Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Tonal Tuesdays - Why we do it!

Banks of Doon is not an easy piece to sing.  But sing it we did, last practice.  Oh my knees went weak and the final cadence brought tears to my eyes.  This was at the end of a busy practice working on newer music and yet, the singers just nailed the harmony, dynamics and emotion needed to make the song come alive.

The Robbie Burns poem is beautiful.  The music by Donna Gartman Schultz flows and ebbs with the those words, so well known by so many.  This arrangement is four part S.A.T.B. and although we are just under twenty members the balance is wonderful.  This version is not perhaps as well known as "Ye Banks and Braes o' Bonnie Doon" which is considered the second version of the poem.  Here is a lovely presentation of the Banks of Doon with an oboe rather than the usual violin obbligato.  

The Embro area of Ontario from which our choir and many of its members originate, has Scottish roots and in fact has a very famous Highland Games every July 1 rain or shine.  Check out a bit of the  Embro historical background from the library archives. 

We have had a lot of fun with an old pub song, A Wee Deoch and Doris.  I remember my Scottish grandma singing it at every visit.  Now I know what it means.  The last line, "If you can say, "It's a braw bricht moonlicht nicht", Then yer a'richt, ye ken" was a test of sobriety.  You indeed have to be sober to say those lines.  Even then it takes concentration.

We certainly sing a plethora of music from modern to ancient, and serious to funny.  No matter what we sing, we do it until we are all happy with the result.  And sometimes, my knees go weak and my heart sings.  That is my WHY!  Thanks, Embro Thistle Singers.  


Colleen said...

I think it's a great idea to use Scottish music for the ETS. Are you going to sing at the highland games?

Embro Thistle Singers said...

We haven't been asked yet but we hope to one day soon.