Sunday, November 27, 2011

Stained Glass windows, St. Paul's Anglican Church, Shawville, Quebec

Stained glass wind at a church in Shawville,  St. Paul's Anglican                                    






Hope you enjoyed my photos.

Travellers three - Pierre Massie -- The Stairwell Carollers, 30th Anniversary Concert





"Travellers three", an original composition by Pierre Massie -- all rights reserved --  performed by The Stairwell Carollers on Dec 15, 2007 at their "30 Years of Song" concert. The Stairwell Carollers are an a cappella Ottawa choir, formed in 1977 by director Pierre Massie. A non-profit organization, they raise funds for local charities through concert, CD and cookbook sales.

Buy our CDs!!! This version of "Travellers three" is available on our "Laudemus cum armonia" CD. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Good King Wenceslaus - arr: Parker, Shaw -- The Stairwell Carollers, 30th Anniversary Concert

Night Snow -- photo copyright Holly Massie, all rights reserved



"Good King Wenceslaus" performed by The Stairwell Carollers on Dec 15, 2007 at their "30 Years of Song" concert. The Stairwell Carollers are an a cappella Ottawa choir, formed in 1977 by director Pierre Massie. A non-profit organization, they raise funds for local charities through concert, CD and cookbook sales.

Buy our CDs!!! This version of "Good King Wenceslaus" is available on our "I saw a swete semly syght" CD.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

CD SPOTLIGHT -- Qui Creavit Celum -- The First Stairwell Caroller CD

CD cover Photo by Denyse Mageau, all rights reserved.
In May, 1997, we recorded our first CD, a Christmas Carol collection, named for Pierre's original lullaby-like Christmas carol, Qui creavit celum.

It became the title track which started a tradition -- each of our Christmas CDs to date have an original carol by Pierre as the title track. It has 27 Christmas carols -- some familiar, some not so common, but all beautiful and a joy to sing. I listen to that CD, mixed in with other Christmas music and invariably ask Pete. "Is that us?" 

At that moment, for a second, I can appreciate our music as the audience must -- as if I had no part in creating it.

original "proof" of  Qui creavit celum  back cover
Katrina in 1993


Our first CD recording was a bittersweet accomplishment, since it was to be the last time one of my best friends, and fellow Alto, Katrina Fowler, would lift her angelic voice in song.

She was in a great deal of discomfort during the recording sessions, but soldiered on -- it was so important to her to get this one last thing done. To get it on record for all time.Barely one month after we finished the recording, Katrina would succumb to her breast cancer. She had battled it for two years from the onset, so her struggle was a short but brave one.



We dedicated Qui creavit celum to her memory, and a portion of the proceeds went to breast cancer research.
Liner Notes for CD
Details of each carol on the inner booklet








Monday, November 21, 2011

UPDATE -- OCDSB Arts recognition award to Pete Massie

Pierre Massie OCDSB Arts Integration Award 2010-2011

Pierre waiting for the event to begin
We went to the Gala at the OCDSB board office and I think Pete was a bit nervous.

Pete was thrilled to see so many friends and colleagues in attendance
It was all very grand. The place was packed with well-wishers for all the award-winners and my face got sore from smiling. Fellow carollers, friends and colleagues were there to share in Pete's big night and he was surprised how many came. He is at  heart a big softie and truly a modest person. His former principal, Pat Kulka was the one who nominated him for the award without his knowledge and kept it secret till she knew he had won.

Afterwards there was an abundant spread of munchies and enough Bridgehead coffee to satisfy the excited but exhausted gaggle of educators.

A lovely night in all -- Thanks Pat -- and of course the OCDSB.


Official OCDSB Awards announcement
Why Pete got this award.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Qui creavit celum by Pierre Massie -- The Stairwell Carollers, video from their 30th Anniversary Concert

Wreath designed by Judy McCallum




"Qui creavit celum" performed by The Stairwell Carollers on Dec 15, 2007 at their "30 Year of Song" concert. This concert celebrated the 30th anniversary for the group.

The Stairwell Carollers are an a cappella Ottawa choir, formed in 1977 by director Pierre Massie. A non-profit organization, they raise funds for local charities through concert, CD and cookbook sales.

Buy our CDs!!! This version of "Qui creavit celum", written by the director of the Stairwell Carollers, Pierre Massie,  is available on our "Qui creavit celum" CD. 


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Away in a Manger - arr: John Rutter-- The Stairwell Carollers, 30th Anniversary Concert

setting up the risers at St. Charles church, Vanier




"Away in a Manger", arrangement by John Rutter and performed by The Stairwell Carollers on Dec 15, 2007 at their "30 Years of Song" concert.  The Stairwell Carollers are an a cappella Ottawa choir, formed in 1977 by director Pierre Massie. A non-profit organization, they raise funds for local charities through concert, CD and cookbook sales.

Buy our CDs!!! This version of "Away in a Manger" is available on our "Mourning Dove" CD.

Friday, November 11, 2011

"A Pittance of Time"-- Written and Performed by Terry Kelly

 for Remembrance and in tribute to the fallen




This video and the story of why he wrote this song is so moving. Visit Terry Youtube site for the full story.


All photos copyright Holly Massie, all rights reserved.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Ding Dong Merrily on High - arr: Charles Wood -- The Stairwell Carollers, 30th Anniversary Concert

Detail of the Reliquary (where the communion wafers and vessels are kept) -- St. Charles church in Vanier



"Ding Dong Merrily on High" performed by The Stairwell Carollers on Dec 15, 2007 at their "30 Year of Song" concert.

The Stairwell Carollers are an a cappella Ottawa choir, formed in 1977 by director Pierre Massie. A non-profit organization, they raise funds for local charities through concert, CD and cookbook sales.

Buy our CDs!!!  This version of "Ding Dong Merrily on High" is available on our "Qui creavit celum" CD.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

DA CAPO -- Joel Haslam and Regional Contact, CJOH TV - The first show

Joel has a plan, Pete looks on
Way back in 1990, when human beings were still manning all the cameras at CJOH and show guests had a dressing room and a makeup artist, Joel Haslam decided to do a segment on us for his own show about local talent in the Ottawa Valley, Regional Contact .
We went on, in later years, appearing many times on Regional Contact (as well as on other TV specials and spots) but our relationship with "Regional" became more special than we ever could imagine.

The first time we met Joel, he, and his cameraman, followed us singing on Sparks street -- and onto an OC Transpo bus. Thank goodness he didn't use the recording done on the bus, since the bumpy ride gave us a challenge to even stay in tune! Then, on Parliament Hill, we stood in a wet, sleety, snowfall singing for the mounties. They seemed to appreciate our efforts to cheer them and we appreciated the cozy fire barrels set up for the public -- and the free hot chocolate. Even then we were jokingly calling ourselves the "Eatwell Carollers". We started the episode on the grand staircase at the Chateau Laurier and finished in the CJOH studios.
The Stairwell Carollers, CJOH studios 1990 for Regional Contact
Joel and Pete discussing carols
All recordings were done live.For those of you who don't know, a 7 minute segment on Regional Contact took hours to shoot, and Joel hung out with us for most of the day.

You may notice how tiny the group was. At only nine members, we had not yet considered going into any competitions or recording CDs. We had however, a cassette for carols released in  and CFMO produced a recording on vinyl in 1985 that raised thousands for Ronald McDonald House, so our mandate of raising funds for local charity was already set.

Waiting for them to set up the cameras at the Chateau, Joel chimed in with us on a verse of one of the carols. Pete remarked that he thought Joel had a great tenor voice and asked if he wanted to join the group. Joel grinned and asked Pete if he was serious, Pete said of course, I never joke about music --  and, with that, Joel joined our merry band.
The crew was  a lot of fun
 Luckily, we had saved a copy of our episode, since The CJOH newsroom and many of the archives were destroyed in the fire that engulfed the CJOH headquarters on Merivale road in 2010. It is embedded here for you to view. Please excuse the lack of quality as it was transferred from an old VHS tape.




Joel stayed with the choir for almost three years, only quitting when the birth of twins and increasing responsibilities  with Regional got too weighty for him to juggle. He asked that we keep his involvement low key, and did not appear in many of the TV spots we did on all the local stations.
Joel, Dawn, Bob, Margo and Louise

Joel is a truly humble and sweet person. When you watch Regional Contact -- he is that guy you see. Funny, friendly, warm, serious and silly -- his contribution to the choir was so much more than his sweet tenor tones.


Next time -- our second Regional Contact spot, in 1993, puts us in period costumes at the Billings Estate! 

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