Thursday, March 22, 2018

Nous sommes son instrument - Denyse, soprano

Denyse Mageau, soprano, The Stairwell Carollers
Denyse Mageau, soprano,  reflects on the choir’s 40th anniversary: 
An interview by David Rain, tenor

Denyse, how long have you been singing?

J'ai commencé à chanter dans une chorale à l'âge de 4 ans. Maman dirigeait un récital pour la paroisse Sacré Coeur à Sturgeon Falls. Au programme : « Puisqu'il y a des roses, il faut croire au bonheur. »

Here I am 76 years later still singing about roses in Pierre Massie's choir. 

Audio: Tom Barnes.  Recorded at St. Barnabas Church, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, June 3th, 2017.

Videographers: Richard Auger, Andrew Mason
Editing: Pierre Massie
Photos: Holly Massie


And thank you, David, for your beautiful arrangement of “Es ist ein Ros entsprungen.” How lucky I am!

Here is a rehearsal snippet of Es ist ein Ros entsprungen from our Choral Cacophony Podcast

When and how did you join the Stairwell Carollers?

La musique m'a permis de rencontrer Pierre en 1977. Sans nous connaître, nous chantions dans la chorale de l'Université d'Ottawa. Un autre ténor, Pierre Chartrand, nous a invités à joindre son ensemble vocal à l'occasion d'un synode des évêques à la cathédrale. Coup de foudre pour le style a cappella!
U of O choir c. 1977 - Pierre Massie front row - 3rd from the left. Denyse back row,ladies, 5th from the left.
At that time, Pierre Massie had started singing with a few friends in the stairwells for Ottawa U students. He invited me to join them. “Next year,” I promised.

Thus, I never had to audition to join the Stairwell Carollers! That was in 1978!

Why have you stayed so long in the choir, what is special to you about the Stairwell Carollers?

Comment expliquer ma persévérence? C'est un bonheur de chanter dans une chorale bilingue dont l'âge des choristes s'étend de 20 à 80 ans.  Plutôt exceptionnel n'est-ce pas?

Why am I still here? From eight members, we have grown to thirty and from caroling, we have evolved to sophisticated concert programs in different languages.
Denyse Mageau sings soprano, front row - photo, Iryna Zamchevska
Tell us what you think about choir director Pierre Massie.

The Stairwell Carollers are not just good, they are very good, and Pierre Massie is not just very good, he is excellent, always striving for perfection. (Otherwise, I wouldn’t be here.)

À chaque nouvelle génération de chanteurs, Pierre transmet sa passion pour la musique de façon infatigable. Nous sommes son instrument. Malgré un répertoire de plus en plus difficile, je suis toujours ébahie de l'évolution de notre prestation du début de la saison à la finale du concert.

Every concert sends me on a high that lingers for hours, even days.

How long do you intend to keep on singing?

Singing with this choir is pure joy. No wonder. Every one is younger than I am. Our ages range from 20 to 80 years old: isn’t that special? I hope to sing with you, David,  for the choir’s 50th anniversary, but by then, I'll need to be sitting in a chair.

For the choir’s Christmas gala concert, you sponsored a song, I believe.

Oui, c’est un arrangement de Pierre, un petit bijou, en souvenir de celle qui m'a initiée au chant choral, ma mère, Cécile Bélanger.

Now, relax and close your eyes for that little gem...

Audio: Tom Barnes.  Recorded at Knox Presbyterian Church, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Dec 16th, 2016.
Videographers: Gert-Jan van Heuzen, Andrew Mason

Editing: Pierre Massie

About The Stairwell Carollers:

Pierre Massie began our a cappella choir way back in 1977 while studying music at Ottawa U. The Stairwell Carollers are ranked with the best of Ontario choirs, winning both the 2010 and 2013 Ontario Music Festival Association competitions. 

A registered Canadian charity, we also help local charities with our concert, CD and cookbook sales
Net proceeds benefit charity.

Please DONATE to support our 40th year workshops! 

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

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