Sunday, November 29, 2015

Musical Monday - My Fair Lady Triumph!

Our singers have been very busy with many gigs this fall.  We sang at the Mount Elgin Church's 155 year Anniversary today.  Wow!  The music was really an appropriate fit for the messages of the day and choir sang beautifully.  It is so worth the effort when the people tell you how much the music added to the service.  Yes!

A number of our singers have been busy outside of our Embro Thistle Singers being a part of the amazing My Fair Lady musical put on at the Embro Town Hall as a major fund raiser.  They had 88% of the hall sold in total.  Professional theatres would love to be able to have that happen.  However, as with any live production there are things that happen that test even the most seasoned.

One of the cast had a terrible case of laryngitis and another cast member did that part for 2 nights having to use the script.  He did a fantastic job.  Remember with small towns, there is little chance to have understudies.  Someone will step up and the show goes on.

Another cast member had a minor stroke while on stage.  The audience did not realize it as it was the place where he is carried off and away he went.  Thankfully, his doctors gave the okay for him to continue.  Now, that really puts "the show must go on" to the test.

I am sure there were costume glitches and lines dropped, lyrics forgotten and cues missed.  However, the show went on with great aplomb.  Wow.  What an terrific cast.

We are so proud of you all and most especially our amazing Harold, Kathy and Elaine who have worked so very hard at the rehearsals and the 6 performances the last of which is going on as I type.  Aren't we blessed to have such involved and talented people among us.  Well done all!!!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Fun Friday - Sugarplum Fairy from Nutcracker with a Salsa Rhythm

Just when you think the Christmas music can become too much the same, you find a video like this that really adds some punch.  Dance along. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

"We Remember" on Wednesday - Ringing of the Bells - The Muppets

This is fun to watch and listen as our Muppet friends present the Carol of the Bells without any words.  The snow has arrived here in our area so this is just right. 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Musical Monday - Joy To The World – Pentatonix

Last Thursday, our wonderful singers sang at the Lighting of the Lights in downtown Ingersoll.  It was windy and cold but those who weren't either attending or performing in My Fair Lady in Embro braved the evening.  We could barely see our music.  I had to stand on my music stand and my pages blew around so it was a good thing I know most of the songs.  The choir soldiered on even with children running wild and yelling as we sang.  
Now check out this video and see how lovely the sound is in this church where there is no one present to cough or unwrap candies to add to the sound.  The hard surfaces of the church give the marvellous harmonies a lovely acoustic.  
Next week we get to sing at Mount Elgin Church.  Although we may encounter coughs and candies. we will have light.  We won't however sound quite like this marvellous group.  

Friday, November 20, 2015

Fun Friday - Peter, Paul and Mary - Puff, the Magic Dragon

Peter, Paul and Mary used their music to tell stories often with a deeper meaning than the words would seem.  Kids love to sing this song to this day.  Okay, ready, sing-----

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

"We Remember" on Wednesday - Peter, Paul and Mary - Blowing in the Wind

The words are so powerful and of course Peter, Paul and Mary were activists using their music to make a statement.  This one makes us think.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Musical Monday - Your Voice Control - Simple Stuff

So many times folks think that getting your voice to do what you want is hard.  This explains that it takes, like any skill, practise, and thought.

The amount of movement required for your entire range is three millimeters -says Mark Baxter
Can you drop down into a split without warming up? How about after warming up?
Vocal range is a lot like the range of motion of your limbs. The elasticity necessary to do a split requires a lot of stretching.
The same is true for your voice. The vocal folds are membranes (a little smaller then your eyelids) that stretch over the windpipe. When air streams between them, their edges vibrate.
The action required to sing different notes is more like tuning a guitar than playing one
The vibration is nothing more than a microscopic wiggle. Look closely at a guitar string after it’s played and you’ll see the same thing. To sing high, your vocal folds vibrate fast – really fast.
The action required to sing different notes is more like tuning a guitar than playing one. Muscles in the larynx pull or release the folds to create high and low pitches.
The amount of movement required for your entire range is three millimeters.
Re-read the above line about a thousand times until it is embedded in your subconscious.
The root of all vocal problems is that we perceive the activities involved with singing as big events.
They’re not.
We ball our fists and load up enough air pressure to create an aneurysm just to get through the chorus of a song. The automatic reaction to such force is resistance; the body braces for the assault.
vocalizing daily at a low volume will allow you to visit higher notes without stress
Rigid muscles lock up the vocal folds. No flexibility, no range. It’s that simple.
The key to singing high notes is volume – as in, start with less of it. Reducing the volume of your voice removes the burden of excess air pressure so your folds can become more elastic.
Just as a little stretching every day is necessary to do splits, vocalizing daily at a low volume will allow you to visit higher notes without stress.

 The Ultimate Guide to SingingMark is a contributor to The Ultimate Guide to SingingAvailable in print and Kindle versions in the US, the UK and across the world.
Mark Baxter Professional Shoot
Mark Baxter has worked as a coach with Aerosmith, Journey, Goo Goo Dolls — and many others. He is the author of The Rock-n-Roll Singer’s Survival, creator of The Singer’s Toolbox instructional DVD, Sing Like an Idol instructional CD. Mark operates vocal studios in New York, Boston, Los Angeles and online via Skype. Visit his website: VoiceLesson

Friday, November 13, 2015

Fun Friday - The New Seekers - I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing

Here is the original Coke commercial that became a best selling hit.  I just love the words.  This is an all time favourite for me.

Here are the New Seekers singing the former commercial as a hit song. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

"We Remember" on Wednesdays - Sara Bareilles - Brave

Image result for clip art poppyI posted this some time ago but it is worth posting again on this Remembrance Day.  Those who go to help out in times of war, major disasters and other desperate times should be in our thoughts always.  We can be BRAVE too every day in our lives.  As we apply these words to our own lives think of those who are brave even far from home!!  Thank you to all who serve others here and far away. 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Musical Monday - Remembrance at Union Church

Brenda a the Union Church just outside the wee hamlet of Uniondale, asked us back in August if we would sing at their Remembrance Service November 8.  The choir said yes and boy are we glad we did.

Pastor Kate, Brenda the organist and the wonderful people of the church were just so welcoming and warm.  The service was very well thought out with a Canadian Veteran laying the wreath, and a wonderful trumpeter playing Last Post and Reveille.

 We sang Brother James Aire.
 For the Beauty of the Earth
 The Lord's Prayer
 No Tears in Heaven

Hallelujah and finished with The Parting Blessing.
The Embro Thistle Singers outdid themselves.  The acoustics in the tiny, lovely old church were so lovely.  And of course our amazing Kristy had to play 1/4 beat ahead of us all because of the placement of the piano and of course, it all went off with aplomb.

Thank you to the Union Church for a wonderful luncheon afterwards as well.  All in all a very memorable morning with new friends.  I hope your Remembrance Service is as touching and thoughtful as the one we got to participate in today.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

"We Remember" on Wednesday - John Lennon- Give Peace a Chance with Lyrics

This song has had many incarnations.  It has even been sung in bed.  Go ahead and look up the history.  Great to see the words on this one.  

Monday, November 2, 2015

Mozart Will Survive

Thanks to our Elaine I have some great videos like this to share.  I think sometimes we need to take ourselves less seriously.  They are showing a prodigious knowledge of music, variations and skill.  A video like this is a gorgeous teaching tool for any age.  Can you name all the pieces of music represented in this performance?  Can you find the variations?  Did you enjoy the recitative?  Enjoy this first just for what it is, a great performance.  Then challenge yourself to finding the bits that make it so great.  Gotta love the creative use of the Dremel tool!!