Monday, January 30, 2017

A return to Stittsville for a favourite concert of 2016

Martha gives out our door prize after our St. Thomas Concert in Stittsville

Our third Christmas concert of the Christmas season 2016 was Dec 3rd at St Thomas Anglican church in Stittsville, On.

The Stairwell Carollers in concert at ST. Thomas Stittsville 2016

We always have so much fun there! Such a welcoming crowd and the church has great acoustics.

It is also a special place because back in 2014 we had an early Christmas present!  Gord Atkinson, his wife Elaine - and their son and his wife were in the audience.

Elaine, Gord, their son and wife were a wonderful surprise!

We were thrilled to meet up with our dear friend, who was there when The Stairwell Carollers name was coined!

Reunion with Gord at our November 28 2014 concertGord Atkinson and the Stairwell Carollers - CFRA CFMO Christmas Exchange broadcast

We wish Gord and Elaine had been there this year. Unfortunately, though they wanted to see us, they were not well enough to attend.  I spoke to them on the phone and wished them a merry Christmas from all of us.

It is always such a joy to sing for the St. Thomas community. We will definitely be back!


Saturday, January 28, 2017

Ottawa Carillon Concert featured Pierre Massie's Compositions and Arrangements

The Peace Tower, home of Ottawa's 53 bell Carillon

Another fun trip up the Tower for a very special Carillon Concert. This time, our Dominion Carillonneur, Andrea McCrady,  treated Pete with a program all his own!

about 183 steps to the Carillon keyboard room
The elevator was out of service, so we all huffed and puffed our way up to the keyboard room.

A cool stop on the way up was to check out the clock mechanism that runs the Westminster chime strikes. It looks and sounds like a giant music box!

Andrea McCrady (in Christmas garb) poses with Pierre Massie in the playing room

As I mentioned in the post announcing this upcoming concert, Dr. McCrady is gratified that she has found a composer "in her own backyard" whose compositions and arrangements seem so fitting to the requirements of the Carillon.

She played Pierre's Stairwell Carol so beautifully! Here it is! Enjoy! Concert date was Noon, Monday, December 12th, 2016.

Pierre poses in the Great Hall with Stairwellers, David, Martha, Maggie and Manon

Here's an article by the Toronto star about Andrea and her "high-level" (pun intended) job.


Thursday, January 26, 2017

Quittez pasteurs, a French carol sung by the Stairwell Carollers - YouTube

Winter Trees and sunset

Ottawa choir, The Stairwell Carollers, sing the sweet and joyous Quittez pasteurs, a French traditional carol arranged by John Rutter.

This version of “Quittez pasteurs” is included in our “Qui creavit celum” CD now on sale.

All our CDs are available on our website in both CD and MP3 formats. Buy our CDs and help other Ottawa/Gatineau charities reach their goals!


We are an a cappella group, formed in 1977 by director Pierre Massie. Our Ottawa Chorale, The Stairwell Carollers, has been ranked amongst the best of Ontario choirs in both the 2010 and 2013 Ontario Music Festival Association competitions.

A non-profit organization, the Stairwell Carollers raises funds for local charities through concert, CD and cookbook sales.

Visit our blog
or our website for updates.

Audio: Tom Barnes. Recorded at Knox Presbyterian Church, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Dec 11th, 2015.

Videographers: Sébastien Lemay, Kolin Casagrande, Sam Sloan
Editing: Pierre Massie

Monday, January 23, 2017

Trinity United Church - a look back at a bright new venue

Vibrant and modern stained glass is beautifully backlit
We always try to arrive first on concert night. Since Pierre (Pete) is the director, he feels it necessary to set a good example, and he likes to have lots of time to make sure everything will go smoothly for the performance.

Michèle stands watch over the CD table as Front of House director
Usually, René, bass, and his lovely wife, Michèle, beat us there or we all arrive at the same time.

René is a past choir committee president and now in charge of the Tech Crew.  Michèle has become our go-to girl for Front of House. She is always there to set up and sell CDs and manage all our volunteers (tickets, door, seating etc.) We could not do this without her!

We all assemble so Pierre can decide the best positioning for sound

 We arrive at every new venue with a little trepidation -- wondering where we will stand or how well we will hear each other. Every church has different acoustics which is further affected by the bodies of the audience.
This sweet little angel was at the door to greet everyone

A large, bright modern building, Trinity United - on Maitland Avenue in Ottawa - promised to house a large audience, and we weren't disappointed! The Dec 2nd concert was in aid of the Jubilee Foundation.
Roomy green room was a welcoming space

I couldn't find a single person to take photos of us on stage, so you'll have to take my word for the fact that the church was full. It was, and the audience was mostly new to us. Or, we were new to them. 

Whatever, they were a bit shy at first, not sure about the protocol for our concert (relaxed). But, one song in, a joke or two and Pete had them laughing and smiling. 
Our door prize winner!
Maybe they never saw a choir like us -- no director in front (Pete sings in the tenor section and directs with small movements of his book and his head) -- no invisible barrier to connect with our listeners. 

Our concerts are more intimate and personal than some others since Pete encourages us to look at the audience and each other.
The Eatwell Carollers :)

Our choir is like a big family, and Pete and I are there till the end to make sure no singer is left without a ride home.

We leave as we came, with René and Michèle, our arms full of the stuff that makes a concert happen.

Trinity United Church, Maitland Ave, OttawaThe Tech crew works hard!
Music binders, lighting instruments, cords and duct tape.A lot of equipment goes into making every show a success!


Saturday, January 21, 2017

Stairwell Caroller Auditions coming up -- this week - Wednesday, Jan 25th, 2017 - Book Now!

Stairwell Carollers Auditions for Spring 2017 - email us now to book yours!
You still have time to email us now at info(at) stairwellcarollers (dot) com to set up your audition! We don't do walk-ins, so please take a moment to email us to book your time. The emails come straight to me, so I will get back to you asap with your time.

Auditions for our choir are to be held NEXT WEDNESDAY, January 25th, 2017.

We are currently looking for sopranos, tenors and basses. Altos need not apply - sorry .

Our audition process is relaxed and only lasts ten to fifteen minutes. If you have a favourite song that you think shows of your voice, we would love to hear it. Don't bother worrying about accompaniment, we are a cappella after all. Your voice is all we need :)

Memories! Stairwellers past and present at a dress rehearsal a few years ago

Our group is officially bilingual and we perform songs in many languages as well as in English and French. But, bilingualism or even reading music are not necessities.

Your voice quality, singing style and ability to learn a short song will be assessed at your audition. 

Email us ASAP to book your audition!

Here are TEN reasons why you should Audition for The Stairwell Carollers!


CD Spotlight -- O magnum mysterium - the Stairwell Carollers latest Christmas Carol recording

O magnum mysterium CD cover
O magnum mysterium - our latest Christmas Carol collection,  released in 2015,  is available in both CD and MP3 formats.

Net proceeds benefit charity.

O magnum mysterium CD Lable
As with all our Christmas Carol CDs, the title track, O magnum mysterium, is a brand new Christmas Carol -- written by Pierre Massie just for this new CD!

O magnum mysterium CD - Song details and Thank-yous

Christmas carols old and new in many languages make this an extra special collection for the a cappella choir aficionado.

O magnum mysterium CD - Notes from the Director

                        LISTEN TO SONG EXCERPTS

O magnum mysterium CD - Back cover and song list




If  you live in the Ottawa area, you can purchase our CDs directly from choir members. 

You can also buy them at Ottawa area stores 
 or at our live concerts.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Ottawa choir, The Stairwell Carollers perform O Holy Night / Minuit, chrétiens, Pierre Massie, solo

Ottawa's Peace Tower, Parliament Hill

Ottawa choir, The Stairwell Carollers, perform O Holy Night / Minuit, chrétiens, arranged by Pierre Massie, who also sings the solo.

This Christmas carol is on our “Laudemus cum armonia” CD, now on sale.

All our CDs are available on our website in both CD and MP3 formats. All proceeds benefit charity.


Pierre formed our a cappella group, in 1977 while a music student at U. of Ottawa. Since then, the  Stairwell Carollers have been ranked amongst the best of Ontario choirs in both the 2010 and 2013 Ontario Music Festival Association competitions.

We are a non-profit organization, and raise funds for local charities through our concert, CD and cookbook sales.

Visit our blog
or our website for updates.

Audio: Tom Barnes. Recorded at Knox Presbyterian Church, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Dec 11th, 2015.

Videographers: Sébastien Lemay, Kolin Casagrande, Sam Sloan
Editing: Pierre Massie

Monday, January 16, 2017

Ottawa choir NOW AUDITIONING

Stairwell Carollers Auditions for Spring 2017 - email us now to book yours!
Email us now at info(at) stairwellcarollers (dot) com to set up your audition! Auditions for our choir are to be held near the end of January, 2017.

We are currently looking for sopranos, tenors and basses. Altos need not apply.

The audition process is guaranteed painless and only lasts ten to fifteen minutes. Our group is officially bilingual and we perform songs in many languages as well as in English and French. That being said, bilingualism or even reading music are not necessities. 

Your voice quality, singing style and ability to learn a short song will be assessed in a relaxed manner at your audition.

Email us soon to book your spot!


Saturday, January 14, 2017

CD SPOTLIGHT -- Cantate Domino - the Stairwell Carollers first Sacred music collection

Cantate Domino CD cover

Cantate Domino, our first Sacred Music collection, was released in 2012 ( seems like yesterday!) and is available in both CD and MP3 formats. Net proceeds to charity.

Cantate Domino CD directors notes and thanks

All songs from the Renaissance, all in Latin, this CD has become a fan favourite!
Cantate Domino CD disc label
 We had a blast recording this CD -- Read all about it :)

Cantate Domino CD Song details


Cantate Domino CD back Cover  with song list


If  you live in the Ottawa area, you can purchase our CDs directly from choir members. 

You can also buy them at Ottawa area stores 
online - also available as Mp3 downloads
 or at our live concerts.


Thursday, January 12, 2017

Allons, bergers, partons tous - The Stairwell Carollers on YouTube

Director Pierre likes blue lights

Ottawa choir, The Stairwell Carollers, perform the favourite 17th century French Christmas carol "Allons, bergers, partons tous". Arranged by R. Terry.

All our CDs are available on our website in both CD and MP3 formats. Buy our CDs and help other Ottawa/Gatineau charities reach their goals!


We are an a cappella group, formed in 1977 by director Pierre Massie. The Stairwell Carollers have been ranked amongst the best of Ontario choirs in both the 2010 and 2013 Ontario Music Festival Association competitions.

A non-profit organization, the Stairwell Carollers chorus raises funds for local charities through concert, CD and cookbook sales.

Visit our blog
or our website for updates.

Audio: Tom Barnes. Recorded at Knox Presbyterian Church, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Dec 11th, 2015.

Videographers: Sébastien Lemay, Kolin Casagrande, Sam Sloan
Editing: Pierre Massie

Monday, January 9, 2017

A Perfect Start - St. Stephen's, Chelsea, PQ

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St. Stephen's Church, Chelsea, PQ
Our First Christmas concert of the 2016 season was the evening of Nov 26th - one day before our director's birthday. It was somewhat terrifying for a few NEW Stairwell Carollers.

Why?

Can you say FIRST CONCERT?
FIRST ever with us, for some the FIRST ever in front of such a large audience.
Dress rehearsal, where Pierre decides on positioning us for the best sound
Of course, after the initial entrance everyone in the chorus looked at Pete and his warm smile helped them breathe, smile and relax.
The largest group of Stairwellers ever!
That first song, Carol of the Bells -- sung by heart, was a joyous celebration of all the hard work in rehearsal and preparation that led up to this moment -- the beginning of our 2016 Christmas singing season.
Before the concert, we run through all the beginnings of the carols
The welcoming applause from the packed house at St. Stephen's in Chelsea didn't hurt, either.
The church was full - largest crowd here ever!

Plaque commemorating the 1995 renovation of St. Stephen's, ChelseaGreat marketing strategy to sell concert tickets !

We absolutely LOVE singing at this lovely old church -- such ambience and acoustics!

The community is so well-organized and helpful! We saw two different posters they created for the concert - one French, one English - so inclusive and thoughtful of them.

Thanks to everyone who made this such a successful production. Michèle again headed up the Front of House duties and sold CDs - thanks so much! Thanks to all the helpers and Susan for rounding them up. Thanks to the setup and Tech crew - light, MC microphones and risers.
Martha, alto, and Rae,soprano, were our amazing MCs this season and did such a professional job with very interesting info on each piece and just the right touches of humour.

Many thanks to all in the Chelsea community who attended.

It was a perfect start!



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