Posts Tagged ‘choirs; performances; Toronto’

Join my mass choir at the Ontario Science Centre next week!

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

Next week, I’m leading a music lab at the Ontario Science Centre as part of their ‘Science of Rock’ special exhibit. Come join in the fun! The music labs last about 40 minutes and you have three chances to participate in the week:

Tuesday, Aug 19 at 12 pm and again at 2pm

Thurs, Aug 21 at 12 pm only

I’d love to stack the audience with some singers, so please join in! Feel free to tell others too! I’ll be touching on some physiology of the singing voice as well as some acoustic principles. Everyone will then learn a vocal arrangement of ‘Happy’ by Pharrell Williams, complete with some body percussion!

Also, FYI, these music labs have been running all through the summer, organized by Topher Stott of League of Rock , and they are all fantastic. I saw ‘Be the Producer’ today that had kids controlling the volume of individual instruments in a live band (most of whom were from Big Wreck!) (the band, not the kids). Check out the complete schedule on the Ontario Science Centre web site.

Hope to see you there!





my ‘choir’ is performing tonight

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

I’m in a ‘choir.’ I have a hard time telling people I’m in this choir without putting quotes around the word. Because you see, it doesn’t look anything like any choir I’ve ever seen or participated in. If your definition of choir is a group of people singing together, then yes. We’re a choir. But after that, us and most other choirs depart ways.

You’re probably familiar with a typical choir: people arranged in rows according to voice type, facing a conductor and singing multi-part scored music. I’ve sung in these kinds of choirs, and I’ve directed versions of these choirs, and I love these choirs. I’ve been a part of choirs that have broken some of these traditions too, which I also enjoy.

But THIS ‘choir’, initiated and led by Fides Krucker (a strong influence in my singing and teaching, as you might already know), is a totally different animal. It has about 10 women in it. We meet in her living room, generally stand in something loosely resembling a circle, and begin with breathwork, sighs, yawns. We spend some time on vocal slides. We make eye contact with each other. We move around. We stand our own vocal ground while at the same time listening to each other, stealing sounds and gestures from others that we are drawn to.

Then we sing some songs. Mostly pop songs. Mostly in unison. Fides focuses on what she calls ‘vocal texture’—the individual and collective timbral quality of our singing voices demanded through the emotional and vocal journey of each song. For me as a singer, there is a palpable kind of emotional intensity through this approach to collective singing, whether it be joy or anger or sorrow.

It’s a pretty extraordinary thing, this ‘choir.’ At least participating in it is extraordinary. I don’t know yet whether it’s extraordinary to watch because we haven’t performed for an audience yet. Although we have had ‘performances.’

And these ‘performances’ might in many ways be the most extraordinary thing about this ‘choir.’ The ‘performances’ have all taken place at Ernestine’s–a women’s shelter in Toronto. We cram ourselves into a tiny room lined with green couches and a deliciously out-of-tune piano, replete with a few broken keys. And what makes it not-quite-a-performance is that the women of the shelter are invited to join in rather than just watch. In fact, the ‘choir’ sits among the residents on those horrid green couches. We all warm up together, and learn a song together. It’s more like a rehearsal or workshop. Except half of the women haven’t sung much, there are three interpreters, and children run in and out of the room constantly. It’s remarkable, because the ‘choir’ isn’t there to perform nor is the ‘choir’ there to use music as a tool to fix or improve anyone. We are all there working together, on our own and our collective vocal journeys.

If this is a choir, I want me lots more.

We have our first performance tonight at a fundraiser for the shelter. The women of the shelter will perform a song with us. We’re going to sing songs in various locations throughout the evening—outside by the fountain, lining the hallway, around a fireplace, and yes, even on the stage. It’s going to be a blast. I wonder what an audience reception of this ‘choir’ will be? I’m nervous and excited to find out. I’ll let you know…


Sing in the Season

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

Well, ‘tis the time of year for seasonal concerts of all kinds. Here are a few that I’m involved in, or planning to attend. Maybe I’ll see you at one of them?

Echo Women’s Choir: “Land of the Dreams”
Sunday, December 11, 2011 @ 7:30pm
Holy Trinity Church (West side of Eaton Centre)

The concert is named after one of two pieces I arranged for them, both written by the wonderful singer-songwriter Laurel James. I’ve heard them rehearse and the evening promises to be warm and enjoyable with repertoire from regions around the world.

Toronto Jewish Folk Choir: “Chanukah Concert Live”
Wednesday, December 14, 2011 @ 7:00pm
Barbara Frum Library (20 Covington Road)

A one-hour concert by the long-standing Toronto Jewish Folk Choir. I’m thrilled to be joining the sopranos for this concert—the group is absolutely wonderful. Plus the concert is free!

University of Toronto Faculty of Music Choirs: “A Seasonal Celebration”
Wednesday, December 7, 2011 @ 7:30 pm.
MacMillan Theatre, 80 Queen’s Park

If more traditional choral music is your thing, check out this concert from the Faculty of Music at University Toronto, where I’m chipping away at my Ph.D. The concert features a triple bill of the MacMillan Singers (conducted by Dr. Hilary Apfelstadt), the Women’s Chorus (conducted by Ana Alvarez) and the Men’s Chorus (conducted by David Holler). And all three choirs will form a massed choir to perform the Pinkham Christmas Cantata, along with brass from the U of T Wind Ensemble. Yep, there’s gonna be a lotta sound coming off that stage.

Megacity Chorus: “Reflections”
Saturday, December 3, 2011 @ 2pm & 7pm
Lawrence Park Community Church (2180 Bayview Ave)

OK, I’ve never seen these guys perform before, but who can resist a concert when their web site calls them “an older, less dysfunctional version of Glee”? Plus I’ve worked with their conductor Dan Rutzen and he’s amazing. So if you’re into 4-part barbershop a capella-style harmonies, check this one out.

There are probably several dozen other performances of choral and vocal concerts happening around the city. If you’d like a more complete listing that’s not at all Deanna-promoting, Wholenote magazine has a pretty comprehensive listing of concerts in the GTA. Happy season to you!