Saturday, September 23, 2017

Interview with the Director - Part 2 - A Babe is Born

Pete composes music using Finale

An interview with Pierre Massie (fellow tenor) - Director and founder of The Stairwell Carollers - on the choir's 40th Anniversary 

Part 2 - A Babe is Born

by David Rain
I understand you have also written a special composition to honour the choir’s 40th anniversary? 

Yes, it is a bilingual carol called, “A Baby is Born / L'Enfant est né” Inspiration comes when it comes, in different ways. Part of the melody I used here had already been created years back. I have a folder of melodic ideas. I listened to some of them, chose one and built from that, until the arrangement was almost complete.

I then wrote season-appropriate lyrics in both official languages making it truly Canadian.
Canada 150 Tulip
Do you have any final comments, have there been any changes with the choir these past 40 years that you'd like to highlight?

We change with the years and with age of course.
The Stairwell Carollers, carolling on Sparks Street, 1977
In the beginning our philanthropic adventures brought us all over the city: carolling on a bus, singing for a parking lot attendant, in hospitals, malls, retirement homes, food banks, on the street and live in local markets. Some years we'd perform over 20 gigs at Christmas time. Back then we had the energy for it.
Carolling in the Rideau Centre, late 80's
Our primary mandate is still to educate and promote the public understanding and appreciation of choral music. This is done through presentations of traditional Christmas carols during the Christmas season, and sacred and secular music from all eras during our spring season.
Singing at Notre Dames de Lourdes, Ottawa - early 90's
In order to fulfill this mandate, we encourage professional development and we often have choral workshops and ear training and rhythm activities when we can fit it in.
Rae changes places in a challenging choral exercise
The money we raise is used to cover our annual operating expenses which occasionally includes upgrades to our lighting system, and our media storage for our every growing archives. This allows us to continue providing the global community with an opportunity to experience high quality a cappella singing.

Our library of sheet music, live concert footage, and vocal training podcasts are great educational tools, not only for the choir but also for the general public.

Our many social media sites, such as Facebook, TwitterYouTube, and Pinterest help promote interest in, and give exposure to our genre of music.

We feel it essential to maintain this portal to a repertoire that ranges from the Medieval to the most modern 21st century examples of a cappella singing.
Past winners of the Stairwell Scholarship are announced at a spring concert
Our secondary mandate is to support local charities and provide bursaries to community high school graduates entering first year music studies at a Canadian university.
All remaining profits from CD, ticket sales and concert fees are used for this purpose.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Pierre, and I’m sure I speak for my fellow choir members when I say we are really looking forward to this 40th anniversary season!


Please DONATE to support our 40th year events! 
All Donations receive a charitable receipt.

A registered Canadian charity, we also help local charities with our concerts and CDs !

The Stairwell Carollers:

Pierre Massie started our a cappella choir in 1977 while he was a music student at Ottawa University. The Stairwell Carollers are ranked among the best of Ontario choirs, winning both the 2010 and 2013 Ontario Music Festival Association competitions. 



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