Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Tonal Tuesdays - It Takes a Village

It was just a little more than 2 years ago when Harvey dropped by and told me of his dream to start a community choir in Embro, Ontario.  He had spoken to a number of people who were interested in singing and had permission to use Knox United Church as a practice venue.  And so it began.

The first practice was down in the basement with 16 wonderful people.  Most of those people are with us today and we have grown to 20 people all of whom contribute more than just their time and singing.  You see, it takes more than an idea and place to create a choir.

Kristy, our accompanist, is just wonderful.  We have been working together since Kristy was just a grade 9 student.  That relationship has created a shared musical leadership with my having the final say.  However, there are a few times when Kristy is not available and sometimes without any notice, Carolin will hop up to the bench and play away for us.  Always with a smile and great ability, Carolin shares her talent generously.  We often break into groups for part practising and Elaine takes the ladies off to the other keyboard while Kristy and I work with the men.  I bet there aren't many choirs out there who can boast that much talent in a group of 20.

Harold, a main stay of the Embro Thistle Theatre, helped us to gain their support and allow us to use their constitution as a guide for our own.

Doug is on the Embro Fair Board and suggested that we sing at the Fair in the talent contest where we won first prize and earned our first $100 to pay for music.  In those 2 years we have gained a number of singers.

Kay has loaned us music from her church choir, Elaine found music being discarded and Kristy found music at an auction.  Bonus.

John made wonderful black folders with out logo on the front to be used those few times that we don't do our concert by memory.

Kathy is our contact with the church and taught me how to lock and unlock doors, turn on lights and heat and most importantly, turn them off again.

Harvey got us to get donations for coffee and goodies made by the choir members to earn a bit of money at the Embro Highland Games last July 1.  It was a hot, holiday but there they were pitching in.  This year we all baked for the Embro Fair Dinner Theatre to get more donations.  Every single choir member donated goodies and Elaine and Attie served and collected the donations that evening.

Our newest venture is that we purchased a digital recorder with some of our earned money, and Damon sets it up each practice.  We are learning where and what settings to get the sounds that will help us make practice CD's and perhaps put some of our music on this blog.

Although I get to direct the music, it takes all of us pitching in to make this choir happen.  We don't pay fees nor do we charge for our participation at concerts so our money comes from donations.  We have the most amazing group of people willing to learn, and sing and pitch in to sustain our choir.  I am greatly blessed to have each and every one of them.  Indeed, it does take more than one person to make the Embro Thistle Singers become the choir it deserves to be.  It truly does take a village and each and every person in our choir makes it happen.  Thanks to you, it works and I am so very grateful.


Colleen said...

Isn't it funny how we are all so interconnected. You meet one person, we suggests something, then another who does something else. And on the chain goes. Choirs are communal sorts of things anyway, but it's great to hear how even a choirs inception can be a group endeavour. You are all singing from the same song sheet.

Embro Thistle Singers said...

That is a great analogy. We are indeed.