Thursday, January 30, 2014

Knox Presbyterian church, 2013 Christmas Concert Recap

Twinkling Christmas tree

           What an incredible venue to have for the first of our own 2013 Christmas carol concerts! 
Knox Presbyterian church interior before the concert
A cathedral - sized church in downtown Ottawa

A cathedral in both size and style, Knox Presbyterian Church at 120 Lisgar St. Ottawa, Ontario, is impressive indeed --  a Gothic jewel at the center of our Nation's capital!
The Stairwell Carollers stand before a full house at Knox Presbyterian church, Ottawa
The Stairwell Carollers present a $2000 cheque to Youville Center -- Photo, Genevieve Lajoie
And the acoustics! Out of this world! I recommend this church to anyone wanting the experience of singing choral music in a cathedral setting.

One of our proudest moments was presenting the $2000 cheque to a representative of Youville center. Giving financial help to local charities is a core mandate of the Stairwell Carollers choir.
Keith Bailey, MC introduces a Christmas carol
Our MC, Keith Bailey, introduces a Christmas carol
Wouldn't you know it, Saturday, Dec 14th had to be one of the worst storms that month! Despite the rotten Ottawa weather, we had good attendance.The people who came were obviously dedicated fans to brave the blowing sleet and snow -- and we thank them for their staunch support!

Keith, former Stairwell Caroller Bass and our MC at Knox
Keith, former Stairwell Caroller Bass and our MC at Knox
Former Bass, Keith was a stellar MC, his booming British accent in fine form and his smile infectious. His blend of music factoids and wry humour is always spot on -- making the concert complete.
Pierre gives the choir  notes (pun intended) on a piece of music in the pre-concert warmup
Pierre gives the choir  notes (pun intended) on a piece of music in the pre-concert warmup
Tom Barnes recorded the audio for us, as always, while two friends took the live video. You will see the songs on YouTube over the coming months,  our director Pierre editing it all together (he doesn't do enough, after all).

Reception hall at Knox Presbyterian Church, Ottawa
The well-attended reception afterwards was held in the church's huge hall-- bright and cheery -- like the rest of Knox, full of Gothic style and atmosphere.

Door prize winner grins with presentation of gorgeous gift basket
Pete awards the door prize -- a handmade gift basket filled with goodies and cds
As always, at our Christmas concerts, Pete awarded a festive gift basket door prize to a lucky audience member. Our thanks for coming to our concert! All in all, it was a great new church experience.

Many thanks once again to Michele, Susan and their crew for handling tickets at the door, CD sales and distributing programs.
Huguette, former Soprano with the Stairwell Carollers, makes an elegant usher
Huguette, former Soprano with the Stairwell Carollers, makes an elegant usher

Friday, January 24, 2014

Ottawa Choir Auditions Next Week! Basses, Tenors please contact us Now! See Youtube Video

Stairwell Carollers call for auditions              Just a few more days before auditions start at St Columba Church, 24 Sandridge, Ottawa, Ontario - Wed Jan 29th and the following Wed Feb 5th! 
To reserve your audition time, email us at 

If you have questions, email anytime or use the comment option below. Holly will reply ASAP.

If you live in the Ottawa/Gatineau area, The Stairwell Carollers may be the choir you've been looking for.

We sing Renaissance, ancient and modern music in a capella style, and rehearse once a week year round (with a little summer vacation:). We have two seasons -- Spring (Renaissance and Medieval Sacred and secular pieces, Masses and Madrigals) and Christmas (Christmas carols ancient, Olde and New).

The ability to read music is an asset, but not a requirement for our group :)

Thursday, January 16, 2014

I hear some new singers in the Stairwell! 2014 Spring season auditions coming up -- January 29th and Feb 5th

The Stairwell Carollers 2014 official group photo
                We'd like to welcome this past year's new members of the Stairwell Carollers. All are in our newest group photo -- and.... here they are!

In the Soprano section, we were thrilled to get Patty Morrison -- a beautiful girl with an equally beautiful voice and personality.
Patty and her cat
Patty and Beatrice
She-Yang -- photo by Denyse Mageau

 In the Tenor section, She-Yang brings pure notes, an angelic demeanor with a devilish grin and a consistently positive attitude.

On a down note, a large hole was left in the Bass section when both Keith and Bill decided to retire from the group after many years of staunch Stairwelling. We will miss you both!
Bill and Keith, Basses, relax at Cantate Domino recording session
Bill and Keith relax at Cantate Domino recording session
So... we have two new Basses...

Andrew (who looks like a tenor) surprised me with his deep mellow tones.
Stairwell Carollers in action
Andrew, far right, pays close attention to Pierre's direction. Photo, Suzanne Gibeault
Last, but definitely not least is David. A deep resonant Bass voice combined with a wicked sense of humour.
David, at left, pen at the ready, works hard at rehearsal -- while Pierre directs from the center of the circle
David, at left, pen at the ready, works hard at rehearsal -- while Pierre directs from the center of the circle
Welcome, welcome all!
And... believe it or not -- 
we are still auditioning for an Alto, tenor and a bass, Jan 29th and Feb 4th. 
Please contact us by email -- info (@) -- 
don't forget to remove those parentheses!

Monday, January 13, 2014

2013 Christmas Concert Recap -- The National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario

Maman and National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada silouetted against sunset
the National Gallery of Canada
                For a number of years now, we have been invited to sing at the National Gallery during both our Spring and Christmas singing seasons.
Kelly and Susan in the Green Room before the concert
Kelly and Susan in the Green Room before the concert
For 2013, we were relocated to the Garden Court because the Grand Hall is under renovation. Thank goodness we still had the lovely green room to relax in! We had loved singing in front of the Giant tree in the Grand hall, so were wondering how the new venue would work out.
Seasonal colours in a sea of bromeliads
Seasonal colours in a sea of bromeliads
 The Garden Court has a sky light ceiling and is filled with real trees and seasonal plantings. I was expecting the usual poinsettia display and was pleasantly surprised by the choice of green and red bromeliads.
The Stairwell Carollers sing in the cloister at the National Gallery
We often looked up to the audience ringing the upstairs balcony above us
 The acoustics were tremendous, and we could all hear each other so well -- everyone loved the experience of singing in the new space! Andrea McCrady (our Dominion Carilloneur) was in attendance, and explained to me that the room was designed as a cloister -- which are traditionally designed to enhance sound.

 Above the stone archways the ceiling reaches up to the second floor with a balcony all the way around.
The Stairwell Carollers sing before a sea of bromeliads in the cloister at the National Gallery
Audience filled the space and surrounded the balcony through our entire hour mini-concert.
Thanks to Laurie for doing the CD table! Andrea McCrady on the right discusses the concert with our director, Pierre
Thanks to Laurie for doing the CD table! Andrea McCrady on the right discusses the concert with our director, Pierre
I am planning a post that reviews our singing history at the National Gallery. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

St. Stephen's Church, Chelsea, Quebec -- Christmas Concert Recap 2013

St. Stephen's church Chelsea, PQ against a cobalt winter sky
St. Stephen's church against a cobalt winter sky
            A gorgeous and crisp winter's night, a quaint Heritage church and an intense and focused audience made St. Stephen's concert, Saturday, Dec 7th, truly one of a kind.

We were in awe of the atmosphere as we waited for Pete to give us our first note.
A Full House! View from the choir loft, St. Stephen's church, Chelsea, PQ Photo, Suzanne Gibeault
A Full House! Photo, Suzanne Gibeault
The church has amazing acoustics and is visually stunning.
Altar details with angel sculptures in candlelight
Altar details with angel sculptures
The icons and painted murals reminded me of our recent visit to Medieval churches in Germany.
View of Central ceiling mural hovers above the pews
Central ceiling mural
We arrived ahead of everyone -- to a vision in the night...
 Front view of St. Stephen's at night
St. Stephen's at night
The blue sky just past dusk gave me the chance to capture some glorious shots of the exterior.
View of Ironwork sign for St. Stephen's silouetted against the crisp winter night sky
Ironwork sign for St. Stephen's
Waiting inside.. a photog's dream.
Impressive View from the second floor balcony at St Stephen's, Chelsea, PQ
View from the second floor balcony
A little setting up, a little rehearsing and a little, sorry, make that a LOT of encouragement and hands-on help from the churches deacons put everyone in a singing mood.

The organizers even supplied a photographer, Suzanne Gibeault, who took all the concert photos (since I was singing) and promptly sent them to us -- an early Christmas present!
Front view of the Stairwell Carollers having a singing good time! Photo, Suzanne Gibeault
Having a singing good time! Photo, Suzanne Gibeault
Happy New Year!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2014 AUDITIONS for The Stairwell Carollers -- contact us now!

       Just a quick note to everyone that auditions are coming up Jan. 29th to Feb. 5th for our 2014 singing seasons!

We are currently auditioning Tenors, Basses and Altos. 

Please email us for audition details at 
info AT StairwellCarollers DOT com 

You may want to check this out...
Top Ten Reasons to Audition for the Stairwell Carollers

January 2014 Choral Music Monthly Link-Up Now On! The BEST Music Blogger linky party you will find...

LINK up your Musically-related photos, articles, compositions and blog posts with us NOW.
Here are the 3 Top Posts for December....

Choirs without a conductor   KBeez Musings

 In this thoughtful post, Karen Boyce muses about being thrust into the role of interim musical director for two choirs she regularly accompanies on piano.


Next, we were featured in Ottawa's preeminent blog Apt. 613!

Lastly, some sage advice for us music bloggers, from Being a Wordsmith

Must-Have Qualities for your Blog Posts

We want to connect with other bloggers who love choral music.
Use our easy Linky tool to post your composition tips, singing techniques, ideas for the best recording venues and your fave choral videos.

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Visit as many of these bloggers as possible and leave a quick comment like, "Hello! I love choral music too, and I hope you have a wonderful week!" I'd also love it if you could leave a comment here about this project.

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