Chris White – A Musical Bio
With Nova Scotian roots that combine Black, White and Indigenous heritage, Chris White was born into a musical family and developed skills as a singer, guitarist, songwriter and performer. Growing up, he performed in a vocal quartet with his siblings and sang in a choir led by his father, Bill White, an accomplished musician and choral director. Chris’ aunt, Portia White, was a classical singer of “national historic significance”, and his uncle, Lorne White, performed on CBC’s “Singalong Jubilee” program throughout its 13-year national television run. Chris is known for his engaging stage presence and his talent for getting audiences to sing along enthusiastically!
Chris writes and performs songs that are sometimes humorous, sometimes touching, always engaging. He has released three albums of original songs – “I’m a Poet… and I’m Aware of It”, “Inner Voice”, and “Music All Around”.
Chris co-founded the Ottawa Folk Festival in 1993 and served as Artistic Director for 16 years. In that role, he created numerous opportunities for attendees to become actively involved with music through participatory choirs, ukulele-building workshops and musical instrument “petting zoos”. He also worked with the Spirit of Rasputin’s Arts Society and Writer’s Bloc to create annual events such as “Musical Friends”, “Gil’s Hootenanny” and “The Great Canadian Song-Along”.
Chris produces and hosts two weekly music programs on CKCU FM: “Canadian Spaces”, Canada’s longest-running folk music radio show, and “Special Blend”.
An active member of local, regional and national music communities, Chris is a founding board member of Home Routes, an organization that presents concerts across Canada. He has designed large-scale musical events for many organizations, including the National Arts Centre, the Canadian Union of Public Employees and Public Services International.
Chris has led singing, song writing and performance workshops in elementary schools, secondary schools, colleges, camps and conferences. He currently directs five weekly singing groups: The Sparrows, a choir for home schooled children aged 4 to 10; Brothers Aloud, a vocal group for men; Minds In Song, a singing group for people with dementia and their partners; and The Merry Songsters, a performance ensemble for retirees; and ESP, an all-ages, all-abilities sing-along group.
Chris received the Helen Verger Award in 2012 for “significant, sustained contributions to Canadian folk music”.