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Choral Cacophony Podcast

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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...


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...


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...


CCPodcast S. 2 #4a - A Heavenly Pair

Here is the conclusion of a Two Part Choral Cacophony Podcast for lovers 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...


Choral Cacophony Podcast Season 2 #4 - Fine Knacks indeed!

If you love Renaissance madrigals, we have a Three 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...


Choral Cacophony Podcast Season 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) ** Please DONATE to support our 40th year events ! All Donations receive a...


Choral Cacophony Podcast Season 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...


Choral Cacophony Podcast Season 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...


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...


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...


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...


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...


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...


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 :) Please DONATE to support our 40th year events! All Donations receive a charitable receipt. A registered Canadian charity, we...


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...


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...


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...


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 .


Vocal Warmup 1 — 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.


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!


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