Friday, December 28, 2012

Fun Friday - Cleaning & Singing

This was on television in the 70's.  What great voices.  I don't know about you but I would love to have these guys cleaning my kitchen.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Fun Friday - Jingle Bell Rock with the Cheerleaders

I don't remember seeing anything like this happening in our school library.  It sure looks like lots of fun though.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Singing for Spruce Lodge Stratford

Last night we sang for the folks at Spruce Lodge in Stratford, ON.  As we arrived, they were loading buses for viewing the Christmas lights.  It was busy and confusing but we started to gather and set up hoping there would be some left to be our audience.

Indeed, we ended up with an appreciative group.

With some of our ETS members with colds and some busy with Dinner Theatre back in Embro our numbers were smaller but they sang anyway. 

Kristy, our amazing accompanist,  had a cold and has been dealing with a shoulder injury but she played anyway. 

 This close to Christmas, our singers had to travel to Stratford even from as far as Cambridge, but they  came anyway. 

There were very high ceilings with huge  skylights that  grabbed the sound so each singer felt  he/she was singing alone but they sang anyway. 

ETS is an amazing group who love to sing.  We were glad we had the opportunity to be with the 
Spruce Lodge group. 

As we left the stage we sang, We Wish You a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!! And we DO!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tonal Tuesday - Watch and Listen for Singing Quality

It is that very busy time of year.  Businesses are trying to get more done in 2 weeks than they have in 2 months.  Everybody needs everything NOW!

So here is and easy post to keep you mindful of good singing habits.  Watch this video and see what things that our Embro Thistle Singers do to make a great sound.  Then read below and let me know what you think.

1. WATCH - Yes indeed you must watch the conductor.  I know there are chamber groups that singing without a leader out front but there is always someone who sets the speed and tone of the group.  When you watch you begin and end together and make the song easier for the audience to understand.  That is the reason for singing in the first place.  How about that!

2. LISTEN - Your voice must fit in to all that is happening around you.  If you cannot hear the others singing, then you are too loud.  Being right all by yourself is just - well, wrong.  Blend is essential to again an overall understandable product.
The accompaniment is very important as well.  Many times you get your note in tricky phrases from a chord in the accompaniment.  However, you are much better off watching the director and listening to your fellow singers and letting the accompanist and the director create the rest.

Whether you are singing along at a school play or community sing song or church service, be mindful of what is going on around you and WATCH and LISTEN and you will be thrilled with how much easier it is to sing.  Have fun singing the season's great music.  Turn up the radio!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Fun Friday - Flash Mob Hallelujah Chorus

It doesn't matter how many times I see this one.  It is so fun and so well done.  For those of our readers here in Southern Ontario, this takes place in St. Catharine's.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tonal Tuesday - More 5 Minutes to Improve Your Singing

Now that you have tried the 5 steps outline in last Tuesday's blog post, you can add these fun activities to get even more control over how you sing.

Remember, it doesn't matter if you are singing along with grand-babies or performing in a rock concert, all of these suggestions will make a difference.

6. Sing Up and Down the Scales - I personally NEVER enjoyed singing through the scales.  Doh, re, mi, fah, soh, lah, ti, doh all in different keys.  There are many great warm-up exercises that we choir directors can use to help focus the sound and the vocal instrument.
When you are singing, try to choose a simple song to warm up your voice.  If so inclined, do sing scales or sing Doh a Deer from the Sound of Music.  Remember, tuck the chin while keeping the mid-section open.  And---

7. Eat and Drink Well - There are exceptions to every rule.  However, for the most part you need to eat and drink like an athlete.  Singing does take a lot of energy so eating a properly balanced diet is a forgone conclusion.  Milk (anything made with milk too) , sometimes caffeine, can cause you to develop mucus - YUCKY - and that coats the vocal folds and makes it hard to sing clearly.
Smoking and alcohol are just out.  Period.  Find out what YOU can tolerate and still make a good and comfortable sound.

8. Listen to Your Kind of Music - Listen and sing along with the music YOU like best.  Whatever the style, enjoy.  Sure, go ahead, do a wee jig.  Just have fun!!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Fun Friday - 12 Days After

This choir has a marvellous sound and they act out this very funny song with great aplomb.  Enjoy.   

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Tonal Tuesday - 5 Minutes to Improving Your Singing

It is the Christmas season and we are all busy.  The one thing that binds it all together is that we are surrounded by music.  We sing along and hum our way to the New Year.  I suggest that while we are doing that singing, we work on a few ideas to improve our singing voices.  Ready Set - Sing.
boys,carols,cartoons,celebrations,children,Christmas,families,fathers,females,holidays,kids,males,men,mothers,music,singing,sons,special occasions,women

  1. Voices are instruments.  To play well, you practice.  To sing well, you practise.  Sing along with Bing (Crosby that is) or whomever else you really enjoy.  If the range (high or low) feels uncomfortable, sing only the notes that are comfortable to sing.  Forcing your voice can cause damage.  Sing what you enjoy and when it makes you smile, you have the right thing. 
  2. Tuck your chin.  While you are singing, especially when you get to the "glorias" and want to belt it out, stand or sit as tall as possible.  For instance, if you are cooking, you will be bending and moving not unlike an opera singer on stage.  Just remember to keep your mid-section open not scrunched up.  Also, as the notes get higher - you too guys - tuck your chin closer to your chest and raise your eyebrows.  Try it both ways while refilling the window washer on the car and you will be pleasantly surprised at how much easier the singing is.  So stand tall, tuck your chin slightly and look surprised.  Voila.  
  3. Belly breathing. Now that you have the above mastered, try really hard not to lift your chest when you breathe.  Go ahead take a deep breath right now.  If you made a sound while taking in air and moved your shoulders, you are breathing very shallowly.  Now, put your fingers just above your waist, under your ribs and while you breathe, push them out.  Let me see you do it.  Good.
  4. Drop your shoulders.  You have found your DIAPHRAGM or the muscle that pulls down the lungs and gives you more room for air.  All good athletes know how to breathe from the diaphragm and you should too.  So now when taking a breath, try not to raise your shoulders but instead push out your belly.  That will give you more air to support your singing and will make it easier to hit the notes you want. 
So, practice by singing what you enjoy, breathe, stand or sit as tall as you can, tuck your chin. and looked a bit surprised.  You won't remember all that all the time.  The most important rule, have fun!! 


Monday, December 3, 2012

Singing for Youth in Ingersoll

The Embro Thistle Singers had a wonderful time last night at First Baptist Church in Ingersoll.  There were a number of groups performing and the church was beautifully decorated.  We hope that a good amount of money was raised to help the young people who go to the Upper Deck for support and activities.

Thanks to Colleen for taking video of our performance and for putting us on YouTube.  Oh yes.  Click here and have a listen.

Although a few sopranos were missing, our Attie & Barb were more than up to challenge.

The wreath made a lovely background.  All of our basses were there!!

Kristy played for her group the Soulmates just before us.  She was a busy lady and did a fantastic job.