Richard Crossman had not been doing much singing due to the unconventional hours he worked as a baker and pastry chef. Once he became a teacher his schedule became more regular, so Richard asked a vocal coach he knew if she would be willing to take on a baritone.
“So I sang for her,” Richard says “And she said ‘No I don’t want to take on a baritone at all, but I will take you on as a tenor.’” Richard is in fact a dramatic tenor, or tenore di forza, with a full-toned, robustly emotive voice.R
ichard got his start in music at an early age. His grandmother was a choir director and church organist, who had been a mezzo-soprano soloist in her youth. Richard sang with her a lot and his first performance was at the age of three; ‘Twas Night Before Christmas.
He was also learning piano, and by the time he was 19, had almost worn out six music teachers. “I was not a model student,” Richard says. “As I got more proficient I was always pushing the envelope. I would do the minimum practice on my lesson before getting bored and playing anything else I could get my hands on.”
As a result he was able to sight read quite well at an early age but his instructors were not always happy with progress on the technical lessons. So Richard would say he wanted to quit or move on, and another teacher would take over and ultimately get him to the next level.
He has studied with Royal Conservatory of Music or equivalent in piano, harmony, voice, conducting, and organ. Like his grandmother, Richard became a church organist and choir director, a role he has relished for more than 40 years.
And Richard’s experience as a performer spans 50 years, including his work on stage in theatrical productions, television, commercials, film, and music videos, and as member of the Opera Hamilton Chorus.
In 2008 Richard founded The Baker Street Victorian Carollers® as the logical next step when the carolling troupe he had started with his business partner parted company.
As well as singing, he is the Artistic Director, and Conductor. “It’s been a great run,” Richard says.
The roster is now comprised of 35 singers, with the potential to form up to 5 quartets to perform simultaneously at various venues. They offer their seasonal entertainment for hire to many events including for local BIAs, corporations, and private parties.
The Baker Street Victorian Carollers® performed on CBC’s Murdoch Mysteries, making 2 appearances in the standalone Christmas special A Merry Murdoch Christmas. The episode aired December 21st, 2015, in the show’s ninth season, and it was the most popular episode in the franchise.
As a professional costume designer and the proprietor of Hever Costumes & Designs, Richard also supplies his carolling troupe with their late Victorian era garments. But that’s another story.
Watch for The Costume Designer, coming here to People in Your Neighbourhood™ in 2020.
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