Friday, January 22, 2010

A Year In

Oops! I can't believe I missed the one year anniversary of my blog! To think that
January 19, 2009 is when it all began...

Though I can't say that blogging has forever changed my life, it definitely made my past year much more interesting. As well, it's a very therapeutic way to express my musical thoughts and meet awesome readers!

I was able to try my hand at
electromusic composition a year ago and I posted lots of fun sound clips of my work for you all to listen to and documented my musical project progress along the way.

Blogging also gave me some amazing opportunities to attend and review excellent concerts put on by the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra such as Carmina Burana and the Symphony Under the Sky Festival in Hawrelak park.

It was also an exciting time when I was the blog of note for August 20, 2009 and I had hundreds of visitors checking out my page! It was overwhelming to get that amount of traffic but it was so exciting to hear from people around the world who had the same choral passions as I.

I like to think that I was able to post a wide array of entries such as the evolution of choral uniforms to more thoughtful entries documenting my choral involvement such as my first time out at camp and my first choir rehearsal. I also hoped that you have enjoyed some of my choral tidbits for success such as faking confidence and having a successful candlelight procession :)

Overall, I just want to say thanks to all my readers for actually reading what I have to say! It's staggering to think that people actually want to read my choral thoughts! I've really tried to write my entries in an engaging way since I do believe that there are still people not completely sold on the idea of choral music. It probably doesn't help that one the only times choral music makes it way into mainstream media is when there are booming adult voices singing ominous choruses at a climactic film moment. I'm thinking of the two-on-one lighttsaber duel between Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan, and Darth Maul at the end of Star Wars Episode I.

As stimulating as the Duel of the Fates battle sequence was, choral music is so much more than loud chorus singing! Choir is such a dynamic and engaging way to unify individual voices to create an amazing acoustic texture. No choir sounds the same because no choir has the same singers. Every voice has a unique role within a choir and that results in the enjoyment of singing as well as the challenges that choirs face. While I probably don't need to change your mind per say, since you probably have been following my posts due to a personal interest in choral singing, there are still so many more people out who need to experience the addiction that is choir. However, if you, dear reader, are not a chorister but still enjoy my posts... I feel like I have done my job.

Take care and talk soon!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Choral Soulmates

Happy New Year Dear Blog Readers!

I hope you all had a fantastic time celebrating with friends and family last night, if not, I hope you enjoyed an early evening and got lots of sleep instead :)

This holiday was filled with many happy times and I was also able to reunite with my four beloved choral friends! Back in 2001, I received a call from one of my fellow choristers, Leanne, I didn't know her well but she proposed something very interesting to me... a chance to busk at the local Fringe festival. She told me that she used to busk with her brother when they were younger and it was a fun way to make some money. I must admit---I was extremely hesitant. Busking in my mind seemed like something only for nomadic street performers. Up until that time, I enjoyed my time singing in choir, but I never took my musical curiosity any further than that. I tentatively committed to Leanne and also hoped that some other choristers I knew joined as well.

I'm not sure how we ended up with the final group members but I definitely felt the most out of my element. The other girls seemed to have a hippie vitality to them that I did not possess. I remember watching them run carefree and barefoot on the street and wondered if I could do the same as well. My repressive tendencies convinced me to keep my shoes on, but slowly and surely, I began testing the environment outside of my culturally constructed bubble. Sure, I did not embrace the free-loving carefree nature as much as they did but, now that I think about it, I definitely put myself out there while mimicking the playing of non-existent instruments for our song "The Orchestra." Baby steps :) That summer of 2001 was the genesis of our A Capella singing group: Con Fuoco.

After our busking adventures, where we mainly spent all the money we generated on festival food and fudge from the lovely man at the farmers market, we were determined to continue our music-making into the school year. We had a solid 4 years doing gigs, carolling, and even entering the local music festival and won an award at the provincial level. We tried to go onto nationals but we did not meet the number requirements since we were only a quintet. Along the way there were definitely musical struggles as well. It was difficult aligning everybody's schedule to practice, demanding equal commitment, and figuring out who would lead our rehearsals when we had no clearly appointed leader. However, it was also one of my most musically freeing experiences. It was amazing being able to have a say in how certain songs should be sung and interpreted. I did not know it at that time, but it was also when I was fostering bonds with 4 women who would become my choral soulmates. We were not longer just fellow singers but also bestfriends. Cheesy as it may sound, I would be an extremely different person if it didn't know these ladies. I was taking musical initiative for the first time in my life and this confidence carried over into other parts of my life.

Of course, our time as a group had an expiry date as we began entering University in different cities. We no longer had time to commit to Con Fuoco. We tried to have reunion concerts in the summer but these soon ended as other members were often abroad doing music programs or other classes in their area of study. When I think back on it now, I find it remarkable that my junior high self was able to be apart of something so musically stimulating! We achieved great things at a young age and I wonder if I would be able to do the same thing now. Probably not.

Although Con Fuoco is no longer an active musical group, these women have become my choral soulmates. I usually only see them once a year. It is difficult to get us all in the same place but I was able to see them all this past Christmas together for the first time in 2 years. Even though we each live in different cities, it feels like no time has past when we are reunited. There are always many life updates to share but we always make sure to take out our old music binders and sing through some of our favorites. As we part ways this holiday season, I wish them all the best. I am not a new years resolution maker, but if I was, I would definitely hope for the chance for Con Fuoco to perform together again in the future. I won't put a year time limit on it, but hopefully someday we will be able to make music together once again.

Take care everybody and have a fantastic start to the new year!