The St. Sava Choir
Inspired by the establishment of choirs in Windsor, Hamilton and Niagara Falls, members of the Sumadija Youth Organization in Toronto started an initiative for beginning the St. Sava Church Choir, taking its name from the St. Sava Church in Toronto.
The Church Choir was founded many years ago, on February 20, 1955, and Kosta Joksimovic was elected as the first president. The vice president was Mara Topolac, secretary Olga Saban and treasurer Aleks Ristic, and among the first members were Gorica Miok, Olga Peyeur and Bojana Joksimovic, who even today by their presence link the old and new generations.
The presidents who served after Kosta Joksimovic were Damjan Joksimovic and Bora Dragasevic, who served as director of the choir for many years. Later as presidents of the Board came Dragoslav Radosavljevic, Gojko Protic, Stevo Dobric, Micko Brajevic, Vaso Kosevic, Baco Kiurski, brothers Mikalacki, Nada Petrinjac, Nada Tijanic, Aleksandra Brkic, Mihajlo Lukic, Zarko Doncic, Milena Protic, Ljiljana Novakovic, Bora Dragasevic, Cedna Gasic, Vasilj Petrovic, and for the last two years Jovan Lukic.
Just six months after the choir was established, on November 13, 1955, it began singing the responses at the Divine Liturgy at the St. Sava Church on River Street, and the choir held its first annual concert.
Betty Labas Kovac was the first director of the choir and successfully led it almost twenty years. Subsequent directors were Marinko Pepa, Marija Topalovic, Milena Protic and Marko Doncic. It is interesting to note that Marko Doncic started his directing career at age sixteen, and that he directed here for fifteen years, until such time as he moved from Toronto to London, where he started a church choir.
Before the church schism in 1963, the Youth Choir was established from members of the church school. The children choir had around forty members and the director was Mirjana Dragasevic. Within this choir was a children's tambura orchestra. The director at the beginning was Djordje Joksimovic and later Baco Kiruski. The orchestra had more then twenty members.
In subsequent years, the choir lost many of its members, many great voices. However, after arrival of Nikola Manojiovich from Windsor to be the director, the choirs shined again with its old glory. With initial assistance from Andrija Puzic and Janez Govednik, full support was given to Nikola Manojiovich who directed the choir in church since 1990, and at public concerts a few years later. Assistant director and today's president of the Choir is Jovan Lukic.
For a full 46 years the St. Sava Choir sang in the St. Sava Church on River Street. However, despite the best intentions, it was impossible to sing in two places at the same time (at the Chapel in the Serbian Center in Mississauga and in the St. Sava Church), therefore it was decided that the St. Sava Choir become the official choir of the Assembly of Serbian Saints Church in Mississauga.
Responsibility was given to the newly elected board of the St. Sava Choir to make sure that everything goes according to plan, to make sure that the choir's singing is true spiritual music. Board members were: Jovan Lukic, president, Bora Dragasevic vice president, Sanja Segan, second vice president and secretary for Serbian language, Mira Rados secretary for English language, Olga Peyeur treasurer, Angelina Todorovic and Draga Dragasevic, librarian and Ljepsa Bogojevic trustee.
For almost a half century the St. Sava Choir stood in defense of its faith. May God grant that it continue this course.
All Serbian Saints
2520 Dixie Road
Mississauga, Ontario L4Y 2A5