Sunday, May 9, 2021

The Stairwell Carollers remember Gord Atkinson - a Bright Ottawa Light Winks Out

Pierre and Holly Massie with Gord Atkinson

 We were so very sad to learn of the passing of Gord Atkinson - long time mentor and friend to The Stairwell Carollers - Monday, April 26, 2021. He will be sorely missed. 

So many memories...

Our connection to Gord began in 1984 when his wife Elaine heard us carolling at Bayshore Shopping Centre. Right there, he invited us to sing LIVE on CFMO for their Christmas Exchange Telethon. Before the broadcast, he asked "what should I call you folks - what's the group's name?" 

We didn’t HAVE a name. 

After an awkward moment Dawn (soprano) piped up -- "The Stairwell Carollers".  I was dumbstruck. It was perfect. Our new name was forever cast in radio history as Gord introduced us for the first time ever over the airwaves.  

(I wish I had a photo - the pic below is from a later Christmas exchange broadcast from the Ottawa Citizen building)

Gord Atkinson introduces the Stairwell Carollers on the Christmas Exchange broadcast

Gord claimed us as his "Discovery", welcoming us into his musical cadre alongside Paul Anka, Elvis and Rich Little. We sang for The Christmas Exchange Broadcast on CFMO and CFRA for many years and were even treated to a wee float with our name on it in the 1987 Santa Claus parade . 

Stairwell Carollers in 1987 Santa Parade for Christmas Exchange

Pierre and I kept in touch with both Gord and Elaine, always looking forward to their Christmas card newsletter, always with a special note added just for us.

In 1986, Gord and CFMO produced our first recording, a vinyl album which raised over $53,000 for Ronald MacDonald House.

Gord Atkinson note on the Stairwell Caroller 1985 album

Stairwell Carollers for Ronald McDonald House -  Vinyl 1985

Gord and Elaine attended many of our concerts and, though he always said he was just a fan, we knew better. Gord Atkinson provided the choir countless opportunities that led to the professional development of The Stairwell Carollers.

He had the most generous heart. I miss him from the bottom of mine.

We send our sincere condolences to his wife Elaine and their family at this difficult time.

Gord Atkinsons Obituary :


CTV news

Global news

Ottawa Citizen

Sunday, April 18, 2021

PREMIERE - The Stairwell Carollers FIRST Virtual Choir Vid for Spring 2021 - Come Sirrah Jack, Ho!

Upcoming PREMIERE of The Stairwell Carollers FIRST Virtual Choir Video for Spring 2021. This Sunday, April 25th at 10:00 AM on our YouTube Channel. (Hello to all our friends in Europe!) 

#virtualchoir #renaissance #choralmusic #Madrigal #ancientmusic #renaissancemusic #drinkingsongs #spring2021 #ottawa #musicians #singers

Come, sirrah Jack, ho! ☺ If you like our music, please donate to your local foodbank.❤️

The Stairwell Carollers, perform “ Come sirrah Jack, ho” by Thomas Weelkes. Come sirrah Jack, ho is on our “Audite nova” CD, available in both CD and MP3 formats. All our recordings benefit charities. Recorded from home, Spring 2021. Edited using Final Cut Pro X: Pierre Massie

About The Stairwell Carollers:
Pierre Massie created our a cappella choir in 1977 while 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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