Sunday, November 28, 2010

Dors ma Colombe - arranged by our director Pierre Massie

Lovely original stained glass at St. Charles church in Vanier
Dors ma colombe was performed by The Stairwell Carollers on Dec 18, 2009.

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. They make great Christmas gifts and they help local charities.

The Infant King - Basque Noël, arr: Sir David Willcocks

Architectural details at at St. Charles Church in Vanier

"The Infant King" was performed live in concert by The Stairwell Carollers on Dec 18, 2009 at St. Charles Church in Vanier.

The Stairwell Carollers are an 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!!!  They make great Christmas gifts and they help local charities.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

♫♫♫♫♫ NOTEable Mention ♫♫♫♫♫♫♫ Organizing the Choir – the KEY to our musical success

Pierre takes a break outside during the recording of Mourning Dove
As anyone who's ever been a member of the Stairwell Carollers knows, rehearsals are as easy as ABC.  Pierre, our director, provides us with our music binder, packed full of glorious pieces, organized alphabetically -- and in concert order.  It includes an index of the pieces and a practice schedule, so that we know what we are to prepare for specific rehearsals. All pieces are copied for our use legally per arrangements with the music publisher.
Carol book on the New RO

Our responsibility is to organize ourselves to be ready for every rehearsal.  We have to be prepared; first, we have to work on the piece on our own.  This is FANTASTIC for people like me who doesn’t really read music.  Therefore, our director makes it as easy as possible for us to learn our parts ahead.  He gives us CDs, on which he has recorded the parts separately as simple mp3s.  If you're an alto, you get an alto CD.  If you're a tenor, you get a tenor CD.  And so on.

Obviously, Pierre chooses people to be in the choir on more than the basis of reading music.  Our personalities, our style of voice -- our whole demeanour needs to fit the style of the choir, thus he uses his excellent organizational skills to make it work if the perfect voice is not such a perfect reader.
The choir depends on Pete's direction at an appearance in Montebello, Quebec

What?  You don't read music either?  After thirty-something years with this choir, I can decipher the ants on the page (otherwise known as musical notes) roughly – realizing that when the notes climb up the staff, my voice is supposed to go up – and vice versa, but no one's perfect -- especially me.  
Andrea takes the minutes at the choir committee meeting

Did I mention the choir is really organized? 

Pierre writes lyrics, composes music, creates our webpage from the HTML up -- and formats and posts our You Tube videos; 

Andrea -- our incredible choir committee secretary -- also a fabulous soprano – prepares our music binders, posters, prints program booklets, and keeps track of attendance.

Susan is our treasurer, providing us with detailed reports of cd sales and other monies so we can maximise our charitable contributions.

Rene, our president coordinates all efforts.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Da Capo -- and..a bit of Stairwell Fundraising History...

Stairwell Carollers sing at Cumberland Museum

If you love our music and appreciate the fact that we are a charitable choir that has raised over 40,000 dollars for needy charities – you should ask yourself – why haven’t I BOUGHT a cd or a cookbook yet?  They make terrific Xmas presents, can provide calming seasonal music at you home or workplace, AND provide funds directly to charity.  There was a long road we sang to where we are now....
Singing at the NAC
The National Arts Centre 1986

Since 1977, the Stairwell Carollers overriding vision has been to bring the Christmas Spirit to anyone who would listen.  For many years, at the beginning, we eschewed collecting funds for any group. We would just show up and sing in spontaneous unexpected locations simply to bring the season's peace and joy to others. 

The Stairwell Carollers first recording

 In 1984, Gord Atkinson of CFMO FM radio discovered us at Bayshore shopping center.  The station went on to sponsor a recording which ultimately raised over $15,000.00 for Ronald McDonald House at CHEO -- here in Ottawa. This wonderful opportunity persuaded Pierre to aim higher with the choir.  We applied for charitable status and explored ways to raise funds with our music – first just concerts, then Cassette tape recordings and finally our lovely CDs.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Award-winning Choir raises $40,000 for local charities


November 1, 2010

For Immediate Release

(Ottawa)It was once one of Ottawa’s best-kept secrets, but no longer. This has been a “break-out” year for the Stairwell Carollers, a 25-voice gem of a choir that performs without instrumental accompaniment (“a cappella”) year-round.

As the choir prepares for a 34th season of bringing Yuletide joy to music lovers in eastern Ontario and western Quebec, it is proud to announce two major achievements.

This past spring, the Stairwell Carollers received both provincial and national recognition for artistic excellence, placing first in the Ontario Music Festivals Association choral competition and second in the national finals.

The Carollers are also proud of their humanitarian and philanthropic mission. Since 1997, they have raised $41,350 for dozens of charities through ticket sales and profits from their six CDs. 
At the season finale, on December 18, the choir will be making a donation to the Harvest House Ministries. The Carollers also sponsor an annual scholarship for students planning to pursue a music degree at a Canadian university.

The choir was founded and is directed by award-winning composer Pierre Massie, who is Head of Fine Arts at Glebe Collegiate High School. This season’s concerts feature three of Pierre’s original compositions and seven of his arrangements, including the beautiful Iesous Ahatonnia” (the Huron Carol), which is the title of this year’s program.

Stairwell Caroller Sandwich board

2010 Christmas Concert Season

Fri, Dec 3:       Zion-Memorial United Church, 37 Franklin St., Carleton Place
Sat, Dec 4:      Woodroffe United Church, 207 Woodroffe Ave., Ottawa
Wed, Dec 8:    St. Columba Anglican Church, 24 Sandridge Rd., Ottawa  (Manor Park)
Fri, Dec 10:     St. Paul’s Eastern United Church, 473 Cumberland St., Ottawa  (Sandy Hill)
Sat, Dec 18:    Eglise Marie-Médiatrice/Saint frère André, 344 Cyr Ave., Ottawa (Vanier)

All concerts begin at 7:30 pm. Tickets for the Dec. 18 season finale are available in advance from The Leading Note (370 Elgin St), as well as at the door, for $15 (admission is free for children 12 and under).  A reception will follow.

For further information about the Stairwell Carollers, please visit

David Rain, Tenor

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