Monday, February 21, 2011

NOTEable Mention -- our Roadies :) TECH NOTES -- Lighting and sound for concerts

Unlike most rock bands, we don't have roadies that hang out in the green room inhaling the after-show munchies-- we DO have some groupies, but that's another story...
After-concert munching
 We look to our own ranks to get the non-singing, but necessary tasks done, which will enhance our performances. Setting up the lights, sound equipment and  risers goes to the highest bidder. Uh, I mean, the most willing and strong-backed in the choir.

Rene setting up sound
Rene, Bass, takes care of and transports the bulky lighting and sound equipment with his own van.
Susan and John relaxing at intermission
The choir invested in a quality set of risers a few years ago. When they are needed, setup  is supervised by Susan -- who transports them with her own van from the equipments home in the basement at a local high school.
Rex and Morgan Lifting the Heavy


Morgan focuses, while Rene holds the ladder -- safety first!
Morgan - our youngest Tenor, does a lot of the heavy lifting for us and loves to focus the lights.


Diana, cord mistress
  Diana, a  wondrous Soprano, runs cords and tapes them down.
"Helping with the lighting means having Pete screech "Bzzzzzt" electrical sounds whenever you plug something in. He keeps us on our toes."
David, staring into the light...
Rex, far right -- note furry slippers in Basic Black -- concert-ready!
Long-time Tenor, David -- and hilarious, furry-slippered-wearing Bass, Rex -- set up smaller box risers when needed. They also help to focus lights.
   Other helpers, Huguette - Soprano, John - Bass and former tenor, Youssef, round out our 2010 crew. Of course many others pitched in, and if I missed you I'm sorry -- feel free to correct me in a comment below:)

BEHIND THE SONG -- First Rehearsal of the 2011 season -- Finally !

After a massive snowstorm that canceled our first scheduled rehearsal, and my missing last week due to weird flu-like symptoms -- finally!
my late at night rehearsal grin
So..down to work --
Pierre guiding the warm-up

Our directors particular style

Brian takes note of some dynamics

the Tenor section has some new faces -- yes, we have a female tenor and she's great!

Though we use photocopies, we have paid for permission for certain pieces -- never copy music without permission!

Ryan asks for clarification

Pierre never sits during our 2 hour rehearsal

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Benjamin Zander: Classical music with shining eyes

As some of you know, I and my husband Pete - our director - are both Arts teachers. Today, at a department meeting we were shown this amazing and inspirational video about loving and understanding classical music. I love this man!

I know... it's 20 minutes long -- but SO worth it


Monday, February 7, 2011

Come Again, John Dowland, performed by The Stairwell Carollers, Ottawa

Mourning doves - photo, Holly Massie

Come Again, a lively madrigal by John Dowland, c.1563 - 1626,  an English composer of the Renaissance.  From The Stairwell Carollers spring concert, St. Charles church, Ottawa, On., Canada.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Da Capo - Encouragement and Hope on a Snowy February Night

Sitting cozy indoors with the wind whipping against the window,  I find myself contemplating our Christmas tree.

Yes, it's still up -- Pete likes it so much :) Each year I wait for his signal to dismantle it, though looking at it now its sweet glow of colour painting the ceiling, I know he's not the only one hanging on to Christmas with both hands. This entry started as a simple note to give encouragement to anyone trying to start up a grassroots type of charitable organization. But that darn tree pulled me into remembrance of Christmases past...

This was my first Christmas without my dear mother. She passed away last Oct 23rd after having lived with Pete and I for the last 10 years of her life. She was one of the choir's biggest fans -- attending all our concerts up until two years ago.  She had Alzheimer's, and it had progressed.

Back in 1976, when both my Mom and Dad were still with us, the Stairwell Carollers had no name and consisted of four kids from Ottawa U.  By 1977, we had eight people - two on each part -- Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Bass. Without ever talking about it, our mandate was set -- to bring Christmas cheer to the disadvantaged. We began by singing in the residence stairwells for Ottawa U. students stuck in town over the holidays and went on to sing on city buses and in shopping malls. If anyone gave us money, it would go directly into the nearest Salvation Army bucket.

We never thought we would be here so many years later, we never lost our focus and we always loved what we were doing. Our choir evolved and grew, in size and scope, without changing our mission of bringing the Christmas spirit to all who would hear us.
As time passed, new members with new ideas came and went and our passion for sharing our music fueled our charitable ventures.

A non-profit choir, The Stairwell Carollers has been together for over 34 years now, helping local charity to the tune of over $40,000 with concert ticket, CD and cookbook sales since 1998. Before that, we produced cassette tapes and even a vinyl recording in 1985 to help Ronald Macdonald House here at CHEO - the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario. 

We now have a yearly scholarship set up for aspiring high school musicians who want to continue their studies in music.
In this, the deepest of snowy winters since we began in 1977, we bid good wishes to all with similar philanthropic dreams -- and I hope our story inspires.

We are open to any and all questions and have a lifetime of experience to share. Comments are welcome!  Future posts will outline how to apply for grants, how to apply for charitable status and give organizing tips for choir organizers, leaders, singers and directors.

Holly :)

You May also Like...

Popular Posts

Real Time Web Analytics Google