Wednesday, July 25, 2012

TOP 10 reasons to AUDITION for the Stairwell Carollers

Warming up before caroling in the Byward Market

Why Join The Stairwell Carollers?

1.      The tight-knit, intimate style and purity of sound produced by this a cappella chamber choir, first-place winners in the 2010 Ontario Music Festivals Association provincial competition.
2.      The unique experience of singing under the direction of an award-winning composer and arranger, Pierre Massie, who magically leads the choir from within the tenor section.
3.      The chance to sing in a wide variety of languages: English, French, Latin, German, Italian, Spanish, Catalan, Polish and Welsh, to name just a few.
4.      The diversity of musical styles: from Renaissance and Baroque to modern arrangements.
5.      The joy of sharing enchanting music with audiences in diverse settings: from acoustically rich churches throughout the Ottawa Valley, to prestigious venues such as the Rideau Chapel in the National Gallery of Canada.
6.      The unique chance to present world-premiere performances of original choral compositions written, by choir director Pierre Massie, especially for the Stairwell Carollers.
7.      The opportunity to record CDs of the highest professional standards (6 so far).
8.      The ability to give back to the community in several ways. The choir is a registered charity and has donated over $150,000 to local charities from concert fees and CD and ticket sales.
9.      The opportunity to reach out to young musicians.  The Carollers sponsor an annual music scholarship competition for area students who intend to pursue a music degree at university.
10.   Last, but certainly not least, the great pleasure of working closely, in French and English, with singers of diverse musical and cultural backgrounds from urban and rural centres throughout eastern Ontario and western Quebec.
If these reasons appeal to you, get in touch with us for an audition.  All you need are a solid voice, a good ear and a great attitude.  Reading music is an asset but not a necessity. 

 Arrange a time by sending Holly an email to info AT stairwellcarollers DOT com.

Auditions will be held consecutive Wednesdays in late August. Email us for a specific date and time.

The Stairwell Carollers currently rehearse on Wednesday evenings at a local church in the Manor Park area.  For more information, visit

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Monday, July 23, 2012

Recording a CD -- Cantate Domino -- Part 1 - RAIN

Unloading in the rain
          Six sessions -- that's all it took. 
the Mic

Six grueling, hours-long, standing in place -- awaiting the passage of rain, cars, trucks and airplanes -- recording sessions. 

Everyone was so wonderful -- so patient and so forgiving of  the hardships of feet and backs. No complaints, no whining, no crying -- what an amazing group of people I am so privileged to sing with!
Discussing our options due to rain-out

Now, for the truth...

No -- I'm kidding -- everyone WAS amazing -- and we had a ton of fun too.
Helen, Josee and Paul spend quality time

Binders a-waiting
We arrived each session to St. Barnabas on James street ready to sing our 20 rigorously rehearsed  sacred songs over and over -- for hours on end.
Waiting for the rain to stop...

Our first session was Wednesday evening, May 9 - 6:30 to 9:30 -- and we got NOTHING recorded. Nothing usable, unless we decided to change the CD title to 
"Relax with the Sounds of Rain on the Roof -- (and the Stairwell Carollers)"

Well, it was just the first session...

You can pre-order Cantate Domino HERE.

Cantate Domino is dedicated to the memory of Paul Churchill, Tenor, whose voice and heart will be forever remembered.

Cantate Domino will be pressed in October -- if you live in the Ottawa area, you can purchase our CDs directly from choir members. 

You can also
buy them at Ottawa area stores, online, or at our live concerts.

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Martha, Alto, in the MS Bike Tour, August 11-12, 2012

Martha, Jose, Susan and Ann relaxing during the CD recording
 Hi everyone -- Martha here :)

My daughter, Kate, on the ride last year
This year my family is again heading out on the MS Bike Tour August 11-12, 2012.
It will be my daughter's and my third time on the tour, and my husband's 10th ride. If you have not already made your charitable donation decisions for 2012, please consider supporting us and this cause.
Kate and I go for the one day ride on the 11th, while hubby Patrick does the full two-day ride (Ottawa-Cornwall on Saturday and back on Sunday).

The symptoms of MS are many and vary for everyone. It’s estimated that approximately 55,000-75,000 men and women in Canada have the disease, and every day about three more people are diagnosed.

The MS Bike Tour has been a critical part of the MS Society’s fundraising efforts for over 20 years. 
Proceeds from this event and others like it provide support and services to help those living with this disease, their families and caregivers. They also fund research with three primary goals: to find a cause and cure for MS, repair nervous system damage caused by
MS and stop MS attacks.

Secure on-line donations can be made HERE.

Thank you!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Mondial Loto-Quebec Laval ---------------------------------- a great time had by Les Chanteurs Stairwell

       We  had a wonderful audience for our first concert with Festivale Mondial in Laval, June 24th 2012.

Receptive and warm, the applause rolled over us after our half-hour mini-concert.

Afterwards, people hung around to ask questions and give compliments and great interest was shown at our CD table, "manned" by Michele and  Genevieve.

Genevieve (backpack) and Michele (in purple)
The church was modern with little natural acoustics but Mondial had an excellent sound and lighting crew on hand to compensate.
Light and sound check at Mondial
The organizers were very pleased with our repertoire and requested that we return next year (hopefully as a featured choir).

This posting was delayed due to the untimely passing of Paul Churchill.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Stairwell Caroller annual scholarship winners announced

Maggie argues a point of musicality re a scholarship application
      Once a year, a small group of choir members volunteer their time to help choose a recipient for our annual Stairwell Caroller Scholarship. Applicants must be young musicians who will be pursuing a Canadian post secondary degree in Music.

 This year's committee was once again headed up and organized by Diane Fraser, Alto. She presented Pete, Maggie, Susan and myself with all the supplied information for each applicant ahead of time along with recordings of the performances. A computer glitch held us back for a bit, but then Pete figured it out and we all watched the videos together. One interesting note: YouTube has become a popular medium for our applicants, changing the process a bit for us old folks.

As mentioned in a previous post explaining the process of choosing a scholarship winner, coming to a final decision can be complex and daunting. This year we had six excellent candidates and we spent many hours and ate many munchies trying to weigh all the pros and cons. 

Once again, we decided that two applicants stood out, so we have awarded two scholarships. Daniel Desgroseilliers and Ashley Kurkjian are the winners of the 2012 Stairwell Carollers Annual scholarship 


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Auditions for 2012 - email or call to set up your Audition NOW

Les Chanteurs Stairwell at Mondial 2012, Laval PQ
Our next round of auditions will be held consecutive Wednesdays Aug 22, Aug 29 and Sept. 5, 2012. 

We are currently looking for Sopranos,Tenors and Basses. 

The Stairwell Carollers sing sacred and secular renaissance, medieval and selected contemporary choral pieces a cappella. Our director, Pierre Massie, has written many original works and arranged countless others, so our repertoire is unique. He also sings with us, within the tenor section, which allows us to have a more intimate and emotional connection to our audience in concert. 

The Stairwell Carollers began at Ottawa University, where I met Pierre in first year. My fate was determined that first Christmas season when he asked me to join him caroling in the residence stairwells.

Contact us  to set up your audition, but don't procrastinate -- spaces are filling up:) 
The Stairwell Carollers rehearse on Wednesday evenings from 6:45 to 9:00 at St. Columba Anglican Church, 24 Sandridge Rd. (Manor Park).  For more information, visit

Our upcoming CD and season will be dedicated to the memory of Paul Churchill.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Two cute videos from Youtube to brighten your day

Lava Lamp bubbles
Both these video links were sent to me by friends in the past week.

 I thought it was time to have a light moment.

 I think Paul would have especially enjoyed the first one making fun of O Fortuna.

"Puttin' on the Ritz" - inspired Flashmob by an unknown group in Moscow, Russia. If anyone knows who organized this, please comment :)  Thx to Dawn for this one...

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