Choral Cacophony Podcast

Choral Cacophony Podcast

By Holly Massie
About
From live rehearsal audio with The Stairwell Carollers, each Podcast is 7 minutes or less.

For singers who want to improve performance - solo or in chorus. Warmups, ear training, rehearsal and challenging vocal gymnastics with Director Pierre Massie are fun and engaging.

Live and fresh, the Choral Cacophony Podcast will help any vocalist develop their range, enunciation, breath control and vocal quality. Sound advice for singers who want to improve their listening, rhythm and pronunciation for songs in multiple languages.

Practice your ear training and vocal exercises along with the choir!
More places to listen
From live rehearsal audio with The Stairwell Carollers, each Podcast is 7 minutes or less.

For singers who want to improve performance - solo or in chorus. Warmups, ear training, rehearsal and challenging vocal gymnastics with Director Pierre Massie are fun and engaging.

Live and fresh, the Choral Cacophony Podcast will help any vocalist develop their range, enunciation, breath control and vocal quality. Sound advice for singers who want to improve their listening, rhythm and pronunciation for songs in multiple languages.

Practice your ear training and vocal exercises along with the choir!

More places to listen

CCPodcast S.2#14 - "I Am Not Yours" - Sneek Peek
Ottawa choral music fans are in for a real treat June 2nd. Pierre Massie and his award-winning choir The Stairwell Carollers will be celebrating the finale of their 40th anniversary season with a diverse program of six centuries of music sung in six languages. 2018 Spring concert Programme - Eya Eya The concert will feature a number of Renaissance gems from England, Spain, France and Germany, 19th century gems like Abendlied by Josef Rheinberger, and modern masterpieces by Lauridsen, Stroope and Gjeilo. In addition, Pierre has programmed his award-winning “Eya eya gaudeamus” – the title track for the concert – as well as a brand-new arrangement of a medieval song – “In natali Domini” – by fellow Caroller David Rain. Throughout their 40 years, the Stairwell Carollers have been singing in a humanitarian key. Net proceeds from concerts and CD sales have allowed the Carollers to present donations to dozens of local charities and music scholarships to local high school students totalling over $140,000. The Carollers are delighted to announce that this year’s $1000 music scholarship will be presented at their June 2 concert to Rayna Crandlemire, a talented singer, who also plays violin, clarinet and piano. Rayna attended De La Salle High School and will be continuing her music education at the University of Toronto this fall, where she has also been awarded a music scholarship. Congratulations Rayna! In addition, on June 2 a donation of $2000 will be presented to the Galilee Centre. The Stairwell Carollers have a soft spot in their hearts for Arnrprior’s Galilee Centre, as their special 40th anniversary workshop was just held there in May, led by the inspiring Gabriel Lewis-O'Connor, a former member of the renowned male chorus Chanticleer, who will be singing in Ottawa in July. The Carollers will make an official presentation of the donation and scholarship grants at their spring concert “Eya eya gaudeamus” at Saint Barnabas Church (corner of James St & Kent St) on June 2nd, 7:30pm. Hope to see you there! Tickets are available at the door for $20, or in advance for $15 from The Leading Note, 370 Elgin St; Compact Music, 190 & 785 1/2 Bank St; Books on Beechwood, 35 Beechwood Ave, or online at http://www.stairwellcarollers.com/Concerts.html. David Rain, who sings tenor with the Carollers, has been taking his musical cues from the back of Pierre Massie’s head for 25 years. About Our A cappella Choir: Pierre Massie started The Stairwell Carollers in 1977 while studying music at Ottawa University. We are ranked with the best of Ontario choirs, winning both the 2010 and 2013 Ontario Music Festival Association competitions. A registered Canadian charity, Net proceeds of our concert, CD and cookbook sales are gifted to local charities.
03:16
May 21, 2018
CC Podcast S. 2 #13 - SSShort and SSSweet
This week is a physical warmup exercise for diaphragmatic breathing - done in a standing position. Teeth together, mouth slightly open, deep breath and release the breath in a controlled manner. Allow only the tiniest stream of air to be released in a smooth hisssss. SSSSSSSSSSSS... It's a room full of leaky tires. We revisit an earlier CC Podcast breath control exercise - with a little more direction from Pierre about the importance of the diaphragm in breathing. The Stairwell Carollers: Pierre Massie began our a cappella choir 40 years ago, in 1977, while he was a music student at Ottawa U. The Stairwell Carollers are now ranked with the best of Ontario choirs, winning both the 2010 and 2013 Ontario Music Festival Association competitions. A registered Canadian charity, we also help local charities with our concert, CD and cookbook sales. Net proceeds benefit charities in our locale. Please DONATE to support our 40th year workshops.
02:29
April 23, 2018
CCPodcast S. 2 #12 - Be like Fonzie
In this week's Choral Cacophony Podcast, The Fonz from Happy Daze fame and spaghetti are featured. Pierre uses both these vivid examples (and others) to illustrate vowel quality and production. He runs the choir through the vowel sounds with his own brand of colourful descriptions of how the sounds should come out and what shape they should take. This rehearsal group included a number of auditioners back in August 2016. A few voices stick out and were subsequently not chosen for the choir. Blending voices is a primary requirement to join the Stairwell Carollers. Enjoy the practice!
05:36
April 9, 2018
CC Podcast S. 2 #11 - Spring Concerts Sneak Preview - Abendlied
If you've been following our Choral Cacophony Podcasts (and why not???) you may be motivated to hear us LIVE IN CONCERT! Here we are at a recent rehearsal preparing Abendlied by Joseph Rheinberger for the upcoming concerts. Enjoy! The Stairwell Carollers: Pierre Massie began our a cappella choir in 1977 while a music student at Ottawa U. The Stairwell Carollers are ranked with the best of Ontario choirs, winning both the 2010 and 2013 Ontario Music Festival Association competitions. A registered Canadian charity, we help other local charities with our concert, CD and cookbook sales. Net proceeds from sales benefit charity. DONATE to support our 40th year celebration workshops!
06:05
March 26, 2018
CC Podcast S. 2 #10 - Spring Forward with Octave Jumps
Whaaaat? This week's Choral Cacophony Podcast features a warmup you can do to help with Octave jumps AND relaxed open tones. The secret?? Looking down. Yes. Literally. Looking down. Looking UP to reach a high note - straining for a note - can close off your air flow and tense up your muscles unnecessarily. So, look down when you reach up for that note. Try it, it works. About The Stairwell Carollers: Pierre Massie started our a cappella choir 40 years ago, in 1977, while a student of music at Ottawa U. The Stairwell Carollers are ranked with the best of Ontario choirs, having won both the 2010 and 2013 Ontario Music Festival Association competitions. A registered Canadian charity, we also help local charities with our concert, CD and cookbook sales. Net proceeds benefit charity. 
05:39
March 19, 2018
CC Podcast S. 2 #9 - Movable Do - Dissonance!
How high can you go? And can you hold that note? Does dissonance pull you away from your part? Stay with your section and stay in tune! Those are the two skills practiced in this week's Choral Cacophony Podcast. As an alto I know all about having to hold one note... for...ever. I've called us the Polyfilla of the choir since we always seem to fill the cracks missed by the other harmonies. In Modern and Contemporary music the dissonances in the musical design can be challenging - to say the least. Sing hard.. I mean - work well, um, you know what I mean. The Stairwell Carollers: Pierre Massie began our a cappella choir 40 years ago, in 1977, while he was a music student at Ottawa U. The Stairwell Carollers are now ranked with the best of Ontario choirs, winning both the 2010 and 2013 Ontario Music Festival Association competitions. A registered Canadian charity, we also help local charities with our concert, CD and cookbook sales. Net proceeds benefit charity. Please DONATE to support our 40th year workshops!
06:33
March 12, 2018
CC Podcast S. 2 #8 - Play Ball!
We're all on hold waiting and wanting the spring flowers to appear. Our new singing season starts and it's a whole new ballgame - 40th, contemporary, Canadian! Personally, I can't wait to see the first flowers pop up through the snow. It's early innings in our rehearsals and there are still songs to learn and skills to hone. So, for our Choral Cacophony Podcast Season 2 Number 8, here's a fresh warmup that covers all the bases. The Stairwell Carollers: Pierre Massie began our a cappella choir 40 years ago, in 1977, while he was a music student at Ottawa U. The Stairwell Carollers are now ranked with the best of Ontario choirs, winning both the 2010 and 2013 Ontario Music Festival Association competitions. A registered Canadian charity, we also help local charities with our concert, CD and cookbook sales. Net proceeds benefit charity. Please DONATE to support our 40th year workshops!
05:33
March 5, 2018
CC Podcast S. 2 #7 - One Note Wonder
As a singer, in a chorus especially, we have to shape our vowels correctly (and the way the director prefers!) But, how do we do that? Like most skill development, it takes practice and guidance. Practice making the sound, shaping the mouth, and - where does that darn pesky tongue go? Hint - The tongue should lay in the mouth, as if ready for a yawn, touching the back of the teeth. If you are lucky, you have a master music teacher on a mission leading your chorus. This weeks Choral Cacophony Podcast presents a vocal warm-up that's also great for ear training. About The Stairwell Carollers: Pierre Massie began our a cappella choir way back in 1977 while studying music at Ottawa U. The Stairwell Carollers are ranked with the best of Ontario choirs, winning both the 2010 and 2013 Ontario Music Festival Association competitions. A registered Canadian charity, we also help local charities with our concert, CD and cookbook sales. Net proceeds benefit charity. Please DONATE to support our 40th year workshops!
06:29
February 26, 2018
CC Podcast S. 2 #6 - We Got Rhythm
This weeks Choral Cacophony Podcast episode is an extra long one - about 10 minutes. With two whole body exercises, the Stairwell Carollers work on rhythm. Pierre created special practice sheets for teaching rhythm to his students and uses a whole body approach to teaching it. For all rhythm exercises he stresses coordination between the mind and the body; a musician always has to keep count of the beats in a bar while singing, playing an instrument, etc. This is challenging to say the least. Using Rhythm Sheet 1a - shown below - Pierre leads the choir in alternate forms of clapping and saying the beat/note number position in the bar. Rhythms 1a - all rights reserved, Pierre Massie About The Stairwell Carollers: Pierre Massie began our a cappella choir way back in 1977 while studying music at Ottawa U. The Stairwell Carollers are ranked with the best of Ontario choirs, winning both the 2010 and 2013 Ontario Music Festival Association competitions. A registered Canadian charity, we also help local charities with our concert, CD and cookbook sales. Net proceeds benefit charity. Please DONATE to support our 40th year workshops!
10:31
February 19, 2018
CC Podcast S. 2 #5a - Working out Laud
In this weeks Choral Cacophony Podcast episode (Second of two parts) we work on a piece called Resonet in laudibus. It's a latin Sacred composition from the 14th century, transcribed by our director, Pierre Massie. About The Stairwell Carollers: Pierre Massie began our a cappella choir way back in 1977 while studying music at Ottawa U. The Stairwell Carollers are ranked with the best of Ontario choirs, winning both the 2010 and 2013 Ontario Music Festival Association competitions. A registered Canadian charity, we also help local charities with our concert, CD and cookbook sales. Net proceeds benefit charity. Please DONATE to support our 40th year workshops!
06:47
February 12, 2018
CC Podcast S. 2 #5 - Resonet in Laudibus Rhythm
In this weeks Choral Cacophony Podcast episode (the first of two parts) we rehearse a piece called Resonet in laudibus. It's a latin sacred composition from the 14th century, transcribed by our director, Pierre Massie. Please DONATE to support our 40th year events! All Donations receive a charitable receipt. A registered Canadian charity, we also help local charities with our concerts and CDs ! The Stairwell Carollers: Pierre Massie started our a cappella choir in 1977 while he was a music student at Ottawa University. The Stairwell Carollers are ranked among the best of Ontario choirs, winning both the 2010 and 2013 Ontario Music Festival Association competitions.
07:00
February 5, 2018
CC Podcast S. 2 #4a - A Heavenly Pair
Here is the conclusion of a Two Part Choral Cacophony Podcast for lovers of English madrigals from the Renaissance. Part 2 continues with Fine Knacks for Ladies, by John Dowland. This podcast highlights Pierre's sense of humour in rehearsal, a question from Holly, pronunciation of key words and an answer from Maggie. Fine Knacks For Ladies - John Dowland Fine knacks for ladies, cheap, choice, brave and new, Good pennyworths but money cannot move, I keep a fair but for the fair to view, A beggar may be liberal of love. Though all my wares be trash, the heart is true (repeat). Great gifts are guiles and look for gifts again, My trifles come as treasures from my mind, It is a precious jewel to be plain, Sometimes in shell the Orient's pearls we find. Of others take a sheaf, *of me a grain (repeat). * Within this pack pins, points, laces and gloves, And divers toys fitting a country fair, But in my heart, where duty serves and loves, Turtles and twins, Court's brood, a heav'nly pair. Happy the man that thinks of no removes (repeat).
06:20
January 29, 2018
CC Podcast S. 2 #4 - Fine Knacks indeed!
If you love Renaissance madrigals, we have a Two Part CC Podcast for you. Starting this week with Part 1, Fine Knacks for Ladies, an English madrigal from the Renaissance will be dissected and refined. This week, specific pronunciation (to overcome singer's individual accents) is reinforced through our favourite method - practise, practise, practise. Our director decided long ago to be true to each song's roots. That's why we work with experts on language pronunciation for all our songs - even down to regional differences in dialects. Of course any group can work to overcome their own regional sound if they emulate a British Boy's choir sound, or an authentic Spanish cadence or French language finesse. Email us NOW to set up YOUR Audition for Ottawa's a cappella choir, The Stairwell Carollers. **Whether you audition to sing with the group or show up to help as a volunteer, you will enjoy every minute with this great group of people. We rehearse and perform in the Ottawa/Outaouais region.
06:53
January 22, 2018
CC Podcast S. 2 #3 - Contre Qui Rose Rehearsal
*If you live in the Ottawa region and love The Stairwell Carollers -- and would love to sing in our choir - email us to set up your audition NOW. *This podcast episode shows a typical rehearsal and illustrates how deftly Pierre our director leads us to perform such a subtle and wondrous piece as Contre Qui Rose. **To set up your audition time in the last week of January 2018, email info(at)stairwellcarollers.com ** Please DONATE to support our 40th year events ! All Donations receive a charitable receipt. About The Stairwell Carollers: Pierre Massie started our a cappella choir in 1977 while a music student at Ottawa University. The Stairwell Carollers are ranked with the best of Ontario choirs, winning both the 2010 and 2013 Ontario Music Festival Association competitions. A registered Canadian charity, we also help local charities with our concert, CD and cookbook sales.
06:59
January 15, 2018
CC Podcast S. 2 #2 - By Heart
This weeks Choral Cacophony Podcast is a wee lecture from our director Pierre on "getting away from the book". Besides the fact that The Stairwell Carollers are known for connecting with the audience in a way that many choirs don't - we sing to the audience, rather than at them, knowing your music by heart is a great strategy to improve performance and musicality in general. Here is the first page of the sheet music for El Grillo - a fun 15th century Italian madrigal which celebrates the Cricket. This song was Pierre's jumping off point for the discussion. Speaking personally, I memorize my parts as best I can. My performance is always better when I am most familiar with the music. Please DONATE to support our 40th year events ! All Donations receive a charitable receipt. About The Stairwell Carollers: Pierre Massie started our a cappella choir in 1977 while a music student at Ottawa University. The Stairwell Carollers are ranked with the best of Ontario choirs, winning both the 2010 and 2013 Ontario Music Festival Association competitions. A registered Canadian charity, we also help local charities with our concert, CD and cookbook sales.
05:52
January 8, 2018
CC Podcast S. 2 #1 - New Ear Challenge!
Director, Pierre, warms up the choir with a simple arpeggios then starts some Movable Do work. Your task is to figure out what your part is. Along the way there are some hints! Use this episode to warm up your voice and test your listening skills. Then, guest conductor, Mark Sirett takes over with a direction to bring less sound neutrality with changes in lip position. He also discusses the tendency to slide from Re to Do and the significance of the movable Do hand signs. Book Mark Sirett to workshop your choir! Please DONATE to support our 40th year events ! All Donations receive a charitable receipt. About The Stairwell Carollers: Pierre Massie started our a cappella choir in 1977 while a music student at Ottawa University. The Stairwell Carollers are ranked with the best of Ontario choirs, winning both the 2010 and 2013 Ontario Music Festival Association competitions. A registered Canadian charity, we also help local charities with our concert, CD and cookbook sales.
07:29
January 2, 2018
Choral Cacophony Podcast #18 - A Spanish Carol, Deconstructed
As I said in Podcast #16, En El Portal de Belen is a lively and fun Puerto Rican Christmas carol that we have really loved singing for a couple of years now. Yes, you will hear it at our Final concert for the 2017 Christmas season coming up THIS WEDNESDAY - Dec 20th. Our final concert of 2017! Come hear the Stairwell Carollers sing “A Canadian Christmas” WEDNESDAY December 20th at St. Columba Anglican Church 24 Sandridge Rd, , Ottawa, (ON), 7:30pm. The Stairwell Carollers were proud to present a special 40th anniversary donation of $3,000 to the Shepherds of Good Hope on the 15th - a result of their first ever “Sponsor a Song” fundraising campaign. *Tickets are $20 at the door, * * $15 in advance at * http://www.stairwellcarollers.com/Concerts.html; The Leading Note, 370 Elgin St; *Compact Music, 206 & 785 ½ Bank St locations; * Books on Beechwood, 35 Beechwood Ave. Hope to see you at St. Columba on WEDNESDAY evening! I couldn't mention this carol again without trying to facilitate some help for the people of Puerto Rico, because of the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria. This Christmas season will be very different and a real challenge for the survivors to keep their Christmas spirit alive. Here are a few ways you can help The people of Puerto Rico have a merrier Christmas: The direct link to FEMA - lots of great advice about how to help. United for Puerto Rico National voluntary organizations active in disaster And here is our live concert video of En El Portal de Belen on our You tube Channel... *_ _ *PleaseDONATE to support our 40th year events ! **_ All Donations receive a charitable receipt. About The Stairwell Carollers: * * Pierre Massie started our a cappella choir in 1977 while a music student at Ottawa University. The Stairwell Carollers are ranked with the best of Ontario choirs, winning both the 2010 and 2013 Ontario Music Festival Association competitions. A registered Canadian charity, we also help local charities with our concert,CD and cookbook sales.
07:42
December 18, 2017
Choral Cacophony Podcast #17 Singing like the Angels
As Pierre always says, vocal strength, power, quality and control is in the diaphragm, not the throat, lungs, vocal chords or some mysterious chest muscles. In this simple exercise, Pierre leads the choir to focus on diaphragm control to release notes gently yet powerfully. To sing like angels A concert not to be missed! Come hear the Stairwell Carollers sing “A Canadian Christmas” at Knox Presbyterian Church, 120 Lisgar Street, 7:30pm on December 15th. The Stairwell Carollers will present a special 40th anniversary donation of $3,000 to the Shepherds of Good Hope on the 15th - a result of their first ever “Sponsor a Song” fundraising campaign. *Tickets are $20 at the door, * $15 in advance at * *http://www.stairwellcarollers.com/Concerts.html; The Leading Note, 370 Elgin St; *Compact Music, 206 & 785 ½ Bank St locations; * Books on Beechwood, 35 Beechwood Ave. Hope to see you at Knox Presbyterian on the 15th! _ *PleaseDONATE to support our 40th year workshops! *_ All Donations receive a charitable receipt. About The Stairwell Carollers: Pierre Massie started our a cappella choir in 1977 while he was a music student at Ottawa University. The Stairwell Carollers are ranked alongside the best of Ontario choirs, winning both the 2010 and 2013 Ontario Music Festival Association competitions. A registered Canadian charity, we also help out local charities with our concert,CD, and cookbook sales.
04:38
December 11, 2017
Choral Cacophony Podcast #16 - En El Portal de Belen
En El Portal de Belen is a lively and fun Puerto Rican Christmas carol that we have enjoyed singing for a couple of years now. We couldn't have done it so well without a lot of help with the pronunciation. In this episode, you can hear Josée (alto) coaching us. More about why she is our resident Spanish expert in a later blog post. I couldn't include this without considering all the trouble the people of Puerto Rico have had in the past weeks with the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria. This year will be quite different and a real challenge for the survivors to keep up their Christmas spirit. Here are a few ways you can help them have a merrier Christmas: The direct link to FEMA - lots of great advice about how to help. United for Puerto Rico National voluntary organizations active in disaster ----------------------------------------------------------- _ *PleaseDONATE to support Stairwell Caroller 40th Anniversary events ! *_ All Donations receive a charitable receipt. About The Stairwell Carollers: * * Pierre Massie started our a cappella choir in 1977 while a music student at Ottawa University. The Stairwell Carollers are ranked with the best of Ontario choirs, winning both the 2010 and 2013 Ontario Music Festival Association competitions. A registered Canadian charity, we also help local charities with our concert,CD and cookbook sales. * *
06:08
December 4, 2017
Choral Cacophony Podcast #15 - Give me a Yawn!
In this episode, Pierre leads us in an open humming exercise. I know, your mouth is closed when you hum so - open?? Wait for it - all will be explained. He asks us to yawn, then close our lips and hum - while keeping the open space in the throat that the yawn creates. Got it? Go! _ *PleaseDONATE to support our 40th year events ! *_ All Donations receive a charitable receipt. About The Stairwell Carollers: * * Pierre Massie began our a cappella choir in 1977 while a music student at Ottawa University. The Stairwell Carollers are ranked with the best of Ontario choirs, winning both the 2010 and 2013 Ontario Music Festival Association competitions. A registered Canadian charity, we also aid local charities with our concert,CD and cookbook sales. * *
07:14
November 27, 2017
Choral Cacophony Podcast #14 The Devil's in the Details
Pierre has written a brand new arrangement of one of the most popular carols on the planet. Carol of the Bells has always been a most requested Christmas carol at our concerts and our director/composer wanted to bring a fresh modern ring to this old Belle. In this episode of our Podcast, Pierre demonstrates the attention to detail all of our song rehearsals require to get that spot on timing and tuning of the chorus. You can use this one next time you meditate... on what to get everyone for Christmas. _ _ _ PleaseDONATE * to support our 40th year events !*_ _ _ _ All Donations receive a charitable receipt._ About The Stairwell Carollers: Pierre Massie started our a cappella choir in 1977 while a music student at Ottawa University. The Stairwell Carollers are ranked with the best of Ontario choirs, winning both the 2010 and 2013 Ontario Music Festival Association competitions. A registered Canadian charity, we also help local charities with our concert,CD and cookbook sales. **
05:27
November 20, 2017
Choral Cacophony Podcast #13 on the 13th!
Back on October 14th, we were fortunate to have an amazing workshop with master teacher, choral director and composer, Mark Sirett. There were so many wonderful exercises he did with us that simply do not translate to written description or even audio clips; the only way to really appreciate the depth of the choral experience is to book a workshop with the man himself . Here, I will attempt to give you a taste of just one moment of the 4 hours he gave to us. This little audio excerpt illustrates two simple seeming exercises using Pierre's arrangement of "We Three Kings of Orient Are". Both exercises could be adapted using any song. The first exercise Marks works on our vowels and sound and mouth position and then he flexes our storytelling chops with the second exercise. Thanks Mark! * _Book Mark to work with your choir HERE._* _ **PleaseDONATE to support our 40th year workshops! All Donations receive a charitable receipt. About The Stairwell Carollers: Pierre Massie started our a cappella choir in 1977 while he was a music student at Ottawa University. The Stairwell Carollers are ranked alongside the best of Ontario choirs, winning both the 2010 and 2013 Ontario Music Festival Association competitions. A registered Canadian charity, we also help out local charities with our concert,CD, and cookbook sales.
06:59
November 13, 2017
Canadian Choral Composers - Podcastlet BONUS! A Babe is Born
To celebrate the Stairwell Carollers’ 40th anniversary, director Pierre Massie has created a special Christmas program, featuring a wide variety of Canadian composers from across Canada and across different time periods, including himself. In this blog post, he shares a few thoughts about three of his own compositions. “To honour our 40th anniversary, and also Canada’s 150th anniversary, I wanted to write a special Christmas carol. It is a bilingual carol called, “A Baby is Born / L'Enfant est né?” “Part of the melody had already been created years back. I have a folder of melodic ideas, which I listened to. I then chose one and built from that, until the arrangement was almost complete. Finally, I wrote season-appropriate lyrics in both official languages making it truly Canadian. “In addition, we will be performing my new arrangement of an audience favourite, “Carol of the Bells.” I wrote this in 2016, but we will be doing the premiere performance this Christmas. “The motivation here was to create new settings of traditional carols for our audiences, the ones they would recognize as tried and true - to give the songs a fresh and different appeal. “Finally, we will be singing “Eya, eya, gaudeamus”, which in 2007 placed first in the Toronto Amadeus Choir Carol Competition. “I started with a melody line and it grew from that point forward. I have a tome of Latin text and hymns that I use for inspiration, as with this carol. It harkens back to my youth when I would attend midnight mass and sing French and Latin Christmas carols.” by David Rain, tenor (From an interview with Pierre Massie, Director and Founder of The Stairwell Carollers ) Podcast excerpts from Stairwell Caroller rehearsals, edited by Holly Massie *PleaseDONATE to support our 40th year events! * All Donations receive a charitable receipt. A registered Canadian charity, we also help local charities with our concerts andCDs ! The Stairwell Carollers: Pierre Massie started our a cappella choir in 1977 while he was a music student at Ottawa University. The Stairwell Carollers are ranked among the best of Ontario choirs, winning both the 2010 and 2013 Ontario Music Festival Association competitions.
02:30
November 11, 2017
Choral Cacophony Podcast #12 - The Julie Andrews Connection
For some reason, we always call this warmup the "Julie Andrews" one. Despite searching, I haven't found an actual connection between her and this exercise. That doesn't mean there isn't one -- in my mind--- Imagining Ms. Andrews doing this warmup seems to encourage me, at least, to help my pronunciation be a bit more British- ey and crisp. Whatever, it has a good result and is a nice variation on a scale warmup. The words: * _I just want to sing today_* * _And sing correctly all the way_* * _Because to sing correctly is the way to sing_* Here, as a bonus, is a great compilation video illustrating Ms. Andrews awesome voice and her amazing range. _ *PleaseDONATE to support our 40th year events ! *_ All Donations receive a charitable receipt. About The Stairwell Carollers: * * Pierre Massie started our a cappella choir in 1977 while a music student at Ottawa University. The Stairwell Carollers are ranked with the best of Ontario choirs, winning both the 2010 and 2013 Ontario Music Festival Association competitions. A registered Canadian charity, we also help local charities with our concert,CD and cookbook sales.
04:34
November 6, 2017
Choral Cacophony Special Podcastlet Treat!
Why would a novice composer choose such a treacherous path? Why create a new arrangement of one of the most popular and beloved German Christmas carols dating back to the 1600s? Here’s why. It began in the 1960s, when I was a boy chorister with the Christ Church Cathedral choir in Vancouver. Each Christmas we would sing the English version of “Es ist ein Ros entsprungen” – “Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming” – and I instantly fell in love with the piece. This classic, timeless arrangement by Michael Praetorius (1571-1621) is perfection personified. He took some of the most beautiful religious poetry ever written (Mary’s birth to Jesus symbolized through the blooming of a floweret on a rose), and he presented it in the simplest of ways, with a melody that repeats itself three times each verse. But with a small twist. In the middle of each verse, there is a line where the altos sing a little 3-note rising figure that takes them (for a magical moment) above the sopranos! It is without doubt one of the most brilliant strokes of genius in all of music, and a passage that every year brings smiles to the faces of altos around the world at Christmas time. I’ve had a longing to sing this piece for many moons now. And so, when Pierre Massie, the director of our Stairwell Carollers, announced that our 40th anniversary Christmas season was going to be an all Canadian program, I knew what I had to do. If I was going to sing “Es ist ein Ros entsprungen” come Xmas 2017, I’d have to compose my own arrangement! Read more HERE David Rain (tenor)
03:16
October 31, 2017
Choral Cacophony Podcast #11 - Warmup, Tongue-Twister Time!
This week's warm-up seems a lot like whitewater rafting - an out of control ride, moving forward. In reality, rafting is about letting go and having control (so you don't lose it, tip or fall in.) So, to our warm up. I've included the start of the first song, Patapan - a popular french carol about the little drummer boy, to show how the warmup is related to the performance of the song. This is a new arrangement by Pierre, performed for the first time last Christmas season. Watch for it on our YouTube channel! If you are a choir director and would like Pierre to publish this arrangement so you can do it with your own choir, please tell us in an email at info (at) stairwellcarollers.com _ *PleaseDONATE to support our 40th year events ! *_ All Donations receive a charitable receipt. About The Stairwell Carollers: * * Pierre Massie started our a cappella choir in 1977 while a music student at Ottawa University. The Stairwell Carollers are ranked with the best of Ontario choirs, winning both the 2010 and 2013 Ontario Music Festival Association competitions. A registered Canadian charity, we also help local charities with our concert,CD and cookbook sales. * *
05:07
October 30, 2017
Choral Cacophony Podcast #10 - Do you Hear What I Hear? I think you do...
For everyone who is enjoying our podcasts, please be patient as our provider goes through some housecleaning. This may mean some delays in downloads but I am sure it will settle out soon. I have for you an early Christmas treat ! We all love the Xmas favourite "Do you Hear What I Hear?" so our director Pierre decided to do an arrangement for the choir. I thinks it's fantastic and really conveys the feeling and sweetness of the original song. What do you think? PS Last year's concert Premiere of this song is almost ready for Youtube -- watch for it1 Also, if you are a choir director and want Pierre to publish this arrangement so you can do it with your choir, please tell us in an email at info (at) stairwellcarollers.com _ *PleaseDONATE to support our 40th year events ! *_ All Donations receive a charitable receipt. About The Stairwell Carollers: * * Pierre Massie started our a cappella choir in 1977 while a music student at Ottawa University. The Stairwell Carollers are ranked with the best of Ontario choirs, winning both the 2010 and 2013 Ontario Music Festival Association competitions. A registered Canadian charity, we also help local charities with our concert,CD and cookbook sales. * *
05:58
October 23, 2017
Choral Cacophony #9 - It's all Latin to me...
Working on our most popular piece of Sacred music, Missa Brevis, by Antonio Lotti, Pierre gets into the Nitty Gritty of a Latin Ditty. Choral Cacophony podcast #9 focuses on a few vocal peccadilloes from sections of this lovely Mass. If you've ever wondered about Latin pronunciation for singing - yes, it is different! More on those differences in a later Podcast :) *PleaseDONATE to support our 40th year events! * All Donations receive a charitable receipt. A registered Canadian charity, we also help local charities with our concerts andCDs ! * * The Stairwell Carollers: * * Pierre Massie started our a cappella choir in 1977 while he was a music student at Ottawa University. The Stairwell Carollers are ranked among the best of Ontario choirs, winning both the 2010 and 2013 Ontario Music Festival Association competitions. * * Visit ourwebsite
06:44
October 16, 2017
Choral Cacophony Podcast #8 - Minor... is there anything finer?
Harmonic Minor Scales are tricky to say the least. They sound spooky too -- just in time for Hallowe'en. Oooooooooo Ahhhhhhh I could go on, but now I'm just being silly. This short and sweet warmup will test your ear -- don't be scared to do it over and over until you've got it right! Guaranteed to improve your feel for Minor scales and give you confidence in recognizing intervals :) About The Stairwell Carollers: Pierre Massie started our a cappella choir in 1977 while he was a music student at Ottawa U. The Stairwell Carollers are ranked with the best of Ontario choirs, winning both the 2010 and 2013 Ontario Music Festival Association competitions. A registered Canadian charity, we help local charities with our concert,CD and cookbook sales. * * *PleaseDONATE to for our 40th year events! * All Donations receive a charitable receipt.
03:50
October 9, 2017
Choral Cacophony Podcast #7 - O Claire De la Lune Cacophony!
When Pierre presented us with a warmup that he invented (I think) using an old favourite French children's song, O Claire De la Lune, we thought he had lost it. Maybe he was yearning for his childhood. simpler times. But I digress... He made us sing it in a round. All four parts, soprano, alto, tenor and bass on the same note. Cacophony! it's an terrific ear-training exercise. The challenge of staying in tune with your section ( I'm an alto) and staying in key is right up our stairwell, a cappella-wise. Here are the words so you can sing along with the podcast. Au clair de la lune Mon ami Pierrot Prête-moi ta plume Pour écrire un mot Ma chandelle est morte, Je n'ai plus de feu. Ouvre-moi ta porte Pour l'amour de Dieu. Find your part, find your note and train that ear! * _About The Stairwell Carollers:_* * _Pierre Massie started our a cappella choir in 1977 while he was a music student at Ottawa U. The Stairwell Carollers are ranked with the best of Ontario choirs, winning both the 2010 and 2013 Ontario Music Festival Association competitions._* * _A registered Canadian charity, we help local charities with our concert, _ _CD and cookbook sales_ _._* * _Please _ _DONATE_ _ to for our 40th year events!_* * _All Donations receive a charitable receipt._*
05:03
October 2, 2017
Choral Cacophony Podcast #6 - Fair Sailing in French
Some of the trickiest navigation for a singer can be pronunciation. You can feel like you are thrown about like a canoe in a storm, especially if you are working in another language. To avoid drowning, you need skill - and to be in control. As a bilingual choir, we regularly sing songs in both French and English - as well as in many other languages. To ensure we have the correct pronunciation, we always try to get help from experts -- people who study or first language is the one we are working in. Many years ago, we learned that there are two ways to pronounce Latin - one for speaking and one for singing! We have been so fortunate to have choir members from many cultures, who speak German, Finnish, Spanish, French - and even proper English! We also reached out to experts to sing the Huron Carol properly in the original Wyandot language. Here is a little sample of Pierre working on pronunciation of a small part of the popular French Christmas Carol, Tous Le Ciel Reluit (All the Heavens Glow). _ *PleaseDONATE to support our 40th year events ! *_ All Donations receive a charitable receipt. About The Stairwell Carollers: * * Pierre Massie started our a cappella choir in 1977 while a music student at Ottawa University. The Stairwell Carollers are ranked with the best of Ontario choirs, winning both the 2010 and 2013 Ontario Music Festival Association competitions. A registered Canadian charity, we also help local charities with our concert,CD and cookbook sales. * *
04:55
September 25, 2017
Choral Cacophony Podcast #5 - Movable Do - DOH!
Link to short video of Movable Do Hand Signs _ ** _ *PleaseDONATE to support our 40th year events ! *_ All Donations receive a charitable receipt. About The Stairwell Carollers: * * Pierre Massie started our a cappella choir in 1977 while a music student at Ottawa University. The Stairwell Carollers are ranked with the best of Ontario choirs, winning both the 2010 and 2013 Ontario Music Festival Association competitions. A registered Canadian charity, we also help local charities with our concert,CD and cookbook sales. * *
03:29
September 18, 2017
Choral Cacophony Podcast #4 - Octaves and scales and warmups. Oh My!
Pete "sings" in the kitchen too! Making pesto from our garden. Our director puts us through a warmup of scales. Tackled - Legato/ staccato, and octave jumps using Movable Do .
03:17
September 11, 2017
Choral Cacophony Podcast #3 - Warm up those Vowels!
Our director, Pierre, leads the choir in a warmup to practice proper mouth positioning for vowels. French vowels are included. This episode can be used to improve your own mouth positioning for singing vowels and as a good general vocal warmup.
04:22
September 4, 2017
Choral Cacophony Podcast #2 - Fine tuning the Chorus
"A Little Pretty Bonny Lass" is a sprightly Renaissance madrigal with tricky timing. Podcast recorded at the dress rehearsal for a spring concert at St. Barnabas. Pierre's attention to detail -- rehearse, rehearse, rehearse!
03:39
August 30, 2017
Choral Cacophony Podcast #1 - Tricky Vocal Hurdles
Rather than Twitter tweets, Renaissance madrigal bird tweets make up most of the lyrics in the song Le chant des oyseaux. Our director, Pierre, gives us direction in a particularly tricky section of the song and you'll get a taste of the intricacies of working this Renaissance madrigal by Clément Janequin (c.1485-c.1560).
06:00
August 29, 2017
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