Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tonal Tuesdays - To a Capella or not to a Capella

When you sing in the shower, unless you have one of those waterproof radios, you are singing a Capella or without accompaniment.  This can be very tricky for both singers and directors or conductors (now that delineation is a topic for another Tuesday).
There are groups such as the Nylons who have made their names based on singing without any accompaniment other than percussion (things like drums and sticks etc.).  They sing in tight harmony as do Barbershop singers and this harmony, in my opinion helps the singers stay in tune.
The Nylons make it look easy in this clip but you have to pay attention to realize that there are only percussion instruments and clapping as accompaniment.
However, it can be very tricky to stay in tune when singing without accompaniment especially for amateur singers.  Personally, I almost always opt for accompaniment especially for soloists and usually for choirs.  Children in particular can benefit from being able to hear the sounds they want to replicate.  The piano has a full range of overtones to help fill any voids in sound but also has clear tones.  The pipe or even electronic organs can sound "muddy" and make singing in tune a bit trickier especially if you are trying to hear a specific part.
Chris Rowbury has a quirky but very sane view on a capella singing that merits a read.  Tell me what you think.  Why I don't like "a capella".

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tonal Tuesday - Excitement vs Nerves

Many times people will say that they are nervous when they really mean they are excited.  There is a vast difference.

Excitement is an energy you can use to make a performance sparkle.  That isn't to say that there aren't people who get nervous.  While searching out other choir blogs I came across a great article on how to deal with those nerves that can stop some people from even attempting something new.  Check out 5 Ways to Deal with Nerves.  I couldn't say it any better.

In any situation, as Elena suggests above, when the butterflies start flying in formation the nerves become excitement which you can then share with your audience.  Smile, and sally forth.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tonal Tuesdays - Tips for Singers & Directors

Welcome to Tuesday.  Each Tuesday I will share a tip or two about songs, singing and directing.  Sometimes they will by Kitty's and other times we will welcome guest posts.
If any of you have ideas to share from your experience as a singer, director or audience member, please pass them on.  We will share them here.

Today's Tonal Tuesday Tip
SMILE - One of our guiding principals for the ETS is to HAVE FUN.  The way to pass that on to all around you is to smile.  Yes you can smile and still have a round, well placed sound.  Smiles are like measles and are easily caught.  When you have fun so does your audience.
Watch these young people and decide whether they are having fun.  Is it catching?

You will have to agree that their sound is superb but I think they are having a ball.  What do you think?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Singing for Our Supper

The Embro Thistle Singers had a great night at the Red Cross Wellness Dinner.  We were fed a fabulous dinner, which of course can be a bit of a problem just before singing.  However, in this case, it didn't diminish the results one bit as they let us go to the buffet first.  Cool.

Our songs were very well received and the Red Cross Red Cross Oxford group were fabulous at singing along.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Embro Thistle Singers Sing for the Red Cross

The Embro Thistle Singers are celebrating the Volunteers of the Red Cross at their annual Wellness Dinner.  We are singing songs that lift up the spirit while also joining our voices with winter songs.  Stay tuned for pictures and more news.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Singing Let It Snow but It Didn't - Whew!

We did get asked to return to Cambrocourt Manor to sing again this year.  Wonder of wonders, it did not snow.  Now one of the songs we were singing was called just that and contained many well know winter songs such as Marshmallow World, Sleigh Ride, Jingle Bells and of course, Let It Snow.  Although we couldn't help glancing at the windows throughout our presentation, we had so much fun.  There were a number of singers that we encouraged mightily to join us in January for practices.
You can join us too.  Our next practice is January 8th at the beautiful Knox United Church 7 p.m.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Singing for the Oldest Birthday

Reverend Douglas Peck asked in the children's message who had been to the oldest birthday.  Some grandmas' birthdays were offered and Rev. Peck was adept at making sure ages weren't disclosed.  I am certain there were more than a few with bated breath while that happened. St. Andrews United in Brooksdale was marking its 125th birthday and that definitely won the prize for the oldest much to the relief of the grandparents present.
ETS was fortunate to be invited to provide some special music and what a treat it was for us.  We filled the choir stalls and the small but very pretty church was filled.  Our Hallelujah, Wonderful World and You Raise Me Up were well received and a joy to sing.
The lunch to which we were invited afterwards would take another whole post to describe.  Oh yummy.
Congratulations to the wonderful people of Brooksdale and many thanks for your kind words and smiles.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The 50's and 60's Embro Style

The Embro Fair decided to have a Talent Show this year following the theme of 50's and 60's.  Oh we were excited.  One member really wanted to sing Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini.  Well, just try to find that one in 4 parts to sing.  Of course, one of our talented members, Elaine, arranged it for us.  What fun but challenging.  Of course, Kitty took the chance to create a costume that got more than a little attention.

Purple People Eater was our next choice.  What a fun song it is but the words are many and fast so it takes some doing to get them to be understood.  The ETS was up to the challenge and away they went.  Of course, it was Elaine again who found the kazoos that we used to play the final chorus.
Our medley of 60's like songs My Boyfriend My Cola and Me was sung with the slides of pictures that Kay put on DVD for us.  The computer wasn't terribly co-operative but our intentions were good.
This time Kristy didn't have baseball but we still got chosen to be the finale.
If you check the Embro Fair web site you will see that next year's theme is Seaside Rendevous.  Hmm.  Sea songs, sailors and fish come to mind.  Any suggestions.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

On Stage for Relay for Life

We were asked to be part of the entertainment for the Relay for Life event in Ingersoll.  This annual event of a none competitive relay 12 hours long, has raised more than $1,000,000 Relay for Life Ingersoll 2011.  Now, remember that Ingersoll is a town of just 11,000 people Town of Ingersoll.
We thoroughly enjoyed our singing especially because Kitty was the only one getting wet in the drizzle that was falling.  The stage thankfully, had a protective roof.  The ET Singers stayed dry and their slightly damp director happily waved her hands and arms as they sang to the very enthusiastic reception of the Relay participants.
Well done to all volunteers and participants.  You do make a difference for so many!!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Concert for Japan Relief

The Elm Hurst Inn and Spa Elm Hurst Inn and Spa is a gorgeous facility in Ingersoll.  We have been asked to take part in the concert to raise money for helping the Japanese recover from the devastating tsunami they recently experienced.  We were sharing the stage with the likes of Ingersoll's mayor, Ted Comiskey, (yes his family is part of the the Comiskeys of baseball park fame) and the Chamber Orchestra of Orchestra London.
Wow!!  We are only just one year old and felt very honoured to be included but we needed to look like the united group of singers we are.  Hence, we ordered our shirts for performance.  We didn't have time to have the new logos embroidered before the performance but Steve Walters at Brand It Promotional was just wonderful.  He got our shirts ordered with the promise to embroider the logo after our performance.
Way to go ETS.  You looked wonderful and we had great comments afterwards.  Over $60,000 was raised for the Red Cross to use to help our Japanese neighbours.