Sunday, July 24, 2011

CHOIR HOW-TO -- Costume -- Part Two: Dressing the Choir, Gowns or Gownless Evening Straps?

Holly in costume at Rideau Hall, Feb 2001. My kind of choir gown.
I know what you're thinking -- costumes cost money. Who should pay for them?  Simply, I was determined to do costumes for nothing, asking the choir members to contribute or supply as much as they could give personally.

Yes, this is not how many choirs do it. Often they raise funds to pay for costumes or trips to Constantinople. Without sounding judgmental, I think this is selfish. The kind of music we do (primarily Christmas and Sacred) represents the kind of citizens we are. We want to give rather than take, so, diatribe over, the money was not coming out of the choir coffers if I had any say.

From the get-go, I refused to wear a "choir gown". (And they are bloody expensive!) I insisted our choir was different -- we weren't affiliated with any specific church and I did not want us to appear to be of a particular denomination over any other. I was also young enough to think I'd look like some "old lady" in a choir gown -- I admit I had some preconceptions about traditional choir attire.

I persisted, the choir resisted.

And, for a while I did wear a... choir gown.


A complete set donated to us by Keith's church choir -- they had upgraded and we benefited.
I grinned and wore it.
For a short time.
Only for Masses.

Funny that I have no photos of us in those gowns. Well, you can imagine, flowy, dusty rose polyester. Go ahead imagine. Now go scrub the inside of your eyes with a toothbrush.

Don't get me wrong, I was thankful when the other choir donated the twenty or so robes to us -- at first it seemed to be the easy solution. But, after much whining from myself, (and I am SUCH a whiner) we settled on black and white for singing Mass and for the occasional  Spring concert.. This was easy since individual singers supplied their own version of white shirt and black pants/long skirt.
The Stairwell Carollers carolling at St. Laurent Shopping Centre
Forced to be the bad guy -- I encouraged long sleeves, pressed seams, black socks and no running shoes.

Still, some wore black jeans (not black under lights!) or snow boots -- or black Adidas.

Or white tennis shoes.

Next Part 3

The Choir Costume series links :)

Choir Costume Part 1 - what NOT to wear?
Choir Costume Part 2 - Gowns or Gownless Evening Straps?
Choir Costume Part 3 - Girls in Tails
Choir Costume Part 4 - Period Wear -- Medieval/Renaissance to Victorian Era
Choir Costume Part 5 - Cloaks are all the Vogue
Choir Costume Part 6 - Spring Pastels to Basic Black

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

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