Friday, June 28, 2013

Fun Friday - Stompin' Tom on Canada Day

One of our choir members is heading up to Ottawa for Canada Day.
Here you see Canadian talent and regular Canadians celebrating our heritage.  No one was more proud of being Canadian than Stompin' Tom Connors.  Here he is some time ago.  We miss you Stompin' Tom.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Mudmen Are Coming! The Mudmen Are Coming!

Indeed they are and they are coming to Embro, ON July 1.  Check out the Mudmen website and see it in the list of their tours.
Don't know who they are?  Check this out.  Oh did I mention that the Embro Thistle Singers are also singing at the Embro Highland Games?  Oh yes, I did, didn't I? Oh well, come see us about 12:30 on July 1 at the Embro Fair Grounds at one of the best highland games in the world.
I present, The Mudmen.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Tonal Tuesday - What Are You Pinning?

Pinterest is a wonderful newer social media site.  It is full of fun pictures, videos and sayings on all sorts of topics. This is just one of the posters you will find on the Embro Thistle Singers Pinterest pageEach person in a choir is important.  No such thing as an unneeded singer.

Check out our page and you could even start your own.  Do some searches and just enjoy the fun things you find. Who knew we could so easily share our ideas and pictures with the world.  What did you find?

Friday, June 21, 2013

Fun Friday - I Had the Time of My Life

Graduations are taking place everywhere now and in the fall.  I love the music these young people chose to express how they feel and felt.  Amazing how songs can speak words that some have difficulty forming without the music.  Go Grads!!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Angels Among Us - Alone or Together?

Here is Angels Among Us with the arrangement we are doing.  If we invited another choir or even if we did it alone, wouldn't that harmony be delicious?  Tell me what you liked best about this rendition.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tonal Tuesday - When Is Cheesy All Right? - California Dreamin'

Cheese isn't just something you put on a burger.  It is sometimes what you put into music.  I have watched many You Tube videos of choirs and I have seen my share of what I think is cheesy performance.  I honestly find some movements during singing very interuptive.  Too much movement takes away from the music.  I end up focusing on the movement and not the sound.  Check this out and see what you think.

Here are the Mama's and Papa's doing the same song.  They have to be forgiven those costumes as it was the 60's after all but I don't find the movement (and there is much of that ) quite as distracting as in the first video.

So what do you think?  Am I all wet?  Should we be careful about what movements we use when singing and why?  Please leave your message as a comment.  We can't wait to hear from YOU!!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

One Voice - We Can Sing this One!!

Here is a lovely rendition of a song we are planning on singing next year.  I think it would suit our choir very well.  This is a wonderful choir from Hawaii touring Taiwan and Hong Kong.  Music truly is the universal language.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tonal Tuesday - Now What?

The last practice for the season is approaching.  We have a date to sing O Canada and God Save the Queen July 1.  We sing next on September 14th at the Embro Fair.  That leaves a couple of months in between.  How do we keep up our sound and remember the words?  I am certain that many of you have tricks to make that happen for you.

It would be great if you would share those ideas.  Please click "comment"  below to do just that.
Here are some of the things we do.

1.  Recordings - As I have mentioned before, Damon records all of our rehearsals and then makes a practice CD's by recording the best of our efforts for each piece.  This way all parts can sing each song while hearing all parts together.  I don't recommend that you use other recordings of your songs.  It may be a different arrangement or even just a different vision than yours.  I am not certain that learning parts from recordings of each part recorded independently is the best way.  We did this in one choir I belonged to.  It is a lot of work and you don't always hear how your part fits in.

2. Pot Luck  - Feed them and they will come.  We start practising again at the end of August with a pot luck dinner and practice after.  It serves to get us back together for practice but is also a great way to get to know each other better.  It was suggested by a choir member and we have done it ever since.

3.  Don't Sweat the Small Stuff - And besides it is all SMALL stuff.  I know it is hard sometimes to let things just happen.  I don't mean you should let down your expectations at all.  You will practise thoroughly with the time you have.  Having a deadline often increases attention and attendance.  Obsessing over something will not make it better.  Go with the flow, work at your best level and let the music happen. 

  Will you please share your ideas?  We learn so much from each other.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Fun Friday - It's Too Darn Hot

Yikes.  It is getting to be a lot like summer.  Many people love the heat and even live in perpetual summer.  My sister lived in Guyana for 5 years.  I mentioned the Weather Channel one day when we were talking on the phone (one of the times it worked).  She couldn't get over the fact that we had a channel just for the weather.  I wondered if they didn't get weather reports there in Guyana.  She replied with, "What are they going to say? "Hot getting hotter.  Chance of rain."
Well here in southwestern Ontario in the summer it can feel like Guyana as this fabulous song from Kiss Me Kate explains.  This is a Canadian company doing a fabulous job of the dancing.  The heat doesn't seem to bother them.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Tonal Tuesday - If It's Too Hot in the Kitchen ----

It is official.  It was HOT at our last rehearsal Sunday.  We were all taking off extraneous clothing as the time progressed.  Knox United Church in Embro is very generous in allowing us to practise every other Sunday evening.  It is not their fault that It has been very hot and muggy the end of May and it made our practice area very warm and sticky.  This weather really creates issues that we need to think about as singers.  Should we keep singing through the summer?
1.  Do you have bookings?  If you have regular gigs in the summer then of course you will keep rehearsing.   If you are a paid choir and expected to do your regular church services or other concerts there is not discussion.  Even with paid professionals, the following ideas need considering. 
Depending on where you live, you have holiday times to deal with.  In England, August is holiday time and many people are away.  In France, they have a time in June and again in August when people take time off and travel.  In Canada, it is usually mid-July to mid-August.  It makes it hard to get an audience and to get a balanced choir.  
Some choirs have definite summer activities and actually have a different group of singers participating.  A group in Florida does Christmas music that is taped in the summer for a special presentation.  They have singers who participate just for that.  Another travels to various venues to uplift others during the summer.  These are summer choirs.  Cool idea or perhaps a hot time in the old town - oh dear! 

2. Does your choir want to sing?  We have many busy people who as in #1 above want to travel or just hang out during the summer.  Typically, clubs and other activities have time off in the summer.  Children are home from school usually for just under 2 months in Canada, longer in the U.S. and shorter but more often in some European countries.  If your choir is in time off mode, then it may be wise not to try to rehearse but take the time away to rejuvenate.  Together you can decide what is best.

3. Do you have a comfortable place to practise?  If you don't have air conditioning perhaps you have a spot with a cool basement or very thick walls.  You may even live in a place that doesn't see overly warm summer temperatures.  Here we find the humidity plays havoc with voices, instruments and tempers.   It is a big issue in my part of the world. 

I like the change.  I come back to choir with a fresh perspective, and more energy.  If I keep going and there is never a break, I find myself getting stale.  That is not to say I do nothing musical, but it is different.  My mum used to say, "A change is a good as a rest."  Truer words were never spoken.