Saturday, April 7, 2018

I Knew I had Found the Right Choir

Christoph, bass, knows a little German. Since he is German. Our German expert.
Christoph, bass:
An interview by David Rain, tenor

How long have you been with the Stairwell Carollers, Christoph?

This is my third season with the Carollers – I joined in January 2016.

What led you to want to join the choir? What was your own singing experience before you joined us?

Music and singing have always been a big part of my social life and my involvement in churches. In the past I’ve been part of a number of choirs, from church choirs and smaller groups to big symphonic choirs. Before I joined the Carollers I hadn’t been actively making music for some years. I felt that I was spending too much time at work and that I needed a better work-life balance, and I was missing the joy and the sense of community that comes from singing together. What drew me to the Carollers instead of other choirs were the a cappella singing, the repertoire, and the quality of the performances I saw on YouTube.
As Choir committee VP, Christoph keeps us in line, choir business-wise
Tell us a bit about your own audition experience and how you were feeling.

I was a bit nervous, mainly because I didn’t quite know what to expect, because (like most people) I’m not too fond of “exam” situations, and because at the time my voice was not in the best shape. There was no reason to be nervous though – Pierre and the other members of the audition committee were very friendly, and the (individual) audition didn’t take long and went quite well. I gave a rousing rendition of the German national anthem, as that was one of the few songs I knew by heart. The second part of the audition process (attending a rehearsal) was lots of fun. I knew I had found the right choir.

It's our 40th anniversary this year. Please share any highlights you have had during your time with the Stairwell Carollers.

I find it amazing that the choir has existed for such a long time. I am in my mid-30s now, and the fact that Pierre and Holly and Denyse and others were singing together before I was born and are still singing together is quite remarkable. Since I’ve been with the choir for just over two years now, my list of highlights is probably shorter than that of long-term members. Singing in the National Gallery last year was cool. I generally like that we sing in various different venues across Ottawa as it helps me get to know the city better. Having been part of the executive committee for the last 1.5 years has also opened my eyes to the many cool things that happen behind the scenes – be it concert planning, PR and social media outreach, or our student scholarships and charity donations. It’s been inspiring to see the commitment from so many choir members to these causes.
Stairwell Carollers in Rehearsal
Are there any special songs that we're singing this spring that you'd like to talk about or share your feelings about?

Abendlied by Rheinberger has always been one of my favourite a cappella works, and I am delighted to sing it again this season. Having sung the bass part in last year’s Spring season, I am now very much enjoying the baritone part. The fact that it is in German, my native tongue, certainly increases the appeal of this song for me.

Sneak preview of Abendlied:

Andrea recounts a choir anecdote while Christina looks on.
Any other thoughts you'd like to share?

I am glad to have joined the Stairwell Carollers – singing with the choir has brought me much joy, and I have met some really great people through my engagement with the choir. Thanks to all who’ve made it a super experience so far!

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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