Blog Archives

Eight More Rehearsals

Dearest Choristers

Been dilly-dallying with the voice files on the Active Members Page yet? We have a total of 8 more rehearsals until our April 29th end of term concert. A mere 8. Gulp.

Learning new languages can be a big challenge for most of us. However, it’s amazing what happens when you put in a mere 5 minutes a day into your practice rather than waiting for that one free hour on one particular day. As a budding ukelele player, I find myself continually amazed at how I can seem hopelessly incompetent at some particular maneuver over a series of weeks only to wake up one morning and find myself successfully doing it. Synapse formed at last. It’s a very gratifying feeling.

Once you find yourself trilling like an Irish maiden, toasting each other in French, and welcoming summer like a Middle English peasant, you’ll notice how comfortable you’ve become with these formerly strange syllables and marvel at how far you’ve travelled. As reading a good story can open a door into an otherwise unreachable world, singing songs of other times and cultures serves to enrich our contemporary selves and add contour to our daily lives. So, don’t despair if you’re still chewing on your own tongue – you’ll get there!

Calendar Considerations:

Monday February 26th, FUNDRAISERS MEETING, 7pm at HARRRP or nearby, all welcome

Tuesday February 27th – EMBODY MUSIC – music and movement, 3rd of 3 sessions, 7pm at Delta United Church, $20 or sliding scale

Tuesday March 6th – VOICE 101 – what’s that instrument called you all about anyway?, 1 session only, 7pm at Delta United Church, $20 or sliding scale

Saturday March 10th – we have rehearsal at Delta United Church NOT HARRRP

Saturday March 31st – no rehearsal, Easter bunny hops . . . . . .

Sunday April 29th – final afternoon concert at Christ’s Church Cathedral

Did you know volunteering cures acne, incontinence, broken bones, and stuttering? Well, it doesn’t, but I know I have your attention now. We will need someone to lead the charge for our final concert organization and marshall the troops (your fellow volunteers). Keep in mind as well that indolent children (with or without acne) in need of volunteer hours can do their duty for us as well. Stand up, stand up today!

Exhortingly yours.

Brenda Atkinson

Hamilton Sings Volunteer

Let’s Get Organized!

Greetings All

With a mere 11 weeks to go before our surely stellar April 29th concert at Christ’s Church cathedral, we have some details to consider. As Oprah exhorts – let’s get organized!

Hamilton Sings is your community organization and as such, relies entirely on the material largesse of your contributions in funds and/or fundraising activities to support its activities. The April concert is a source of considerable support and we need warm bodies to attend to the tasks involved: poster making, ticket sales, raffle basket production, hospitality table, etc. And as always – many hands make light work. So, if you want to step up to the plate, reveal yourself ( or the friends/family you’ve conscripted) at the front desk soon. In the meantime, Tom the Treasurer is always willing to accept your donations and the weekly 50/50 draw awaits you.

Embody Music, Hanna’s 3-Tuesdays workshop, integrating movement & rhythms to develop musical confidence, commences this Tuesday February 13th, 7pm – 8:30pm at Delta United Church. $60 or sliding scale. Sign up sheets at the front desk or drop a line. Don’t hesitate as spaces are limited. Voice 101, lead by Sue, follows on Tuesday March 6th, giving you a practical overview of how that instrument called you actually works. $20 or sliding scale.

Thought I would share this little tidbit I discovered on the University of Oxford web site:

“In an age where many of our social interactions are conducted remotely via Twitter and Facebook, singing is effective for bonding large groups, making it an ideal behaviour to improve our broader social networks… Singing is particularly beneficial for improving breathing, posture and muscle tension.”

So if you’re tempted to skip rehearsal this Saturday to line up for that deal at the mall – for the sake of your mental and physical health – don’t do it!

Hummingly yours,

Brenda Atkinson

Hamilton Sings Volunteer

Music Workshops

We’re pleased to be offering the following workshops on upcoming Tuesdays, all starting at 7:00 p.m., at Delta United Church, 47 Ottawa St., South.

Embody Music – Feb. 13, 20 & 27 – a three week workshop lead by Hanna Bech Mathieson on playing with and integrating music, movement, rhythms – develops musical confidence!
Cost is $60 (i.e. $20 per day) and is sliding scale – slides up, as well as down 😉
Due to requirements for movement the number of spaces is limited, so sign up ASAP.

Voice 101 – March 5 – a one week workshop lead by Sue Crowe Connolly giving you a practical overview of how our voices actually work – dispelling myths and providing healthy, functional ideas for singing. Cost is $20, also sliding scale.

To register, send an Email to:
Specify which workshop, or both.

Sue & Hanna

Sumer is Cumen In

Hi There:

As I write this missive By The Glow of The Kerosene Light, how many shades of brown and grey are there in Southern Ontario during the dreaded month of February? The landscape is bleak enough, so why does everyone have to wear black, brown, and grey overcoats? You’d think we’d all dress up like peacocks to make up for it. I guess colorful plumage does not absorb scant heat as well as homespun dark wool. Sumer is Cumen In not soon enough. Sigh. . . .

Thank heavens for Saturday mornings! Nothing like a community sing-a-long to put the wind in your sails, the color in your cheeks, and warm your chilly February blood like a stalking Panther’s. Though sleeping in is my second favourite Saturday morning activity, I gladly welcome the sight of those Bright Morning Stars in order to join you all in song.

Update your calendars with this info:

Yes. We rehearse Saturday February 19th (Family Day Weekend)

Yes. We rehearse Saturday March 10th but make your way to the Delta United Church at 47 Ottawa Street South instead.

No. We don’t rehearse Saturday March 31st (Easter)

Yes. End of Term Concert Date is Sunday April 29th at Christ’s Church Cathedral (It will be spring then, with Tourdion in the streets!)

Do you know where the voice files are? At, Active Members page. You can also view the choir’s most recent financial statements in anticipation of the upcoming Annual General Meeting. If you’re a techno-peasant like me and are forever forgetting or losing passwords, feel no shame and just ask at the front desk on Saturday. Another great resource is that fetching co-chorister sitting near you. A choir buddy can help you catch up on what you missed when the outside world drags you away from our musical embrace.

As always, may your feet be dry, your beverage containers not a future addition to the Pacific gyre, and your voices ready to rise.

See y’all Saturday.


Brenda Atkinson

Hamilton Sings Volunteer

Whipped Cream

Hello Fellow Crooners

Have you visited the Active Members Page at yet? Just took a peek myself this week and was delighted to see that both the music and the pronunciation of Sumer Is Icumen In have been added. I’m a fairly bright light when it comes to some things, but absorbing unfamiliar phonetics is not one of my strengths – now I can take remedial action – thanks Sue and Bob!

And speaking about active membership – were you aware that you’re in kahoots with a not-for-profit registered Ontario charity called Hamilton Sings? And will be called upon sometime soon to vote for your board of directors? The Annual General Meeting date will be announced soon and it is dearly hoped that all of you will participate. No electoral college at work here folks – one participant equals one vote. If only it was this simple elsewhere…

Can whoever was given a folder of music a couple of weeks back that was deemed lost and not to be found, back to the front desk this Saturday? It’s rightful owner has surfaced and would deeply appreciate its return. It might be a wise practice for everyone to label their own music folder with their name, like you might have done long ago in kindergarten. You could even have fun with an alias. Why be plain old Jane Doe when you could be Janis Tremolo or The Divine Jane? I’ll be at the front desk this Saturday morning with a label maker for those requiring assistance. We’ve got some music folders for sale too, and the mere $5 it will cost you goes straight to the choir.

May your shoes be dry, your beverages in non-spill refillable containers, and your voices as lightly rich as whipped cream.


Brenda Atkinson

Hamilton Sings Volunteer

DOs and DON’Ts

Welcome Fellow Choristers

Saturday January 20th will be our second rehearsal of the winter term and yet another beginning of our musical adventure together. Choir leaders Sue and Hanna, the Hamilton Sings board, as well as alumni, would like to extend an especially warm welcome to those new to this endeavour. Fresh faces cannot help but add new energy and ideas to our musical community called Hamilton Sings. Feel free to reach out to any one of your fellow singers for assistance – that’s what a community does. ‘Nuff said.

Hamilton Sings keeps afloat due to member generosity by way of donations and/or fundraising. I’ll be more than happy to introduce you and your checkbook to our hard-working Treasurer Tom. Additionally, if you’re wondering what to do with your unwanted Christmas gifts – save them for our final concert gift basket fundraiser. Re-gifting never felt so good.

Please take note of the following list of dos and don’ts . . . . .

  • DO arrive by 9:45 to allow time for check in and a chin wag before 10 a.m, rehearsal start.
  • DON’T bring wet boots past the entry mats but DO bring along some spare dry foot ware.
  • DON’T come bearing a flu virus – if you’re sick, stay away! We love you but . . .
  • DO bring a non-spill refillable container of your morning coffee and/or water.
  • DO make use of the private members page vocal files at for home practice, password is private, but DON’T share this information with anyone.
  • DON’T make your fellow singers’ eyes water with scented personal care products – you’re as fresh as a rose without that stuff.

And lastly, you MUST remember to have fun and enjoy yourself. Is the sky going to fall if you’re off-key? Will a hydro-electric dam fail if you’re a rhythm laggard? Surely not.

But a butterfly’s wings will gain just a little more lift due to your music making Saturday mornings – I’m certain of it.

Best to all.

Brenda Atkinson
Hamilton Sings Volunteer

January News

Dear friends,

We hope you are having a good rest and some lovely time with family, friends, exploring our community, taking in a concert, whatever gives you some joy……though dress warmly!!! It’s beautiful and brisk, eh?!

Thank you to everyone for a wonderful term, a beautiful and fun concert and fundraising event. An extra special thank you to those of you who were able to attend community events at St. Elizabeth’s Villa AND to the Sunshine Singers who took the lead at a couple of events in Crown Point and Lifesavers Park.

Just so you know what’s coming in 2018…….

We are looking forward to an exciting 15 week term, and will be starting on Saturday, January 13th, from 9:45 – 12 noon. We’ll continue at HARRRP, 705 Main St., East, Hamilton.

It’s official – we ARE going ahead with a second choir on Tuesday evenings, starting January 16th, from 6:45 – 9:00 p.m. This will be at Delta United Church, 47 Main St., South, Hamilton.

PLEASE NOTE: Both choirs will be Non-audition, AND dedicated to having fun while singing and learning together.
However, the Saturday group will currently continue to cover expenses through fundraising and donations (you’ll be hearing more from our Board, and Fundraising Committee Leader, Andrea Kurzfield about how to help). The Saturday group will also remain that no musical experience is required.
The Tuesday choir will be on a fee basis ($300 for the term, includes music leadership/coaching, music and hall rental). The Tuesday group SOME musical experience will be needed, i.e. the ability to follow a score.

We’re finalising the registration info/format, so it won’t be up on the website until early January, however we wanted you to know what’s happening. We’ll let you know when it’s up.
Both choirs will be open for all active members, alumni and those on the waiting list to register. We ask that you register for ONE choir only to start (some of you have asked if you can join both……..if there is room in the second choir, we will let you know.). This will give everyone currently on our lists to at least join one choir!

Please also note – in case you have questions, this email is on “auto-reply”, so we too can have a bit of a vacation. We’ll get back to you at a later time.

All the very best,
on behalf of the Board, and Hanna Bech Mathieson, Music Co-Director,

Sue Crowe Connolly
Founder, Music Co-Director

We’re On!

We’re On!

Tomorrow that is. We’re gonna get up there and strut our stuff. What fun! Take note of the following logistical details:

9:30 a.m. – Be at HARRP with your priced crafts, baked goods, and willingness to lend a hand setting up for the event – remember – many hands make for light work . . . . . . . .

10:00 a.m. – Choir practice/warm-up. U must be there – a cold vocal chord is a brittle thing.

10:30 a.m. – Doors open to the public for shopping and socializing

11:00 a.m. – You’re up! Singing our song list, then we lead a Xmas sing-a-long.

11:45 a.m to 1:30 a.m. – More socializing, shopping, and event clean up.

Our song list is as follows and please get your sheet music in a semblance of order. We still have some noise reducing song sheet folders for sale at the front desk – feel free to buy one.

            LAMASOUMAYOU (Rote)


            RISE UP OLD FLAME (Rote)



            HENAY MA TOV

But above all – remember to have some fun. I’m talking fun, fun, fun. We can miss some notes, stumble on a mark, but will we fail? Never. Cause we’re united in a purpose and a special endeavor. Do you guys have any idea how special you are?

Here’s to you.

Brenda Atkinson

Hamilton Sings Volunteer

Tighten Up the Loose Bits

Salutations Everyone

This coming Saturday November 25 we get to tighten up the loose bits of our upcoming concert song list. Forrest Gump became a ping pong titan when he internalized the words, “keep your eyes on the ball”. So shall you “keep your eyes on your choir leaders” Hanna and Sue – when united in time, we’re sure to succeed. And please organize your music in a noise reducing folder – we still have some for sale at the front desk if you hate shopping as much as I do.

This Saturday is also the last practice before the Dec 2nd Concert, Sing-a-long, Bake & Craft Sale. Feel free to invite your extended family and friends to this delightful Christmas starter. Just to recap the roadmap for the date:

  1. Choristers arrive at 9:30 to set up bake/craft tables and settle in.
  2. Choir warm up at 10:00
  3. Doors open at 10:30, shop and visit
  4. Concert and sing-a-long at 11:00
  5. Shop and visit until 1:30 closure

Table organizers Shirley & Susan would greatly appreciate knowing who’s bringing stuff so they can anticipate needs. Sign-up sheets will be at the front desk.

The Sunshine Singers, who are not affiliated with Hamilton Sings, leads a sing-a-long at Baywoods retirement villa once a month (summer excepted). If you are interested in participating, contact for further information and to join the mailing list. The commitment is not onerous and everyone is welcome. The Christmas season brings additional opportunities to sing out your joy.  Specifically…

… the Sunshine Singers will be participating in the December 2nd caroling at the ‘Tis The Season, Kenilworth Event. We assemble at 4:15 at Cannon and Kenilworth by the children’s crafts and will provide song books. Ask Lori about it.

Do you know where your voice files are? At of course – private members page. Practice at will at home and arrive Saturday mornings ready to lead your section. Most recent addition is Panther – thanks Sue, and Bob!

In closing, I’d like to apologize for not getting an update out to you all last week. A series of unforeseen events managed to stymie my efforts – would have been good material for a comedy show if it hadn’t been utterly infuriating. I’m in the restaurant biz and at this time of year, passions run high and professional life is something of an endurance test. But, my friends, I’m lucky enough to have you and the music we make on Saturday mornings to keep me centered. I’m blessed indeed.

You guys are awesome.


Brenda Atkinson
Hamilton Sings Volunteer

Details on December 2nd Concert

Hi folks,

Your team of Susan Noakes, Shirley Nigh, Kate Oxley and me are pleased to be helping to co-ordinate events on Saturday, Dec. 2nd
The layout of the day is:
  • to arrive and set up at 9:30,
  • choir warm up at 10:00,
  • open our doors at 10:30, shop & visit
  • Concert & Sing-a-long at 11:00
  • shop & visit some more after that
  • 1:30 – done and out   (we have extended time!)
Bake Table – Shirley Nigh is taking the lead on this – please sign up to let us know you’re bringing baked goods – there will be one cashier for this table.
Craft Table(s) – Susan Noakes has as sign up sheet at the back of the church on Saturday.  Please sign up if you are planning on bringing crafts – and please be prepared to staff your table (or find a partner), and manage your own float/cashier.  There is no charge for a table, and we ask that you be willing to contribute 50% of your profits…..thanks!
We won’t be having a 50/50.
Kate and I will be organising someone for the door to receive donations, give out song books, and other miscellaneous stuff.  Also, a few volunteers to clean up afterwards are needed, so please plan to stay to help……many hands……
Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have questions, thoughts.
Thanks!  Happy baking & stitching, painting, knitting, crocheting……and so on 🙂

Brenda’s Updates

Now on the Site for Choir Members

Click to listen
  • Concert Recording 2018: Every song from our Fierce Light concert!
  • Concert Recording 2017
New Songs for 2017-2018
  • Sun Comes Mornin’ Time: timing for the sopranos
  • Concert Song List (final)
  • Matlakala: pronunciation; soprano; alto tenor & bass together; ensemble
  • Sun Comes Mornin’ Time: soprano, alto, tenor & bass parts sung, plus that computerized voice & piano track
  • Ver Mee O: spoken and sung, plus a phonetic version of the lyrics
  • Hanna’s Concert Playlist
  • Trees of the Field: sung
  • Come Love Away: 2016 Rehearsal
  • Sumer is Icumen In: sung & spoken
  • Panther (I Will Walk and Never Get Tired): alto, tenor, and bass
  • Tsmindao Ghmerto: high, middle and low parts
  • Bright Morning Stars: high and low parts
  • Tourdion: many parts
  • Amavolovolo: soprano, alto, tenor, bass parts
  • By the Glow of the Kerosene Light: three part harmony performance by The Once