Tuesday, January 21, 2020

A Typical Rehearsal, Stairwell Style

Director Pierre runs choir rehearsal from the middle of the circle of singers
Pierre Massie is in his 42nd year of directing the Stairwell Carollers. There have been changes over the years and the choir has evolved, but Pierre has always directed in performance from the tenor section, singing along with us. 
Pierre directs from the tenor section - Stairwell Caroller concert Southminster church 2019
Pete created the choir in 1977 while getting his B.Mus at Ottawa U. and he has developed a signature  method to his madness which results in award-winning choral excellence.  
#1 Punctual
#1 Show Up
#1 Great Attitude

Yeah, all #1, I know. To Pierre these three things are equally important - and evidence of a true Stairweller.
Pierre leads the Stairwell Carollers in a movable Do warmup
He runs choir rehearsal from the middle of the circle of singers, usually arranged in sections according to voice.  Everyone stands or sits as they like.
Pete is a blur -  singing along with the choir as he directs them
Often Pierre bounces around the room, whirling to face the different groups or individuals - rarely still, rarely seated.
Everyone is comfortable in their own way - ready to sing
We aren't allowed to cross our legs while seated, since it can inhibit breathing. This does not mean we are inhibited in our personal expression; clearly Alex has found a seating style that the Maestro approves of.
Keith asks Pete about a detail in the bass part - while Darren pays close attention
As he makes his way around the room, working the crowd, Pierre deals with questions as they come up.
Our little recording device gets all our choral mistakes for posterity
We record each rehearsal to review performance and for additional practice. Very useful for Podcast episodes too as a record of our warmups and attention to song specifics.

About The Stairwell Carollers:

Pierre Massie created our a cappella choir in 1977 while he was a music student at Ottawa University. With wins in both the 2010 and 2013 Ontario Music Festival Association competitions, we are ranked among the best of Ontario choirs. 

A registered Canadian charity, The Carollers also help local charities with net proceeds from concert tickets, CD and cookbook sales.  Since 1997 we have donated over $143,800 to local charities and scholarships.

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You can also email your questions to me - info (at) stairwellcarollers (dot) com.
Holly :)

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