I’m part of a research-creation team led by Eldad Tsabary (Concordia University). We’ve just released our first mini-opera: Personal Pandemic. This was entirely created, rehearsed, and recorded during lockdown. Nobody was ever able to be in the same room together. I think the results are excellent–the concept is that the viewer sees the lead character’s desk top, experiencing the story through her music production and messaging. The opera uses classic bel canto opera as well as hip hop, and incorporates choral components. I am so proud to be a part of this project, bending the rules of opera, and really… Read More »Personal Pandemic: A Socially Distanced Opera
Spring is here, along with a new look for the web site! My deep thanks to Research Assistant Samantha Tai who really made this happen. The new web site, and the onset of spring both have me thinking about newness in this particular moment of ongoing sameness, brought on by a global pandemic and 3rd lockdown (here in Ontario) that confines us to our house except for essential trips and exercise. So I spend most of my waking hours in my little basement corner working. And while I do different activities through my day from teaching seminar courses to leading… Read More »Spring Arrives with a new look
Today was supposed to be Convocation Day of the first graduating class of community music students in Laurier’s BMus. They have been with the program longer than me, and I’ve spent most of my last three years learning from them and their leadership, curiosity, ambition, kindness, commitment, and genuine enjoyment in each other’s company. A beautiful exemplar of a community of musicians who lift each other up and strive to make good change in the world through music. The community music specialization teaches musicianship, leadership/facilitation, and critical thinking. In students’ final year, they complete a capstone project: a music initiative… Read More »BMus Community Music Class of 2020 💥
I am thrilled to be leading the research component of The Gahu Project. The Gahu Project is a racial justice community music initiative in the Waterloo Region of Ontario that brings together youth, professional artists and arts organizations to explore and discover the music of Ghana. Through a series of workshops, high school students will engage in conversations about racial justice and learn Gahu, a recreational and social dance music of the Ewe people of Ghana which combines drumming, dancing and singing. The event will culminate on Music Monday (May 6) as over 400 local high school students will gather at Kitchener City Hall… Read More »Introducing The Gahu Project
So thrilled to announce that I’ve accepted an appointment to join the music faculty at Wilfrid Laurier University. Here’s the official announcement. I’ll be helping build the undergraduate program in community music, the first of its kind in Canada, and I think perhaps also across North America. I am so excited to be a part of this! This was my first Instagram post in 2012, of Maureen Forrester Recital Hall at WLU. This was also my first music conference early in my PhD studies. Looking back, that seems like an auspicious start!
I am thrilled to announce that I’ve begun working with Sing for Life, an Edmonton-based organization that provides performing arts opportunities to marginalized communities. Sing for Life operates a choir and music lessons at a federal prison, as well as a choir for men who are socially and economically disadvantaged. I’m going to be piloting a new program: family music classes for moms in conflict with the law. The classes will be for moms and their children aged 6 and under, and we’ll sing name songs, action songs, and songs for eating and sleeping and bathing. Our hope is that… Read More »new adventures in music classes
I was in Kananaskis at the Fine Arts Council conference of the Alberta Teachers’ Association. I gave two workshops on vocal and movement improv, and we had a grand time. In the first session, I introduced participants to the fundamentals of circle-singing–the improvisation technique of Bobby McFerrin (here’s my favourite Bobby McFerrin video about the pentatonic scale). My group of music and drama teachers were so amazing! No one had sung in this style before, and by the end of the session, we were free-form grooving and experimenting, with one participant improvising a whole song! In the second session, I… Read More »taking the risk in vocal improv
I’m thrilled to tell you that I am the incoming director of Inspiration for Teachers–the teacher education component of Singspiration, the award-winning choral camp for youth (grades 4 to 12) at Concordia University of Edmonton. Participants at Inspiration for Teachers will have many opportunities to observe and work with master conductors Elise Bradley (Junior Choir) and Dr. Graeme Langager (Youth Choir). There are many other amazing presenters through the week, including Catherine Glaser-Climie (Director of the Cantaré Children’s Choir Program in Calgary), the extremely versatile percussionist Dwayne Hrynkiw, and Alyssa Paterson (Manager of the Youth Orchestra of Northern Alberta/YONA-Sistema), among… Read More »Inspiration for Teachers
I recently had breakfast with a dear friend. Someone I’ve know for many years. He’s made an incredible career for himself, particularly as a playwright and an actor, with a gorgeous singing voice to boot. At breakfast, I told him how through college, I envied him his talent–he seemed to get involved in so many things. A whole bunch of opportunities seemed to fall in his lap. But as I watched him develop as an artist, I quickly realized that while, yes, he is a gifted performer, he works his ass off. He seeks opportunity. He creates opportunities for himself.… Read More »deanna’s got talent. or not.
I defended my thesis at the end of August, and handed in the final document a week later. I think that, technically, I’m not a doctor until my convocation in November, but unofficially: I AM A DOCTOR!! And I am a doctor who now lives in Edmonton, Alberta. I just had my childhood piano delivered from my parents’ house to mine today. My new studio needs work, but it’s looking promising: Not quiiiiite homey yet, but with a little love and a lot of work, I think this will make a fine studio. I also have plans in the works,… Read More »you may now call me dr. dee