Sunday, June 28, 2015

Musical Monday - The Last Practice of the Season

We just had an amazing last practice of the season at Elaine & Norm's place.  Our spouses/partners/friends came as well.  We did an hour of singing and then snacked on the fabulous goodies everyone brought while we visited and shared stories of the last year(s) and our plans for the summer.  We also kicked around some ideas for next year.

We are able to get to know the other important people in our singers' lives at these less formal events and they get to know us.  They are our best cheer leaders and often hear things we don't notice.  Thanks to our great support people.

I am certain there are choirs that carry on all year round but ours takes the summer off for two very good reasons.  Firstly, it is hot and clammy here in the summer and our venue is not air conditioned.  Secondly, many people travel or go to cottages and camping and so the ranks would be thin to say the least.
Actually, I think it is really good to have a break of some kind for a period of time.

1.  Absence makes the heart grow fonder - With a break, the idea of coming BACK to choir practices is enticing.  We also start with a pot luck so that makes it fun as well.  When you have some time away, you look forward to coming back and any of the negatives diminish with time.

2.  Different perspective - When you have a break, you can see the music, the people and your purpose from a different angle and get some great ideas.  Maybe that song was't so bad after all and will be even better in the fall.  Or perhaps, during the break you have spoken to some people who would love to have you perform.  If you keep doing the same thing without a break, you may get a bit jaded.

3.  Refill and rejuvenate - I know that I enjoy the time to research and learn new music.  I listen to lots of music of all different types.  Some ends of being on our agenda and some will never be.  I do things I want to do or need to do without the restriction of being back in time for choir.  I know many of our members do the same.  It is imperative that we keep learning and growing and being the best we can be.

4.  Change is as good as a rest - Yup, my mum said that a lot.  We seldom stop doing things but doing something different is like having a rest.  You don't want to get stuck in a rut for sure.  To do something you have always wanted to do means you have to have the time available.

The two months until our next practice will fly by I am sure.  I will be fresher and eager to start again.  Let's hear it for summer break!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Musical Monday - This is Why We Must Enunciate - Peter Kay on Misheard Lyrics

We all know that our singing is all about communication.  We sing words unless of course we are doing PDQ Bach but I digress.  I shared with you some time ago that for all my young life I thought that the words to Purple People Eater were, "He was a one eyed, one horned FIVE purple people eater."  Yes indeed.  He ate 5 purple people at a time.  Now that make perfect sense to me.  Well, we were doing 60's music for the Embro Fair one year and we decided to do this song for fun.  I got the lyrics from one of my very own books.  There were the real words "He was a one eyed, one horned FLYING purple people eater."  Much more vicious when he ate 5 at a time I think. 

Here Peter Kay brilliantly spoofs many songs where the words can be misconstrued.  Check out Michael Jackson's "your  burgers are the best" and Celine Dion with "the hot dogs go on".  There are a few that are a bit risque so adults listen first.  Peter Kay is from northern England and his accent is a bit strong.  Listen well.  

When your choir is garbling the words or not attacking or finishing well, pull this out and have a laugh.  Then, watch the diction improve.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Fun Friday - Leslie Uggams June is Bustin' Out All Over

This is so very cute.  Leslie Uggams explains how she messed up the diction of this song.  So great to know that no matter how professional or great you are, it happens.  It might as well be spectacular!  Way to go girl.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Musical Monday - Choir for Hire - FREE!!

They didn't need us to sing at the Relay for Life this year.   We can't be available for the Embro Fair if they even have a Talent Show this year.  We have this lovely music and so few people to sing it to lined up.

We are a unique choir in that we do not do ticketed events but sing when invited sometimes with other groups and sometimes we are it.  So what to do when you want a wider audience?  Well you write up a small article and submit it to a local publication.

In our area, the Village Voice is published in the small towns around us and we have had an article in before that netted new singers and new venues for singing.

Maybe YOU have a gig for us or YOU want to sing.  Do let us know. This is what we submitted.

The Embro Thistle Singers is a group of people hailing anywhere from Strathroy to Woodstock who gather every other week at Knox United Church in Embro to sing.  We love all kinds of music and sing the range from classical to popular.  We have people who read music and people who are happy with on the job training.  We help each other so that in the end we sing in very well balanced harmony.  We are all learning all the time. 
Our motto is "For the Love of Song, Service & Fun".  We have no dues and the only cost is a shirt if you decide to stay with us.  We often get donations from our singing gigs which we use to purchase music.
We are also looking for places to sing.  We would love to sing for a special occasion at your church, retirement facility, school or other special event or fund raiser.  We have sung at special services or evenings at Brooksdale Church, Sweaburg United, Knox United in Embro and St. James in Ingersoll. We have performed for the Tsunami Relief Concert for Japan, Relay for Life, the Lighting of the Lights, Youth for Christ and the Red Cross.  We would love to be of service to you and your group.  Just ask and we will do our best to be available to you.

Whether you would like to try us out and sing with us or have us sing at your event, please contact Kitty Babcock at or check us out on Facebook - Embro Thistle Singers or at our blog

Friday, June 12, 2015

Fun Friday - 2CELLOS - Thunderstruck

These young men are most amazing. It is very much like dueling cellos.  Enjoy their energy and abilities 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

"We Remember" on Wednesday - Skeleton puppet dances the twist

I remember that the twist was one of the few popular dances I could accomplish without looking too silly because it was a silly dance.  This puppeteer is really good at making his friend dance that awesome twist. 

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Musical Monday - How to Evaluate What Can't be Measured.

Image result for clip art applauseI know you have been to a concert where the performers did a fine job and the audience reception was less than enthusiastic.  We have also been to a less than stellar show that received a standing ovation because the audience was swayed by popularity or perhaps simply thought it was expected.  Applause is not always a measure of how well you do or how intrinsically good you are at your art.  So how do we measure how we are doing?  How do we set goals for steady improvement?  I have a couple of ideas but then you probably figured that out.

1.  Set standards that aren't always tied to your art - I truly believe that we have a duty to give without thought of return.  If your group or you as an artist have a plan to give through your art to support worthy causes and you do so, then you can measure that as success.  When you have reached those goals, you have attained a large measure of success. That part of your work is very able to be quantified because you either did or you didn't.

2.  Get outside guidance - If you are trying to measure your art, then you must have someone who is well versed in your art and whom you respect to listen, look at or review what you are putting out there.  In doing so, remember that this is only ONE person's opinion. Put into practice what you find helpful in that adjudication and see if it helps to improve what you had thought needed change.

3. Make mistakes - We also have to allow ourselves to make mistakes and be good with that.  If we aren't making mistakes we sure as heck aren't learning.  Celebrate the mistakes and the learning curve that occurs afterwards.  Mistakes give you a path to follow to get better in every aspect

4. Just know that it is good -  I remember well going to the Music Festival.  As my sister and I prepared to head out for our Festival performances, our mum would say, "Remember, that you are doing your very best today and the adjudicator is just one person and has but one opinion."  My sister and I would nod sagely and then Margie would say, "But mummy, I'd rather win!".  And that was that.
So although we need the opinion of others, we do need to win, get that applause and pat on the back.
If you record your work even occasionally, you will be able to tell whether the sound you make is improving.  Do you have a better blend?  Did you nail the rhythms that gave you grief?  Did you enjoy that performance? The yes answers count as wins and you need to remember those.

A positive attitude is absolutely necessary to learning, changing and presenting your art.  Love what you do and even when it isn't stellar, learn and move forward.  That is the measure of art.


Friday, June 5, 2015

Fun Friday - Sarah McLachlan ♥ Pink - In the Arms of the Angel

The harmonies are just lovely in this one.  Sarah McLachlan has such an extraordinary voice and Pink certainly blends beautifully.  What talent!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

"We Remember" on Wednesday - National Youth Choir of Scotland- The Lord of Sea and Sky

Any of us who sang as children will recognize how these young people are so ardent.  This is the hymn I mentioned on Monday.  Our sopranos sang this lovely descant as well.  Do watch the children as they sing.  How delightful.