Saturday, March 19, 2011


Greetings readers!

So this week has been a blitz of choral activity.

Monday consisted of a workshop with Simon Carrington, prominent international singer and conductor and co-founder of the famous a capella group from the UK: The King's Singers. Haven't heard of them? Watch a video of their piece entitled "Masterpiece" as they make their way through different composers and musical eras. It's quite entertaining.

The workshop was for ChoralFest 2011 and was hosted by the Alberta Choral Federation. Chorale Saint-Jean and Belle Canto were the two community choirs participating in this workshop and all I can say is that Belle Canto just felt out of place. It wasn't just that we were all in our casual street clothes on stage, it was a workshop so I didn't think it was essential to be performing in our uniforms, however, it just felt like we weren't receptive to the comments and critique being given. Instead, there was this overwhelming feeling of self-consciousness and an apologetic vibe we were giving off for missing a chunk of singers from our group. Though we were there more for the experience, all I garnered from the workshop was that Carrington thinks Belle Canto's sound is "bright". Strange to be summarized by one adjective. There wasn't really any further explanation. I didn't know if bright was good or bad. I didn't know what it was supposed to mean at all.

It's also a bit unsettling how Belle Canto has become this bubble that rarely comes in contact with the choral community in Edmonton. We use to surface once in a while to do the live CBC Choral competition but there is no longer a live radio portion. It's been nice to be in other choirs like the Madrigal Singers and Pro Coro since it gives me a better idea of the kind of repertoire other choirs sing and the types of singers in them. I know it's unrealistic to think that there could be a project that united all the choirs and choristers in Edmonton (that would take a large amount of time and money which most choral organizations do not have) but I just wish we didn't have to look at other choirs as if they were strangers when we end up in the same workshop or festival class.

Overall, I didn't find the workshop satisfying. Carrington mainly drilled the men for singing to "notey" in Fauré's Cantique de Jean Racine and tried to incorporate some drastic pulling of dynamics at the ends of phrases in the madrigal "Sing We and Chant It"---reminiscent of the King's Singers choral style. Nearing the end of the evening I just wanted to go to bed... but that was probably due to the fact that I had just finished an intensive stretch of weekend rehearsals with Pro Coro.

Anyway, it's Pro Coro's Founder's concert tomorrow and after that I have also signed up to sing with Da Camera for DuruflĂ©’s Requiem with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra next weekend. If I include this week, that means I'll be singing every evening for a solid two weeks. So this is the life of a working musician? It is tiring but fulfilling at the same time. I have to make sure I get a good amount of vocal rest and sleep if I'm going to survive and stave off the Spring colds that seem to be circulating in the community.

Until next time, take care!

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