Arts | Music

Calgary Renaissance Singers and Players

Calgary Renaissance Singers & Players (CRSP) are a mixed voice, auditioned ensemble with associated instrumentalists, dancers, and theatrical players, striving to inspire, entertain, and educate through the music, culture, and history of the Renaissance and works that celebrate its spirit.

Our Story

Why We Exist

The CRSP was founded in 1970 by Dr. Anthony (Tony) Petti, a professor of Renaissance English literature at the University of Calgary. Tony started the group as a way of demonstrating Medieval and Renaissance music and drama to his literature classes, and then expanded it with a mandate for public performance. Concerts were, and still are, designed to educate as well as entertain. Tony was well known and loved for his dynamic narratives and flamboyant wit onstage, as well as his kindness and encouragement to all, a legacy we strive to keep alive.

Fifty years later, we are still sharing our love for this glorious, life-affirming music, offering a rich variety of musical themes and styles from sacred to playfully secular.   We perform in both conventional and unconventional settings, for diverse audiences  and with collaborators from a wide range of cultural and musical traditions.

Our Impact

What We Do

The approximately 25-member choir presents several concerts each year in collaboration with guest singers and instrumentalists. We also do 8-10 small-group gigs and 2+ guest performances per year.  In the past year our audience numbers totalled 2,685.

Prior to each concert, we provide a 20-minute educational talk regarding the music and its historical context (typically attended by 75% of our audience).  We also do educational presentations to schools regarding the Renaissance.

We seek to build bridges within the Calgary community, collaborating with performers from diverse musical and cultural traditions (e.g., Jewish, Persian, jazz musicians) and performing for diverse audiences (e.g., Habitat for Humanity fundraisers, Calgary Comic Expo, multicultural Winter Solstice celebration).  In June 2018, we collaborated with the Beth Tzedec Conservative Congregation to bring the world-renowned Jewish choir, the Los Angeles Zimriyah Chorale, to Calgary to perform with us and the Spiritus Chamber Choir.

In February 2019, we added a new feature to our annual concert series, “CRSP Presents,” featuring early-music instrumentalists and other artists presenting Renaissance music and associated arts.  The initial “CRSP Presents” showcased String Theory Music Collective and dancers from the Alberta Ballet School post-graduate program.  In 2020, we again presented String Theory Music Collective, this time in collaboration with visual artist Jennifer Wanner.

We recently commissioned a new work by esteemed Canadian composer Peter-Anthony Togni, to be premiered at our gala 50th Anniversary Concert on May 31, 2020.  This concert has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but will be re-scheduled when circumstances permit.


Our Programs

How We Do It

Choir rehearsals are held weekly from September through May or June.  Our bursary program ensures that low income is not an obstacle to choir membership.  We provide free tickets to all our concerts to low-income Calgarians through the SunLife Financial Arts & Culture Pass Program.

Within the past few years we have attained charitable status and begun holding casinos.  This additional funding has enabled us to begin to undertake new initiatives such as having new, more historically authentic costumes made; beginning to repair/replace our collection of period instruments; and financing the “CRSP Presents” concerts.

We do occasional tours to other communities in Alberta and Saskatchewan and plan to do more touring in future.

Our Requests

What You Can Do

Our most immediate needs are

(1) To hire a general manager to assume the administrative duties of the organization that are currently shouldered by our artistic director (and take up an inordinate amount of her time and energy) and volunteers who are stretched to the limits of their time and expertise.  We will need additional funding in order to accommodate this increased staffing.

(2) A social media and marketing consultant whom we recently engaged (thanks to a generous grant from the Rozsa Foundation) has recommended that we hire a social media/marketing person to handle this aspect of our organization’s work on an on-going basis.  This position could possibly be combined with the general manager if a candidate with the right skill set could be found.

(3)  We hope to commission more new works, and require funding for such.  The cost for such a  commission is around $5,000, plus the costs associated with workshopping it with the composer (in the case of our recent commission, the additional cost was another $5,000).

(4) We are uncertain as to the medium- to long-range impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our operations.  Currently, we have cancelled all rehearsals and planned performances for the spring season.


Marsha Haug



Charitable Number: 795078492RR0001

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Annual Operating Budget:

Our projected expenses for 2019 total $61, 835 (not counting hiring the social media/marketing consultant). This is an unusually expensive year; the total expenses for 2018 were $33,074.10. Much of the difference will come from casino funds.

Financials Board List