Blog Archives

Blueberries. And the story of a singer,

Good Morning.

Blueberries, gotta have em. They’re tasty, very blue, and come in variable round shapes. Put em’ in your lunch bag, your morning pancakes, a smoothie, and your lover’s freezer. Sign up today!

Our March 9th rehearsal will take place at Delta United Church, 47 Ottawa Street South, in the Memory Room.

The final concert and dress rehearsal dates are still in question as we have not yet heard from enough of you. Get off your duff and let us know your availability so we can book a venue ASAP. I’ve pasted the core questions below:

Please reply to this email and say, yes or no.  Please note, we are asking you to say if you are available, and not asking for your preference of date.  This means if you can come both dates, please say “Yes” – even if you’d like one date better than the other.

Concert Dates – on Sundays:

April 28th       Yes     No

May 5th          Yes    No

Dress Rehearsals – Saturdays:

April 27th morning  9:45 -12 noon       Yes    No

April 27th afternoon   1:15 – 3:30         Yes    No

May 4th  morning  9:45 -12 noon       Yes    No 

May 4th  afternoon   1:15 – 3:30         Yes    No 

And an important detail regarding your pent up desire to donate – our long-suffering Treasurer Tom can no longer endure the utter incompetence of Paypal and has banished their link from the Hamilton Sings web site. Happily, you can easily offer up an e-transfer instead, with no password required. While you’re there, you can also check out the Choir Finances page to get the dope on the dough required to run this enterprise.

A couple of years back, HS membership was lucky enough to attend a special weekend workshop. One of the tunes we learned, “In The Rain” has been uploaded onto the Active Members page. Check out the fun here http://hamiltonsings.ca/active-members-page/

My restaurant employs a prep cook who belts out Gilbert and Sullivan tunes while chopping vegetables at dizzying speed with a razor sharp chef’s knife. He’s Sri Lankan and an utter orphan, as his entire extended family was wiped out in the 2004 Asian tsunami. Yet he sings while he works. Awesome.

See ya tomorrow kids.

Brenda Atkinson

Hamilton Sings Volunteer




Synergy

Synergy. Defined as an interaction of two or more parts to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their parts. Do you realize that every Saturday morning we come together and substantiate the phenomenon of synergy? Singing in the shower was once satisfying enough, but once you get a taste of the good stuff at Hamilton Sings, there’s no going back. Sort of like craft beer vs Bud Light.

Have you checked out the active members page at hamiltonsings.ca yet? You will now find voice files for “In Een Blauwgeruite Kiel” Give it a listen so you can wow your fellow choristers with your Dutch language savvy. Many thanks to Jeff Seffinga for giving the choir an opportunity to delve into the Netherlands. We are a world choir after all . . .

I understand I may be trying your patience about mentioning money again however I have to. The economics of our continued survival are simple enough: if everyone gets approximately $175 to us, we can continue to afford the venue rental, music printing costs, professional choir direction, and other expenses involved in operating a community choir. Trust me when I say that your contribution will not go towards a Malibu condo – it will go directly where it’s needed for the continued existence of Hamilton Sings – your choir, your community, your special place.

One of our fundraising initiatives for a few years has been a “Blueberries for Singing” drive. We’re pleased to announce that $20 pre-ordered 2 kilo bags of frozen prime Nova Scotian Oxford Co. blueberries will be delivered to HARRP on March 2nd. Place your order at the front desk and demand your neighbours, co-workers, friends, and foes buy a bag too. These berries are of exceptional quality and are considered a “superfood” for their antioxidant content. And most importantly, they taste good too. Whoever sells the most bags will win a free haircut, courtesy of fellow chorister Andrea Kurzfield, proprietor of Manestream Traveling Hair Studio. Second prize is 2 free tickets to the cultural event of the season – Hamilton Sings Sunday May 5th 2pm end of term concert.

And as the March 2nd General Meeting approaches, please consider putting your name forward for a board position. The 2 year commitment is not daunting as board members meet only once a month and exchange a few emails. Not only does the position look nice on a resume – you’ll be making a valuable contribution to this special community.

Looking forward to getting together with you all in song tomorrow.

Cheers

Brenda Atkinson

Hamilton Sings Volunteer




Coins may jingle, but bills stack better

Hello Gang

The first voice file of the term is now available on the active members page at hamiltonsings.ca

She The Sea, sung in angelic 2 part harmony. Give it a listen, several times if you can, so you can internalize the tune and hopefully memorize the lyrics. Password is sings!17-20

Though not much of a fashion statement, donning a name tag can really help lubricate the social machinery. Can’t remember the name of that soprano vixen you desperately want to know better? Distracted by thoughts of “What’s that dude’s name again?” Relief can be found by asking for your tag at the front desk. Feel free to employ fun fonts and decorative emojis.

Money makes the world go round, the world go round. Diamonds are a girl’s best friend. Buddy, can you spare a dime? Coins may jingle, but bills stack better.

Well, you get my drift by now – please continue to drop your much-needed contributions in the front desk hat. Suggested amount is $175 per person or sliding scale. Additionally, you can play the odds with our weekly 50/50 draw and/or put your creative energy into fundraising efforts. Together, we’ll slay the wolf at the door and prosper like royalty.

Dates to remember (so far):

Saturday March 2nd – rehearsal as usual with a Board Meeting added. Become a board member and appreciate what it takes to run this entity made up of you, you, and you.

Sunday May 5th at 2pm – our end of term concert and fundraiser. Invite your entire social circle so we pack the house! A number of tasks need to be completed and prospective volunteers are invited to step forward sooner rather than later.

Last Saturday Sue introduced us to a rote tune. If you’re a simpleton like me, and find it easy to forget lyrics, mainly because you never really learned them in the first place, I thought I would not be the only one to benefit from looking them over again:

HEAR THE RAINDROPS FALL. LIKE A VOICE THEY CALL. URGING ME TO GO. FROM THIS LAND I KNOW. TO A PLACE THAT’S FAR. LIKE SOME DISTANT STAR. SHALL I GO AND FOLLOW? SHALL I LEAVE TOMORROW?

Finally, a few words from HS board member Eric Matto:

Hamilton Sings Community Choir is having our annual general meeting on Saturday, March 2. During this meeting we will be having elections for new Board members, and we are looking for volunteers to serve. It is a 2-year term, and typically the Board meets once per month for about 2 hours or so. Board members help in setting the choir budget, planning choir activities and setting the future direction of the choir. You can ask me or any other Board member for more information about what is involved. You can let us know ahead of time if you are interested in putting your name forward, or you can decide right at the AGM.

Thanks,

Eric Matto (tenor), Board member

See you all tomorrow

Brenda Atkinson

Hamilton Sings Volunteer




A Quick One

Hi Folks

Just a quick note to remind everyone that we meet again in song tomorrow at 9:45. Looks like old man winter won’t get in the way this time. However, do remember to:

  • Bring dry footware
  • Dress in layers as it can get chilly
  • No strong perfumes please
  • Bring a refillable, non-spill water bottle for your tender chords
  • Have you invested in a sheet music folder yet?
  • Check out the hamiltonsings.ca active members page for handy voice files
  • Drop your troubles at the door and revel in the joy found with song and your fellow humans

See ya tomorrow.

Brenda Atkinson
Hamilton Sing Volunteer




Welcome to Hamilton Sings

Dear Fellow Songsters

Welcome to Hamilton Sings, our fair city’s ultimate non-audition community choir. Though our repertoire is global, our focus is definitely local because you guys are the lifeblood of this endeavor. Both new and returning choristers are encouraged to have fun! fun! fun! while spending a few precious hours Saturday mornings immersed in song and each other. Listen up while I explain how things work around here:

Rehearsal Decorum. Please be on time. If you arrive by 9:45, you’ll have a chance to chat with your new friends before we get underway at 10 sharp. We generally take a 10 minute break at 11:00. Make sure your shoes are dry, and bring a refillable, non-spill container of water so your tender vocal chords remain wet.

Sheet Music. Returning members will already have a package distributed in September – if you’re taking this term off, please get the music back to us so we can avoid excessive printing costs and save a few trees. New members will receive a package and are advised to invest in a noise-muffling folder, preferably black. The dollar store sells them for $1.99.

Musical Direction. Our choir leaders are Sue Connolly (proprietor of Claim Your Voice Studios) and Hanna Mathieson (voice teacher, performer). Both these ladies bring considerable expertise to our choir and we’re lucky to have them. If you’re unsure about your “voice” or section of the choir your suited for, feel free to ask Hanna for an assessment. Additionally, keep your eyes glued to them while they direct the choir so we sound unified rather than like a flock of crows.

Volunteers. As we are a community, our mutual success depends on the energy you yourself lend to this activity. Volunteers are needed to perform a number of tasks such as front desk, library, administration, fund-raising, advertising, concert organization, etc. The commitment is not onerous and there is always a gaggle of people to lend a hand to someone that stands up. It’s really quite amazing the synergy that occurs when a bunch of people lend a hand together. Stand up, step up, get up – you’ll be better for it!

Money. Makes the world go round apparently though speaking as a cheapskate, I think it’s over-rated. Let’s just call it a necessary evil. The choir depends utterly on your largesse and deeply appreciates your material assistance. Bean-counters far brighter than I am have determined that if all choristers were to contribute $175 for the term, we’d be in a fairly sound financial position with the assistance of some fundraising activities. The math works out to just over $10/Saturday morning this term. That’s a pretty fine deal! Feel free to drop your contribution in the hat at the front desk anytime. Remember that we understand money can be tight – so do what you can. And if you’re a wealthy patron – bring it on!

It’s common knowledge that meditation reduces blood pressure however did you know that singing in a group does the same thing? Looking forward to doing my favourite Zen activity with you guys tomorrow.

Cheers

Brenda Atkinson

Hamilton Sings Volunteer




Here Comes the Big Day

Hi Gang

Just a quick few reminders regarding tomorrow, the big day. . .

Concert Playlist Order. Please have your music in concert order and encased in a noise reducing folder, preferably black. Remember to keep your eyes glued on Hanna/Sue. And the song order is:

  1. Nana
  2. Solen er sa rod, mor.
  3. Me Too
  4. Solstice Carol
  5. Hymn 23 – Ar Hyd Y Nos
  6. Brilliant Stars
  7. Watching The Apples Grow
  8. Kwaheri

Time Lines
We meet for rehearsal as usual tomorrow at 10:00 am. After rehearsal we’ll get the joint decorated with all the lovely stuff you’ve brought. For those last minutes types ( I count myself among you), we’re looking for white light strings and preferably red/white cozy throws for chair festooning. If at all possible, bring your baked goods with you to allow for pricing and placement ahead of time. We return at 6pm sharp for a pre-concert warm up. Doors open at 6:30 pm and concert commences at 7pm.

Concert volunteers would be wise to gather at 5:30 to allow time for any last minute issues like late incoming baked goods (you can count me in on that too, I’ll be chained to my stove in the afternoon) and decor tweaks. Additionally, we need about 6 containers that can serve as cash boxes.

I’m fully expecting you’ll put as much heart and soul into your baking as you do your singing. Whenever I bake, I recall the warm of my grandmother’s kitchen. She was a WW1 nursing sister and a perfect stand in for a classic grandmother – hugging her was like getting wrapped up in an eiderdown comforter. She also baked relentlessly and shared her goodies with all who were lucky enough to be invited into her house. And she managed this with a wood-burning stove.

So tomorrow kids, we’re gonna go grandmother, we’re gonna go cozy, we’re gonna go Hyggeligt!

Cheers

Brenda Atkinson

Hamilton Sings Volunteer




Our Concert Looms Large

Salutations Singers All

As our concert looms large, please consider the following details to ensure our collective success:

Music Folders. Get one, preferably black. Not only will you be able to keep your music neat and in concert order, you’ll avoid annoying our audience with the unattractive sound of 70 odd pieces of paper flapping in the breeze. The Dollar Store stocks a simple black folder with vinyl inserts for a buck ninety-nine.

Attire. Wear whatever makes you feel like the romantic magnet you are. Be especially careful about comfortable shoes because you’ll be on your feet for awhile.

Time lines. On December 1st we meet for our usual rehearsal at 10am. We will warm up at 6pm that same evening. Doors open at 6:30 to your adoring public. Concert starts at 7pm.

Baked goods. Bring ‘em. Jennifer will take care of pricing but do include an ingredients list if possible.

Remember to bring your contributions towards decorations tomorrow. The color theme is red/white and we’re looking for lights and throw rugs. Cozy, fuzzy wuzzy, comfy, snuggle up with your favourite person sort of things. Make sure to label your contribution so it makes its way back to you.

Solen tracks are now available on the Active Members Page for eleventh hour home practice.

If cheque writing isn’t your thing, we now have the capability to accept e-transfers directly without the hindrance of a password. Tom Ciancone, Treasurer, will gratefully accept your generous donations at treasurer.hamiltonsings@gmail.com

Hopefully you’ve already plastered our lovely posters throughout your neighbourhood, and the only challenges we’ll face are a capacity crowd and sold out baked goods.

See ya tomorrow.

Brenda Atkinson
Hamilton Sings Volunteer




A Few Things to Consider

Good morning fellow singers

So, the big day draws near. Just 3 rehearsals left until we take to the stage. Thus, we have a few things to consider:

Concert Volunteers. Feel free to nominate a spouse, sibling, child, grandparent, neighbour, even your parole officer if need be, and have them contact our fearless concert manager Jenny at jennifermcconnell42@gmail.com. I would guess that any volunteer would probably have to be at HARRPP no later than 5:30 on December 1st for an orientation before our warm up at 6pm. Doors open to the public at 6:30 with concert start at 7pm. Concert duration until 7:40ish? with time afterwards to continue selling bake goods.

Competency. Though our premiere focus at Hamilton Sings is FUN!, it’s not fun to flounder needlessly in front of your near and dear. Resist the temptation to look down at your music books – rather, your eyes should be glued to Hanna or Sue. I liken choir direction to flying a plane. We’re a big hulking group of voices and in order to avoid a crash, we gotta trust the pilots. And, though I risk sounding like a broken record, get to the active members page and check out those audio files. Password is sings!17-20

Baked Goods. Though I’m certain everything is going to be delicious, consider that you do eat with your eyes. A little ribbon, some sparkle, a consideration of display – all can go further to making the sale that supports your community choir. Additionally, in these days of food intolerances, avoidances, and allergies, an ingredients list will butter the wheels of commerce while garnishing our finances. (If you groaned at that previous metaphor – too bad, I couldn’t resist). Oh, and remind your invited guests that cash rules.

Big warm hugs going out to all of you who helped get our music archives in order last week – it’s gratifying to know I’m not the only person who appreciates the virtues of a label maker.

Best to all

Brenda Atkinson
Hamilton Sings Volunteer




Pliant Deliciousness

Dear Fellow Troupers

Just a handful of weeks until our end of term concert. Are you pumped yet? Music direction seems to think we’re sounding pretty good . . . . . But I wonder how many of us can actually pronounce “Hyggeligt”? I admit to being impressively dense when it comes to challenges of this nature. Maybe we can say it together a few times this Saturday, just so we don’t sound like slack-jawed yokels when promoting the concert to our hordes of friends that are going to pack the place on December 1st. You’re working with me on this – right?

Your friendly hordes can buy a concert ticket online at https://www.bruha.com/event/4071  or at the HARPPP door that evening. We will meet for a final run-through of our concert program at our routine rehearsal time of 10 am, with time to spare for decorating the venue before our normal dispersal time of noon. Then we return at 6pm for a pre-concert warm up. Doors open to the public at 6:30 pm, with music underway at 7:00 pm

Jenny, our indomitable concert General Manager, is smoothing the way towards our collective success. Check out her baked goods sign up sheet this Saturday, that’s designed to avert goodies duplication. I mean, chocolate chip cookies are darn fine – but you gotta round out the cookie crunch with, say, the pliant deliciousness of a buttercream cupcake, or the fruity opulence of a deep-dish berry pie, or the affluent icings in an Italian-style torte, or the rum-soaked bliss of a Christmas cake . . . . And then there are the gluten-free bakers – Can they rise to the challenge of satisfying the tactile joy required by milles feuille pastry eaters? Sure hope so. Oh, I could go on and on about this all day. And I’m starting to feel I need a snack.

I exhort you all to “bake it like you sing it”.

Contact Jenny directly at jennifermcconnell42@gmail.com if you (or the volunteers you’ve sourced) have any questions regarding our collective concert needs. Additionally, if you have any decorating ideas – please share them.

We need volunteers to go on and on about organizing sheaves of sheet music this Saturday November 10th after rehearsal. No prior experience required – but a love of order eases the pain of an occasional paper cut. Somebody is threatening to bring some cookies to share. Pretty sure that was me. Righto

Until the morrow then.

Brenda Atkinson
Hamilton Sings Volunteer




Concert Listing V.1.0

Good evening estimable singers all:

Sorry about the late-breaking update but I seem to have come down with a serious case of writer’s block that has now finally abated. I come now to you with my usual verbose attitude, so pay attention – we got some detail to go over . . . .

Our fearless concert general manager Jenny sent us all an email earlier this week detailing needs for the upcoming December 1st concert at 7pm. . . . So I’ll repeat those needs now, as we all know repetition leads to learning:

BAKED GOODS. Make them, Label and wrap. Ingredients list please. Allergy alert if nuts included.

CONCERT VOLUNTEERS. We need ‘em. Ticket-sellers, baked-goods sellers, ushers. Conscript your spouse, neighbour, adolescent in need of volunteer hours. . . . all welcome.

Feel free to contact Jenny directly if you have any questions jennifermcconnell42@gmail.com

SATURDAY NOVEMBER 10th, after practice, please lend a hand if you can in the admirable pursuit of order. Our sheet music archives are in disarray and there may be a cookie in it for you. Anyone wishing to preview their baked goods to a discerning group of paper arrangers . . . . ? See ya there.

MONEY. Make the temperature rise as depicted on the Active Member’s page at hamiltonsings.ca Cash, cheque, pay pal – they all work to making your choir financially healthy. You can sing along with the voice files while you’re there too.

The following is our probable concert list (not yet in concert order) with details courtesy of Sue:

  • Nana – Megrelian lullaby – Nana is an ancient term which is also used to denote “mother”. Lullabies are used not only for helping babies to sleep, but to keeping away evil spirits.
    Additionally, Hanna has something to say about this song “The bake sale will take part of most of the delicious parts, but the chords in Nana are really something scrumptious to sink your teeth into. 🙂 “
  • Solstice Carol – The Wyrd Sisters, arr. B. Whitla
  • Brilliant Stars – Bob Edmonds
  • Ar hyd y nos – Welsh Traditional – we’re singing the lullaby version

(Sue is into the cozy part of hyggelit, with at least two lullabies!)

Continuing concert list with added detail courtesy of Hanna:

  • Kwaheri A traditional Kenyan and Tanzanian farewell song.
  • Solen er så rød, mor A Danish lullaby where a girl or boy talks with their mother and asks a lot of questions as children usually do. The idea is that when evening falls, it is associated with things that a child (or an adult) can be afraid of: darkness, death, evening sounds. In contrast to the “scary things” we have the mother singing to the child and the bright stars, where – in the boy’s imagination – other boys like him are living. (That is: the light and the life in the sky in contrast to the darkness and death in the night.) This is considered a classic among Danish lullabies, written in 1920 by the Danish novelist, playwright and poet, Harald Bergstedt (1877-1965), with music composed by the world-renowned classical composer, Carl Nielsen (1865-1931). We are singing a combined version of Carl Nielsen and Phillip Faber
  • Watching the Apples Grow written by Stan Rogers
  • Me Too by Carol Greene, about the #metoo movement
  • Si mon Moine (maybe, maybe not) Quebequois song

As always, may your feet be dry, your virus at home with you, your perfume still in its bottle, and your chords ready to emit those subtle vibrations.

Cheers

Brenda Atkinson

Hamilton Sings Volunteer




Choir Updates

Now on the Site for Choir Members

Click to listen
  • I Love the Rain: Video from workshop with Brendan Taafe Oct 15-16, 2016
  • In een blauwgeruite kiel: history, pronunciation, spoken, sung, and sung in another key
  • She the Sea: melody and harmony sung together

  • Solen: Pronunciation, spoken, and all parts sung
  • Me Too: Soprano & bass, alto & bass, tenor & bass. Link to Carol’s Sound Cloud version
  • Ar Hyd y Nos (All Through the Night): pronunciation, spoken, and sung
  • Brilliant Stars: Melody, chorus and bridge – all parts. Melody and lyrics.
  • Nana: soprano, tenor, bass
  • Solstice Carol: Melody – Verse One; Tenor – Verse Two; Soprano – Verse Three
  • Hanna’s Fall Playlist: Link to YouTube