Thursday, August 3, 2017


Sometimes life surprises you… My surprise this year is that I ended up joining a choir.

Now let's go back a few steps.  I belonged to a choir in Compton Waterville Intermediate School, but most everyone did.  That was it for me singing consistently in a  choir.  I took piano lessons for seven years until I finally convinced my mother that I could quit at age 13.  Those years of piano lessons  put me off classical music for quite awhile.  I did end up helping with choirs and putting on musicals as an elementary teacher.  And I always enjoyed music and singing.  But I have had no desire to join a choir that you had to practice with each week and then put on concerts and try to get your friends attend.

I always figured that my voice was okay as long as I was in a group.  I think my range is quite good but  I have a tendency to change keys without even being aware.  And although I could sight read on a piano, I can't quite imagine doing that to sing without playing along.

program for February concert
So at Christmas time I went to a gospel choir performance and I really enjoyed it.  And when I saw that they had a weekend workshop so that you learned the songs and practiced on a Saturday and performed with the regular choir, I spread the word, and a friend said she would be keen to do it, so i signed up

In the meantime, another friend had heard about a community choir.  She sent me the information.  I looked over the music, which didn't overly impressed me.  But I said I would go along to an session to try it out.

And surprise, surprise, I loved it.  We both did.  Anna Baignoche, the director, has a lovely relaxed manner.  The participants range in age from 20's to possibly 80's.  The atmosphere is non threatening.  And I found myself feeling happy and with songs in my head at the end of the evening.

This reminded me of how my class for a couple of years only had music as appreciation,  and then I had a student teacher who was a musician. I noticed how much all the kids all enjoyed singing.  Fortunately from then on my students all had music that involved singing and they always enjoyed it.

I found myself really looking forward to Monday evenings when I went to Local Vocals.  There was this lovely sense of community.  And we actually sounded rather lovely.  This video was taken at a get together at the end of our official season.  I am always so busy when we are practicing and singing I never took any pictures!

our program 
Then I had my gospel music workshop.  It was fun.  It was challenging.  One lucky thing I had been noticing is that I am actually able to learn songs fairly quickly.  I think those seven years of music lessons actually may be the reason why.  Hmmm…

I can tell you those songs were reverberating in my head that night, especially a couple of beautiful ones that were new to me.

On the Sunday we did perform and it was great.  A couple of friends actually did come and really enjoyed it.  And I fulfilled a goal of performing with a gospel choir.  I love this choir and went to another performance in the spring, but I still think it is a choir with a bit too much of a commitment for  me, plus you have to audition which would still terrify me!

Anyway I have continued with local vocals, and even went to lovely sessions in Dude Chilling Park (only in Vancouver) this summer, and brought some friends along as well.

In all of this, I can't help think of my mother.  She loved to sing and when young sang with all her sisters.  One of my aunts actually did sing at some point on the radio.  My mother was always in the church choir.  She sang when she did her housework.

I definitely plan to continue with Local Vocals in the fall.  And bonus, we don't have formal concerts!  That suits me just fine.  And for the thrill of performing, I can go to the Good Noise Gospel workshop in February.  I went to another concert in June and here are a few favourite video clips