Saturday, February 25, 2017

The National Gallery Concerts - part 2, The Great Hall

"Maman" presides over the Great Hall, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa

The first time The Stairwell Carollers sang at the National Gallery of Canada, here in our home town of Ottawa, we were in awe of the performance space. Wearing our tuxes, standing on risers, with the gigantic Christmas tree looming over us, I looked out into the Great Hall and it took my breath away. 

Circa 1998 The Stairwell Carollers
Built to mirror the domed Parliamentary library, the Hall's glass facade stretches up forever -- spectacular in a snowstorm. We stood to face the second floor balcony and our voices lifted, echoing -- and disappeared into the distance.  Not the easiest acoustics, but great for the audience.
Great Hall National Gallery Ottawa

One year, I had laryngitis so I wandered the hall and the balcony taking photos of the group. An odd feeling, not singing with the choir -- an experience I am not eager to repeat, but I got some great photos. 
A photogenic choir!Ferris-Manning Photography

That year, we also had a professional photographer,  Mr. Ferris-Manning, who donated all his photos he took of the group for our use. I was forced to admit that his shots were better than mine.

One of the first Stairwell Carollers Great Hall concerts
We always get the same rehearsal space -- what performers call a "green room". One of the most comfy rooms to warmup in that has all the amenities -- bathroom, change room, coat rack, cozy couches for relaxing and tables to get work done. 
The perfect "green room"

Even a sink, fridge and counter space. A bit more comfortable than cramming 26 people into the kindergarten play room of the local church ( seriously -- even the chairs were child size!)

But, I digress. So, I'll stop.
Michèle helps a fan choose a cd.
Thanks again to all our choir singer/volunteers who set up equipment and, of course, especially to Michèle for running our Front of House and CD table.


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