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Volume 11 Issue 8 - May 2006

  • Text
  • Choir
  • Toronto
  • Choral
  • Singers
  • Jazz
  • Theatre
  • Musical
  • Concerts
  • Arts
  • Repertoire

"How I MET Mv TEACHER"

"How I MET Mv TEACHER" GOES CHORAL " .. . How Can I Keep From Singing!" Gabrielle McLaughlin and others My life flows on in endless song; Above earths lamentation I hear the sweet though far off hymn That hails a new creation: Through all the tumult and the strife I hear the music ringing; It finds an echo in my sou/­ How can I keep from singing? The seeds as well as the sustenance of musical life, regardless of where it takes you, choral singing is not only for children, or adults who do not aspire to be solo performers. The diverse array of choirs in WholeNote's choral directory is testament to this every year. Interestingly: scratch the surface of many church, community and auditioned choirs and among the rank-and-file you will find fine working musicians who are there because it provides a comfortably routine, disciplined work-out in sightreading, ear training, part-singing, blending, vocal production and repertoire development. But take heed: the unmatchable high of being swept up into the music, as part of a larger instrument created by many human voices, becomes a lifelong need for most who experience it. People just get hooked. This is true not only for singers. Instrumental musicians and conductors will tell you that they have to be able to sing, in some fashion, the things they play. Many will tell you that their first and formative experiences of collaborative music were in school or community choirs. And some will confess that they still have to get their choir "fix" maybe even regularly, or at least as often as they get a chance. Even if it's just the sing-along Messiah. Soprano Gabrielle McLaughlin is one such musician. Gabrielle is a founding member of the DIS~e·) ~ BooK Shelf by Pamela Margles and Opera at Home by Phil Ehrensaft will return next issue. I Furiosi Baroque Ensemble (Up In Smoke June 10, Calvin Presbyterian Church). The soprano, two violins (Aisslinn Nosky and Julia Wedman), and 'cello/viola da gamba (Felix Deak) are joined in their five concert season by an eclectic array of guest performers. One of the things that make their historically informed work unusual and engaging is the adrenalin-charged, highly collaborative approach they take to repertoire which many would describe as "serious" music. Gabrielle has been a collaborative musician all her life. Her bio reads like a miniature choral directory, starting with choir at Huron Public School, and seven years singing in the Toronto Children's Chorus. By the time I was eight I had already decided I was going to be a baroque soprano. About that time my parents gave me an LP of the Chicago Children s Chorus and after hearing it, not understanding that Chicago was a city, I asked my parents if there was an "Ontario Children s Chorus" ... When Gabrielle left the TCC at sixteen, studying privately with a U ofT faculty member, she was already earning money singing solo with church choirs. She had also organized for herself an ensemble, an all-girl madrigal choir called Vox Lunarum who made "ridiculous amounts of money" busking at the St. Lawrence Market, enough money that Gabrielle was able to head off, at the age of 17, for the Early Music programme at McGill University, where for three years as a student she sang with the Cappella Antica, a 12 to 16 voice ensemble, which sang mostly mediaeval music, as well as Concerto della Donnae. Returning to Toronto, she didn't waste any time finding places to sing. Gabrielle aptly describes herself as a "ringer" - she has a clear, white-hot kind of soprano that has a similar knife-edge quality that treble boys occasionally (briefly) achieve, often with little or no vibrato. Her voice can cut through, or soar above, almost any other mixture of voices. So how does this work in choral singing, which some would argue is all about blending? WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COM Toronto Children's Chorus 1986 I'm not a choral singer and I know it. I have a larger voice than is usually desired, and some directors are better than others at dealing with it. But as a soloist within choirs you have a place because any very good choir is made up of solo voices and choral voices to make a signature sound. And that signature sound is made by signature voices. Its what makes one choir sound different from another, or change when people move on. In Toronto Gabrielle has sung in or with Tafelmusik, The Toronto Chamber Choir, The Elmer Iseler Singers, The Renaissance Singers, Arcady, the Tallis Choir, and numerous church choirs. Her current solo position is with the Calvin Choir (Calvin Presbyterian Church). But - as if this, plus a solo career, teaching privately, and raising two young children was not enough - when her old friend from McGill, Kevin Komisaruk called to say that he was starting a sixteen voice renaissance choir, Gabrielle's hunger for the collegial harmonic "high" left her no choice but to say "yes please"( Studio Sixteen performs Canciones def Alma, May 13, St. Paul's Basilica). As a soloist theres a lot of really virtuosic stuff, but I can't make harmony with myself. With choirs you get something much larger - a kind of deep rooted musical thickness. For people who got hooked on choirs as kids its part of their lives. We can say that its about getting to do sight reading, exploring repertoire, but its as much about connecting. For a free-lance soloist this is a priceless

elationship with colleagues. So its always part of what I do but ... it's not all good. Classical choirs are still predominantly white, affluent, and Christian. They have a kind of terminal uniqueness. Would she like to see her own children "hooked" in the same way? Choir took over my life as a child. On the one hand its an education you can't beat. We learned so much musically, and especially with touring we learned socially and culturally But it created in me a kind of discipline that's almost too much in a young person. We learned to over-achieve, learned to expect so much of ourselves, and took on big responsibilities for the younger choristers as we got older. Childhood is so precious and I'd like their lives to be centred more around family and friends. But if either of my girls wanted to join a community choir that'd be okay ... Other voices "This is where I began learning how to work for excellence without ever losing sight of the enjoyment of music .... " Suzie LeBlanc, soprano "I remember .... skipping all the way to the theatre singing my chorister's part over and over again. It was beautiful music and made me feel completely giddy inside" Karina Gauvin, soprano "/ remember feeling steeped in tradition. It was so powerful - knowing that the music I was singing had come from these great cathedrals ... " Noel Edison, conductor, artistic director " ... there was this overwhelming feeling of 'safety in numbers'. It was a chance for everyone - singers, horns, drummers, bass players - at all levels of musicianship, to connect in a situation that was completely stripped down to its most basic form. It didn't matter what gear you had, or how long you'd been playing. You just had to open your ears, and open your mouth. " Sophia Perlman,jazz performer and WholeNote columnist "] remember choir in Grades J and 2, the teacher was Mrs. Pulker, who loved what she did, and kept us very involved. I really looked forward to choir." James Rolfe, composer. M AY 1 - ] UNE 7 2006 WholeNote MarketPlace Education .,:. ,• ,..._ - '""" .... ~. ~0 L;~\ ..:..; t,. \"·'' d (!j][jfJ@OiJOJff[JfJ0-~ ~ ,. (' · Musical activities for parent and baby Ages 3 months to 18 months Songs, musical instruments, puppets and stories Also available for birthday parties (416) 419-4742 ~ l Private Lessons piano, voice, sight-singing conducting and theory for beginners and intermediates Love To Sing? •All styles •All Levels •Beginners and Children welcome • Excellent for public speakers, actors, etc. Breathe new life into your voice with a unique and sensible kinesthetic approach to vocal pedagogy. Call Pattie Kelly for private lessons at 905-271-6896 MARJORIE SPARKS VOICE STUDIO ____ Marjorie Sparks B. Mus., B. Ed. Private voice lessons. instructions for university auditions, RCM exams, competitions, and professional performances. Frequent Studio Recitals. STIJDIO LOCATIONS 19 Ravine Park Cr., Scarborough 175 St. Clair Ave. W., Toronto 416-282-7460 E-mail: mheitshu@sympatico.ca Organic and functional vocal training to gain access to your full range, resonance and vocal freedom. For singers, public speakers, teachers, clergy, or if you just want to enjoy using your voice. Sue Crowe Connolly Hamilton Studio Toronto Studio 905-544-1302 416-523-1154 NORTH TORONTO INSTITUTE OF MUSIC f; Private instruction and exam preparation by qualified teachers in the heart of Toronto. • Piano • Voice • Guitar • Strings • Woodwinds • Percussion • Theory • Music Theatre • Pre-school 550 Eglinton Avenue East 416-488-2588 www.nlimusic.com WWW.TH EWHOLENOTE. COM GOLD RECORDS Recording Services JUNO AWARDS Recording & Mastering. Great live room in old movie theatre. Yamaha Grand Piano. Hammond M3 & Leslie Milestone Drums. • MISTER'S MASTERING HOUSE per hour 416.467.9597 www.studio92canada.com Call for a coffee and tour DIGITAL EDITING CD MASTERING OPEN REEL & CASETTE TRANSFERS 96/24 CAPABILITY CONTACT: KARL MACHAT 416 503 3060 o, 647 227 KARL MISTERS.MASTERS@SYMPATICO.CA Professional Services

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