkenness, jokes causing embarrassment or humiliation of choir members, inquiries about the sex lives of choir members, and an instance of a choir member being slapped in the face — all allegedly involving Edison.
In response to the most recent investigation opened by the TMC, Edison has been removed from his duties from the Church of St. John the Evangelist in Elora, and the Elora Singers.
Correction: A previous version incorrectly stated Noel Edison left his position at WLU in 1999.
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