Sunday, August 30, 2015

Musical Monday - Choir Sings Pachelbel Canon Medley - The Power of the Pentatonic

We had our first practice for this year at our house with a pot luck.  Now I have told you before that our choir is tops at bringing really delicious goodies.  They did not disappoint.  That is a bit of a problem as we then have our practice afterwards.  Yikes.  

We have 3 new members who were good sports and are going to be great additions to our choir.  Suffice it to say that we weren't quite up to the level of this video tonight (but close tee, hee!!)
The choir in this video is adding rock songs on top of a lovely rendition by the orchestra of Pachelbel's Canon.  How?  Well, Pachelbel's Canon is written in the pentatonic as are the rock songs they use.  

Amaze your friends by playing the piano with both hands and never having a nasty clashing sound when you play only the BLACK keys.  Those represent the pentatonic or 5 note scale that leaves out the two half tone steps of fah and ti.  Listen and see what I mean.  I think we have hatched an idea for more partner songs.  Enjoy!!

P.S. Please note that the poem correctly titled "The Dash" used in last week's blog was written by Linda Ellis.  The internet is a great place but sometimes the information you find is not quite correct.  Thanks Anne. 

Friday, August 28, 2015

Fun Friday - Ricky Skaggs - Country Boy

You may or may not be a country aficionado but you have to admire the skill especially in the guitar.  Now listen to Ricky Skaggs here and then scroll down to one of his first performances.

He is a cutey for sure.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Musical Monday - What Will YOUR Dash Be?

Image result for choir picturesToday the Embro Thistle Singers had the pleasure of taking part in the decoration service for the Embro Cemetery.  We sang at the Knox Presbyterian Church one block south of our "home" base at Knox United.  What a delightful group of people and a lovely building.  We really enjoyed our time.

Hurrah for the fabulous singers who came and did a great job adding to the service by singing the hymns and Oh Canada as well as our contribution of Because We Believe, Hallelujah and You Raise Me Up.  The music was an important part of the service but the part that made it really special was Anne Hollis' message.

She said that as a child she often visited the pioneer cemetery near her home and wondered what people had done with their lives.  On the tombstones, you see the dates of birth and death and all the rest is represented by a small DASH.  Anne reminded us that it is up to us how we live that dash.

So have you always wanted to sing but weren't sure you could? Join a choir.  If you are afraid of a audition, find a community choir like ours that wants you if you are willing to learn and work with the team.  Whatever you do, don't let your music go unsung.  My lifelong dream is to conduct an orchestra.  I will do that.

Thank you Anne for another wonderful message.  Thank you

If music is a passion then make it happen for you.  Don't let your dash not be filled with all that is in your heart.

Here is the poem, How Do You Live Your Dash?.  As with many poems that say great things, it is by Anonymous.

I read of a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
From the beginning… to the end.

He noted that first came her date of birth
And spoke the following date with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years. (1934-1998)

For that dash represents all the time
That she spent alive on earth…
And now only those who loved her
Know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not, how much we own;
The cars… the house… the cash,
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard…
Are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left,
That can still be rearranged.

If we could just slow down enough
To consider what’s true and real,
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger,
And show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives
Like we’ve never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect,
And more often wear a smile…
Remembering that this special dash
Might only last a little while.

So, when your eulogy’s being read
With your life’s actions to rehash…
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent your dash?

Author Unknown… 

Friday, August 21, 2015

Fun Friday - Rob Mills Family - Through The Decades

What a fabulous idea for a concert.  Take a known song and go through the decades.  This is just so good.  Enjoy.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

"We Remember" on Wednesdays - NEIL YOUNG - OLD MAN

Here is the young Neil Young singing about Old Man.  This one is quite strident.  Below are older versions which I find much easier to digest.  Maturity brings a lot to the song. 

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Musical Monday - The Power of the Pencil

Image result for clip art pencils
I have a can of pencils some with fuzzy tops, some with little animals and some that are just plain pencils that sit on the piano.  Why?  Well, if you are a musician you should own as many pencils as a visual artist.

1.  Jot down what the director says even if you ARE the director - Now if you are human at all, you will forget what was discussed about the dynamics, phrasing or meaning of a part of a song.  And if you are the director and come up with a brilliant idea, you need to jot it on your music as well.  Take it from me.  The choir will remember and remind you if you don't.  You might as well look intelligent whenever possible.  We all have those times - you know what I mean.

2.  Use pencil NOT pen - The librarians of many choirs will do great physical damage to any who use pens.  Remember once that piece is handed in, your bass notes may go on to the next soprano.  Hence, pencil for removability.
There is also the chance that the director will change her mind and want that great idea changed to another one.  Erasers are always at the ready.

3.  Pencils = memory - If you write it down, there is a much better chance that you will actually remember it.  Really.

4.  It makes the director feel good - You can win brownie points when you say oh so sotto voce, "Oh that is a great idea.  I think I will jot that down."  Keep your director feeling like he is in control even when we know that isn't always true.

Haven pencil will learn.  Your markings will be yours.  Who knows, you may even invent a whole new way of representing dynamics.  Ready, set - write it down.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Fun Friday - Sound of Music | Central Station Antwerp (Belgium)

Sound of Music brings back many memories for each of us.  The Stratford Festival in Ontario has produced a fabulous version.  This is a great flash mob using a "favourite" song. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

"We Remember" on Wednesday - The Maccabeats - Les Misérables - Passover

Les Miserables was one of the first operas our daughter got to see.  She was won over.  There are many pieces that stand on their own and this is no exception.  What does it make you remember?

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Musical Monday - So Why Do We Have Choir Practice?

Some days, it seems a real effort to get up and go to choir practice.  Once I am there, I am so very glad I went.  I feel so much differently once I go home.  It would be easy sometimes to use family, or other activities or just being tired as excuses for not attending.  As the director, I really do need to show up so I have that extra impetus.  But there are many more reasons why I show up.  Do these ring any bells with you?

1.  The love of making music - Yup.  It is sometimes as simple as that.  I love to be involved in the making of music.  One of the frustrations for me is that I have vocal nodes and cannot sing as I once did.  Having this awesome group of singers with whom I get to hang out, fills that space and then some.

2.  Fun - The Embro Thistle Singers mantra is For the Love of  Song, Service & Fun.  Although we work hard at learning our music, we have fun doing it.  Sometimes our mistakes are hilarious.  I can't help it.  I just break down and belly laugh sometimes.  Sometimes, we really miss the mark when we try something.  Even so, we try to keep the feeling light.  The world will not collapse because the basses missed a chord or I directed the wrong dynamics.  Everything in perspective makes it easier to enjoy the process.  Is there any reason why we wouldn't enjoy learning?

3.  Learn - Each song brings new challenges and opportunities to learn about music, people and performing.  I am reminded of many things I learned in the past and new musical ideas and formats.  The learning is never ending and it is exciting.

4.  Camaraderie - There are people in our choir I would never have had the chance to meet otherwise.  Meeting and working with this varied group is a blessing that can never be measured.

What does your choir bring to you?

Friday, August 7, 2015

Fun Friday - Guys Try Leggings For The First Time - Choir Outfits?

A choir I belonged to previously had various costumes we used for concerts and travelling.  When we were touring the U.K. we were late for an engagement after climbing Mount Snowden.  We changed in the coach.  Thank goodness we didn't have leggings.  
On that same trip, we had to change in the gatekeepers lodge that might have held 15 comfortably.  We were twice that number and changing into long, white dresses and cummerbunds.  Oh just the thought of having to use that space and replicate the moves in the video below make we weep with laughter.  Oh my! 

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Musical Monday - Twins Irish dancing

As we meander our way through this hot spell, let's remember that there is joy in music.  Look at these wee dancers.  It just takes you to a whole new level.