Monday, January 20, 2020

40 Years of Stairwell Carolling Revealed!

Stairwell Carollers sing on Sparks Street while students at Ottawa University
Our Founder and Director, Pierre Massie, started our group in 1977 - where we sang Christmas carols in the stairwells of residences at the University of Ottawa during exam time.  The eight of us would start at the top of the residence stairwell and work our way to the bottom. Students came out from their rooms to listen to the carols and would follow us as we went down from floor to floor, our voices helped out by the echo of the stairwell.  We sang throughout our hometown of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada - in malls, for parking lot attendants, and even on buses. We had a great time carolling in the Byward Market and on Sparks street too - lots of amazing memories.
Circa1979 Recording Christmas carols at CFRA/CFMO radio for broadcast later
In the early 80's, we were carolling at Bayshore shopping center and Gord Atkinson - then the voice of CFMO radio - heard us. Right then he asked us to sing live on CFMO for their Christmas Exchange Telethon.  It was during this first appearance on radio with Gord that our group got its name. Right before the broadcast, he asked us "what should I call you folks - what's the group's name?" Up till then, we were only ten Christmas Carollers with no name.  Dawn, soprano, piped up with "The Stairwell Carollers" and the name stuck.  Personally, I love our moniker since it harks back to the choir's beginnings - singing in the residence stairwells for fellow U. of Ottawa students.  
By the mid 80's the Xmas Exchange Broadcast was a yearly event for us
In 1986, Gord - with CFMO - produced our first real recording, a fundraising vinyl album in aid of Ronald McDonald House. an initiative which raised over $53,000.

About The Stairwell Carollers:

Pierre Massie created our a cappella choir in 1977 while he was a music student at Ottawa University. With wins in both the 2010 and 2013 Ontario Music Festival Association competitions, we are ranked among the best of Ontario choirs. 

A registered Canadian charity, The Carollers also help local charities with net proceeds from concert tickets, CD and cookbook sales.  Since 1997 we have donated over $143,800 to local charities and scholarships.

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

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