Blog Archives

Ahoy Mateys!

Ahoy Mateys!

Ha! And you thought you’d heard the last from me for a while. No rest for a windbag.

This Saturday May 4th, from 10:30 till noon, we meet at HARRRP to socialize, pat each other on the back for a successful term, return our sheet music, and hear about planned summer & autumn activities. Come by when you can, bring a snack to share, and help our hard-working choir librarian Sue conquer the paper chaos. Timely return of your sheet music saves us stacks of legal tender in future terms, and prevents regrettable incidents like arousing the interest of a copyright lawyer. Scarier than the meanest pirate. Yar!

See you Saturday,

Brenda Atkinson

Hamilton Sings Volunteer

Dear Choristers

Dear Choristers:

Our end of season concert is just about upon us – good golly, time flies! And you guys are about to fly to lofty new heights, powered by the music, your months of preparation, and the lift of our community spirit. In order to assist our mutually assured success, the following are some important details to consider:

Saturday April 27th – we meet at our usual time of 10:00am, at our ancestral HARRRP home for our dress rehearsal. Those interested in assisting the sing-along tunes should arrive by 9:30 am. Not only will we put in time polishing up our performance pieces, we will construct our raffle baskets – so please remember to bring in your basket contribution(s). Also, perhaps it’s a good idea to consider planning your next day’s food donation to our concert hospitality table. Simple, non-messy, hand-held items work best.

Our concert set list has been finalized. Please arrange your sheet music in the following order to help minimize paper shuffling noise:

  1. The Earth, Air, Fire, Water
  2. Hear the Raindrops Fall
  3. The Water is Wide
  4. Merge with the River
  5. The Ghost of Oak Island
  6. Homeward Now
  7. She the Sea
  8. A la Claire Fontaine
  9. In Een Blauwgeruite Kiel
  10. Stone and Sand

Sunday April 28th – our big day! The concert venue is Christ’s Church Cathedral, 252 James Street North. Concert commences at 3pm, doors open at 2pm. But you guys must be there, in comfortable shoes and preferred garb, for a warm up/sound check at 1:15. Remind your hordes of invited guests that cash is the sole method of payment for our event – have everyone schedule an ATM stop. As well, let them know that there is plenty of parking available on the east side of the cathedral – street parking on James North can be a little elusive (annoying). The road map for the concert is basically: performance starts at 3pm, intermission at 3:40pm ish to allow for hospitality table grazing and raffle ticket purchases, with raffle winner announcements at 4:10pm ish and a sing-a-long, which should take us to around 4:45pm ish? The time lines are a little soft however an end time of no later than 5pm is likely.

As Hanna and Sue reminded us this past Tuesday evening – do remember to have some fun. We know the songs, we know each other, we know to keep our eyes trained on musical direction – we’ve got this!


Brenda Atkinson

Hamilton Sings Volunteer

Hey Everyone

Hey Everyone

In case you missed it – don’t show at HARRRP tomorrow Saturday April 20th as rehearsal is cancelled. It’s too difficult to get all of us together, as many of you are busy with relatives, travel, dinner plans, and/or goofing off on a long weekend. Speaking for myself as a lapsed Catholic, my Easter childhood memories involve an itchy new frock, an overly long church service, and an Easter bonnet seemingly styled to ensure my schoolyard demise. But happily, I’ve clung to the time-worn feast themes of a good home-cooked meal, a noisy gathering of guests, and, well, the chocolate availability is pretty darn good this time of year. Yum.

A make-up practice has been scheduled for this coming Tuesday evening, April 23rd, 6:45 to 8:45, at Delta United Church, 47 Ottawa Street South, upstairs in the Sanctuary. Please, oh please, try to make it – we’re sounding sooooo good, and it would be great to keep our momentum going.

The Saturday April 27th rehearsal at HARRRP is our “dress rehearsal” – the last one before our Sunday April 28th 3pm final concert at Christ’s Church Cathedral. Also, the dress rehearsal is the date chosen for the soprano and alto sections to finalize their raffle baskets – not sure what the tenor/bass sections are up to but I’m keen to see everyone’s final efforts. It’s really quite amazing what wonders collective intelligence can bring about – you guys are awesome.

Oh, and on concert day, wear whatever makes you feel fabulous – anything goes, but do try to get your sheet music into a black noise-muffling folder. As we’ll be standing for our concert’s duration,  comfortable shoes are highly recommended – you want to be shifting with the musical beat, not your arch pain.

Bob Edmonds, our faithful Hamilton Sings webmaster, has uploaded numerous additional voice files (courtesy of Hanna and Sue) to the Active Members Page at You can now sing along with; Hear The Raindrops Fall, The Earth The Air The Fire, Ghost of Oak Island, The Water is Wide, She The Sea, and Stone and Sand. Additionally, you can print off those beautiful blue concert posters to paper your neighbourhood, as well as a binder copy to adorn your sheet music folder. About a century ago, I was besotted with a boy who had eyes that colour of blue. Oh, will he Sea me? Sigh.

Both Hanna and Sue mention this final detail often, and I’m going to echo it, because it’s very far from trivial: you must, must, must, keep your eyes trained on musical direction at all times. No matter how perfect our pitch, pristine our vowels, or measured our air – we must be unified in our delivery. We can only be unified by keeping our eyes up and focused on Sue/Hanna. If not, we cancel each other out and sound like white noise, rather than the warm, focused choir we’re increasingly successful at being. Believe it or not – you guys are totally up for this! Did I say awesome already?

Enjoy your weekend and see you all Tuesday.


Brenda Atkinson

Hamilton Sings Volunteer

Major Dates

As we stride towards the finish line, confirmation of our upcoming schedule is at hand:

Saturday April 13th. Rehearsal as usual

Saturday April 20th. Rehearsal CANCELLED. Go chase some bunny rabbits.

Tuesday April 23rd. Evening rehearsal 6:45 pm till 8:45 pm, Delta United Church, 47 Ottawa Street South, upstairs in the Sanctuary room. You must attend if you can, we’ll need the extra time to prepare.

Saturday April 27th. Rehearsal as usual. Perhaps this is also the date for finalization of section gifts baskets? I’ve been collecting flea market wicker baskets all year, so I’ll bring them all in this Saturday. Do not buy any horrific dollar store plastic baskets! No! They’ll just end up swirling around for centuries in the Pacific gyre. . . . . .

Sunday April 28th. Final concert at Christ’s Church Cathedral, 252 James Street North. Concert starts at 3pm, I imagine the doors will open to the public by 2:00 at the latest, and we’ll need to gather for a pre-show warm up, so get your butts, the butts of the volunteers you’ve sourced, and your goodies for the hospitality table, in the building no later than 1:15

Practice makes perfect, so perfect your practice by signing on to the Active Members page and groovin’ to the ever increasing number of voice files available there. Repeat after me, “repetition leads to learning”. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. You get my drift.

You already know Hanna as co-director of Hamilton Sings; however did you know that Hanna is an accomplished performer as well? Hanna will be on stage with Lynne Atkinson and Jamie Sae at Laidlaw United Church (corner of Ottawa and Cannon) this Saturday April 13th at 3:30 pm. Pay what you can.

The Sunshine Singers (non-affiliated with Hamilton Sings) is a group of folks who just can’t get enough singing done. We lead a sing-along of popular tunes at BayWoods Extended Care at 6pm on the last Wednesday of the month. We don’t perform as much as we encourage the residents to participate. It’s totally gratifying to see the joy we cause and we’re always open to more members. We meet this Saturday after rehearsal at HARRRP – come join us!

In closing, just a reminder to invite everyone you know, even those you don’t know yet, to our concert on April 28th. Accost strangers on the street, drag your mad aunt out of the attic, heck, even your parole officer is welcome. We must insist on a standing room only situation. What fun!


Brenda Atkinson

Hamilton Sings Volunteer

Singing Spring

Hi Gang

Clues abound that spring has finally shown it’s fresh face; the early buds that gardeners adore, the birdsong, and the neighbours you haven’t seen in months – all signs of winter folding it up for another year. Woo hoo! Similarly, signs exist of the inevitability of our upcoming concert at St. James Cathedral on Sunday April 28th. One of them is our concert set list:

  1. A La Claire Fontaine
  2. Earth Air Fire Water
  3. Merge With The River
  4. The Ghost Of Oak Island
  5. In Een Blauwgeruite
  6. The Water is Wide
  7. Stone and Sand
  8. Homeward Now
  9. Hear the Raindrops Fall
  10. She The Sea

And in the spirit of spring cleaning your house – get your music neat and tidy in concert order in a black, noise reducing folder so we don’t sound like we’re fashioning paper airplanes on stage when we’re shoulder to shoulder.

As spring is a time of renewal – I’ll renew the appeal to you all to put some time into any fundraising effort you can make. We’ve got raffle baskets to fill, advertisers to find for our concert programme, sponsorship ideas to flesh out, and volunteers to source for a multitude of tasks. You can come forward anytime at the front desk or contact the following people directly with your scathingly brilliant ideas:

For the security of getting those coveted concert tickets (remember, we sold out last year!) – click the link below. You can also find this link on the concerts page of


Brenda Atkinson

Hamilton Sings Volunteer

Born for the Concert

Hi there folks. . . .

You gotta check out the lovely poster on our web site for the spring concert “Born in the Ocean”.  After this long winter, I can barely remember water exists that’s warm enough to swim in – isn’t it usually slush soiling one’s thin winter boots?  And that colour of blue – you can actually feel the sun blazing through it. Spring’s coming, I’m sure of it now.

Have you approached your favourite local businesses yet for concert programme advertising? You should because:

A)    you’ve supported them, so now it’s time for them to support you (us).

B)    It’s great value – do you know how expensive conventional print advertising is? Eek!

C)   Everyone will sleep better for fostering an estimable community endeavour.

This update contains additional messages from fellow members so in the interests of brevity, I will resist the temptation to prattle on. However, do try to practice when you can, write a cheque for your favourite choir when you can, and scrutinize the Active Members page when you can for valuable information as our concert date draws near.

The following is a message from Tony Carlson:

Sponsorship initiative

Can you help us find new sponsors?

A subcommittee of the board is developing a sponsorship program, aiming to solicit two types of sponsors: 1) general sponsorship of the choir as a whole and 2) specific concert sponsors. Our approach would be to offer different levels up to a maximum of $3,000 for overall sponsorship and up to $1,500 for a concert. Because each approach requires a good deal of research, we want to target organizations that have some demonstrated interest in community building, especially if it involves support for the performing arts. 

Because it’s not what you know but who you know, we are asking any choir member who works for – or knows of – a company that fits that description and would be open to an approach from us to please let us know who to talk to.

We have identified and are contacting about a dozen potential targets, but any help from any chorister would be much appreciated. Please let Tony Carlson know of any ideas you have at

Bill Nesbitt, bass, also has a message for his fellows:

Hello fellow basses!  I wont be at practice on March 30th, but would like to get the ball rolling on our Ghosts of Oak Island” raffle basket.  If this is agreeable, I am happy to fabricate a reasonable facsimile of a Pirate Treasure Chest as our container.  What sort of booty” do you all envisage to fill it with?  Captain Morgan Rum, chocolate coins?  Your ideas will help me determine how big a chest we need!  Let me know by e-mail, and Ill report in person on April 6.  Yarrr!

In closing, what better way to send you on your way but with the calm soothing sounds of your very own choir. Check out this performance of Hanna’s composition “Butterfly”, conducted by Sue at our 2017 spring concert Take note that you will find yourselves performing in this stellar venue in a mere 4 weeks!


Brenda Atkinson

Hamilton Sings Volunteer

Just Six More

Hi Gang:

So, the countdown begins. Six more rehearsals and then our April 28th end-of-term concert is upon us. Thus, our to-do list is growing. Here’s how you can help:

Contact to put a name forward. She’ll need ticket sellers, raffle basket builders, decorators, hospitality workers, set-up/tear down people – the list goes on. Get your lager lout brother-in-law outta bed and put him to work for your choir.

Any extra time you spend to become more comfortable with the lyrics and your part is time well spent. Get thee a music folder that will muffle the sounds of paper shuffling and discipline yourself to keep your eyes on choir direction rather than downcast on the sheet music. We’ve got to stay together – too soon or too late and we perish! Eyes up and trained on either Sue or Hanna is key.

As our Treasurer Tom pointed out last week – we’ve got a long way to go before reaching our financial goals for this term. Sell concert tickets to your entire social circle, exhort your favourite local business to contribute an item for our raffle baskets, feed the front desk hat as often as you can, and if you have any additional ideas to help the bottom line – let us know.

You’ll be hearing soon about resources that will aid in concert ticket and programme ad sales.

Have fun
That’s vibrate with joy my dears. When burdened with the quotidian details of life – one always has to concentrate on the high points. I’m certain Hamilton Sings is a bright spot for you all. I know I’m not the only person among you that notices feeling better after our rehearsals. Wallow in joy I say.

Looking forward to seeing your shining faces Saturday.


Brenda Atkinson

Hamilton Sings Volunteer

Lotsa Dates

Hey there,

Looks like our calendar is starting to firm up – so listen up:

Saturday March 16th till term end? – in response to an AGM request to extend the term (which is impossible due to budget limitations), Sue is offering instead to extend our routine rehearsals to 12:15 pm.

Sunday April 28 at 3pm – our end of term concert entitled “Born in the Ocean” takes place at Christ’s Church Cathedral, 252 James Street North. Our intrepid concert co-ordinator Jenny McConnell has once again stepped up to take on the daunting tasks involved in making our concert a success. She needs volunteers – contact her at

Tara Bolker has produced a concert program as well as a form to sell ads in this same program. Clever incentive plans are being developed to make you and your brethren more inclined to buy concert tickets and sell ad space. More on this next week.

Saturday May 4th, morning – we’re planning a choir social to sing and celebrate!

Saturday June 1st – Hanna will be looking for a show of hands for a possible performance at the Barton Village Festival. Details to follow . . . . .

Help minimize printing by bringing in that copy of “Henay Ma Tov” you may be hiding in your sock drawer at home. A limited number of copies will be made available at the front desk.

As we meet tomorrow, on the eve of that Guinness marketing event called St. Patrick’s Day, I thought I would send you all this fun link to a group of people who have a hoppy perspective on singing.

See ya.

Brenda Atkinson

Hamilton Sings Volunteer

Go to Delta United Church, 47 Ottawa St. S.

Howdy Folks

If you find yourself at HARRRP this coming Saturday morning, you’ll find yourself standing in the cold, all alone, and whimpering from frost bite. Get thee instead to the warm confines of Delta United Church, 47 Ottawa Street South. Give yourself a little extra time to find the address, find a parking spot, and find your co-singers within.

So, you guys really came through on the blueberry initiative – $1,000 (or so) into the choir piggy bank! Well done. Please check in with Catherine or Sue after rehearsal this Saturday if there were any problems associated with your purchase. Thanks for your savvy participation in last weeks Annual General Meeting – so impressive, even my ignorance of Robert’s Rules of Order didn’t impede a successful meeting. Our newly elected board is ready to get to the tasks required to insure our successful continuance. Congratulations all.

In case you missed this detail last week – our final concert date and time is 3:00pm, Sunday April 28th. This means we have 8 rehearsals before the big day. So, get some lyrics in your head, some pitches in the air, and some rhythm in your bones. Hanna has recently posted detailed voice files for She The Sea – check ‘em out to see why I’m gratified I jumped from the Alto section to Soprano. Alas, poor altos . . . . .

With the countdown to our concert day in mind, it’s time to start thinking about how you as an individual, and you within your voice section, can contribute to our concert fundraising needs. We will be asking each section, that’s 4 sections if you haven’t been paying attention, to come up with a theme for a gift basket and to proceed with filling the darn things up. The fundraising letter on the web site needs to be updated however don’t let that stop you from checking out your attic, twisting a neighbours arm, or approaching your favourite local business for items. Speaking as an individual intimate with small business concerns – standard print advertising is very expensive and it’s efficacy debatable. Approach your favourite local spot and give them the rare chance of contributing to your choir – you might be surprised at their enthusiasm.

As always – yours in song.

Brenda Atkinson

Hamilton Sings Volunteer

Annual General Meeting & Important Dates

Good Day Fellow Singers

Reminder to show your lovely faces tomorrow morning at 9:45, with information package in hand, in order to register for our Annual General Meeting (AGM). Quorum is a minimum of half of you in attendance so don’t be a putz and skip the fun – its your choir, your community, your responsibility. We’ll follow up with rehearsal until 12:30 and collect our treasured blueberries. Bring an insulated bag to carry them home or in a pinch, use what the humblest of hobos knows works – bring a section of your morning newspaper for wrapping.

Next week’s rehearsal on Saturday March 9th will take place at Delta United Church, 47 Ottawa Street South. It’s fairly easy to find, even for no-sense-of-direction people like myself, and parking challenges are not daunting.

Our end of term concert date is now carved in stone. Sunday April 28th at 3pm. This also means we will need to assemble earlier to warm up and I’m presuming our dress rehearsal will be our regular rehearsal time of Saturday April 27th at 10 am. For those of you unfamiliar with the event – the end of term concert is an important fundraiser as well. We need a concert co-ordinator, non-singing volunteers to work the raffle tables/entrance, setup, tear down, decorations, and most importantly, your entire extended social network clamouring to bring the venue to capacity. So mark everybody’s calendar folks!

Now that we can count the number of rehearsals left before our big day – can you count how many times you’ve listened to those handy voice files on the active members page of Though we are a non-professional choir, it’s still satisfying to succeed and you all know the line – practice makes perfect. Additionally, try to memorize the words so you can keep your eyes on our fine choir directors rather than the paper. They’ll unify us to bring out our best pitches, harmonies, and rhythms. I can hear you all now.

See you tomorrow.


Brenda Atkinson

Hamilton Sings Volunteer

Choir Updates

Now on the Site for Choir Members

Click to listen
  • The Earth the Air the Fire the Water: YouTube video, middle sopranos, tenors and high sopranos.
  • Print Your Own Posters & Binder Covers
  • Hear the Raindrops Fall
  • The Ghost of Oak Island: recording from a previous practice.
  • The Water is Wide: Full song plus which bars to pay special attention to.
  • She the Sea: Soprano, alto, tenor & bass parts by Hanna. Plus melody and original harmony sung together.
  • Stone & Sand: Melody plus soprano, alto, tenor & bass parts
  • I Love the Rain: Video from workshop with Brendan Taafe Oct 15-16, 2016
  • In een blauwgeruite kiel: New spoken version, all three verses sung afresh, history, and pronunciation

  • 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

Our Fundraising Target for 2019

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