Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The Stairwell Interviews - Maggie - soprano, alto, teacher - she does it all!

Maggie regales choir members with her gaming expertise at a recent retreat
Since submitting this to me many moons ago, Maggie has become invaluable to the choir for much more than her beautiful voice. We record the audio at each rehearsal and she creates a definitive rehearsal time code sheet for each one.  The recordings are our Virtual Choir and her indexing helps so much when we want to rehearse at home. She also monitors pages and links for the website and does the occasional writing assignment too.

She has sung with us now for ten years :)

Thanks, Maggie, for all you do!
1. I, Margaret-Anne "Maggie" Park have been/was with the Stairwell Carollers for five seasons.

I currently sing soprano 1 and/or soprano 2, but I joined as an alto 2 (and sang alto 1 on one concert, without rehearsing for it <gulp!>).

2. Some people play golf, throw pottery on a wheel, write Blogs -- why did you choose to sing? 

I have a lot of hobbies, but singing is like reclaiming a part of my soul that had been missing for a long time, since I hadn't sung regularly since graduating from university nearly 30 years ago, until I joined two choirs (apart from a one-year stint with another choir).

3. Why choral music? 
I love to hear the interweaving of harmonies -- actually, I love being *part* of the interweaving harmonies. Why not Hip-hop or Opera? Hmm -- if they somehow come up with a hip-hop or operatic group that focuses on pure pitching without grunting or vibrato, I might possibly consider it.... What is different about singing a cappella? You don't get to cheat on the notes -- you have to rely on yourself and those around you to keep true to pitch, without vibrato, which is an interesting intellectual exercise that has the amazing reward of creating collectively pure joy and emotion through music. It's a lot of work, but incredibly rewarding, to be part of a collective mind that can produce this type of unique music. Aside from the obvious -- that there is no piano or orchestra...
4. What brought you to the Stairwell Carollers? 

As I was coming home on the bus from university, I happened to see a sign advertising the Ottawa Folk Choir, and it struck me how much fun it would be to sing in a group again. However, since that choir met on a night that I was not available, I decided to see what other local choirs there were. I chanced on two that appealed to me, and emailed both about becoming a member. Alas, Stairwell Carollers did not have any openings for female voices at the time but the secretary offered to keep in touch if they needed female voices. And, at the end of the next summer, I was contacted. I'd been singing soprano 1 for a year with the other choir, but Stairwell was looking for altos. Fortunately, I'd actually been singing alto most of my life, and I have a nearly three octave range, so I was able to audition, was accepted, and have been enjoying the purity of sound ever since! On the spiritual side, I feel closer to the Creator when singing liturgical music, especially when we sound like only one voice per part. The feeling is indescribable to one who has never felt that close to baring one's soul for the enlightenment of others; to bring a composer's work into being is incredibly satisfying -- *almost* as good as dark chocolate!

5. Anything else of Note? (pun intended)

When singing soprano 2, I habitually sing while standing on a box, or a hastily-improvised raised platform which challenges my sense of balance and my fear of falling and breaking my leg again. ;o)

6. Have you had a Stairwell Caroller “Ah-Ha” moment you can relate?

Listening to the master of "Cantate Domino" and being blown away at how good we sound!

7. Sum up our director, Pete, in three words or less... or more... 

Visionary; driven; teacher.

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