Choral Cacophony Podcast

Choral Cacophony Podcast

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Vocal Tips, Techniques and Tricks from award winning choir The Stairwell Carollers and Director, Pierre Massie
CCPodcast S.2#14 - “I Am Not Yours” - Sneek Peek
May 21 • 3 min
Ottawa choral music fans are in for a real treat June 2nd. Pierre Massie and his award-winning choir The Stairwell Carollers will be celebrating the finale of their 40th anniversary season with a diverse program of six centuries of music sung in six…
CC Podcast S. 2 #13 - SSShort and SSSweet
Apr 23 • 2 min
This week is a physical warmup exercise for diaphragmatic breathing - done in a standing position. Teeth together, mouth slightly open, deep breath and release the breath in a controlled manner. Allow only the tiniest stream of air to be released in a…
CCPodcast S. 2 #12 - Be like Fonzie
Apr 9 • 5 min
In this week’s Choral Cacophony Podcast, The Fonz from Happy Daze fame and spaghetti are featured. Pierre uses both these vivid examples (and others) to illustrate vowel quality and production. He runs the choir through the vowel sounds with his own brand…
CC Podcast S. 2 #11 - Spring Concerts Sneak Preview - Abendlied
Mar 26 • 6 min
If you’ve been following our Choral Cacophony Podcasts (and why not???) you may be motivated to hear us LIVE IN CONCERT! Here we are at a recent rehearsal preparing Abendlied by Joseph Rheinberger for the upcoming concerts. Enjoy! The Stairwell Carollers:…
CC Podcast S. 2 #10 - Spring Forward with Octave Jumps
Mar 19 • 5 min
Whaaaat? This week’s Choral Cacophony Podcast features a warmup you can do to help with Octave jumps AND relaxed open tones. The secret?? Looking down. Yes. Literally. Looking down. Looking UP to reach a high note - straining for a note - can close off…
CC Podcast S. 2 #9 - Movable Do - Dissonance!
Mar 12 • 6 min
How high can you go? And can you hold that note? Does dissonance pull you away from your part? Stay with your section and stay in tune! Those are the two skills practiced in this week’s Choral Cacophony Podcast. As an alto I know all about having to hold…
CC Podcast S. 2 #8 - Play Ball!
Mar 5 • 5 min
We’re all on hold waiting and wanting the spring flowers to appear. Our new singing season starts and it’s a whole new ballgame - 40th, contemporary, Canadian! Personally, I can’t wait to see the first flowers pop up through the snow. It’s early innings…
CC Podcast S. 2 #7 - One Note Wonder
Feb 26 • 6 min
As a singer, in a chorus especially, we have to shape our vowels correctly (and the way the director prefers!) But, how do we do that? Like most skill development, it takes practice and guidance. Practice making the sound, shaping the mouth, and - where…
CC Podcast S. 2 #6 - We Got Rhythm
Feb 19 • 10 min
This weeks Choral Cacophony Podcast episode is an extra long one - about 10 minutes. With two whole body exercises, the Stairwell Carollers work on rhythm. Pierre created special practice sheets for teaching rhythm to his students and uses a whole body…
CC Podcast S. 2 #5a - Working out Laud
Feb 12 • 6 min
In this weeks Choral Cacophony Podcast episode (Second of two parts) we work on a piece called Resonet in laudibus. It’s a latin Sacred composition from the 14th century, transcribed by our director, Pierre Massie. About The Stairwell Carollers: Pierre…
CC Podcast S. 2 #5 - Resonet in Laudibus Rhythm
Feb 5 • 7 min
In this weeks Choral Cacophony Podcast episode (the first of two parts) we rehearse a piece called Resonet in laudibus. It’s a latin sacred composition from the 14th century, transcribed by our director, Pierre Massie. Please DONATE to support our 40th…
CC Podcast S. 2 #4a - A Heavenly Pair
Jan 29 • 6 min
Here is the conclusion of a Two Part Choral Cacophony Podcast for lovers of English madrigals from the Renaissance. Part 2 continues with Fine Knacks for Ladies, by John Dowland. This podcast highlights Pierre’s sense of humour in rehearsal, a question…
CC Podcast S. 2 #4 - Fine Knacks indeed!
Jan 22 • 6 min
If you love Renaissance madrigals, we have a Two Part CC Podcast for you. Starting this week with Part 1, Fine Knacks for Ladies, an English madrigal from the Renaissance will be dissected and refined. This week, specific pronunciation (to overcome…
CC Podcast S. 2 #3 - Contre Qui Rose Rehearsal
Jan 15 • 6 min
*If you live in the Ottawa region and love The Stairwell Carollers — and would love to sing in our choir - email us to set up your audition NOW. *This podcast episode shows a typical rehearsal and illustrates how deftly Pierre our director leads us to…
CC Podcast S. 2 #2 - By Heart
Jan 8 • 5 min
This weeks Choral Cacophony Podcast is a wee lecture from our director Pierre on “getting away from the book”. Besides the fact that The Stairwell Carollers are known for connecting with the audience in a way that many choirs don’t - we sing to the…
CC Podcast S. 2 #1 - New Ear Challenge!
Jan 2 • 7 min
Director, Pierre, warms up the choir with a simple arpeggios then starts some Movable Do work. Your task is to figure out what your part is. Along the way there are some hints! Use this episode to warm up your voice and test your listening skills. Then,…
Choral Cacophony Podcast #18 - A Spanish Carol, Deconstructed
Dec 18, 2017 • 7 min
As I said in Podcast #16, En El Portal de Belen is a lively and fun Puerto Rican Christmas carol that we have really loved singing for a couple of years now. Yes, you will hear it at our Final concert for the 2017 Christmas season coming up THIS WEDNESDAY…
Choral Cacophony Podcast #17 Singing like the Angels
Dec 11, 2017 • 4 min
As Pierre always says, vocal strength, power, quality and control is in the diaphragm, not the throat, lungs, vocal chords or some mysterious chest muscles. In this simple exercise, Pierre leads the choir to focus on diaphragm control to release notes…
Choral Cacophony Podcast #16 - En El Portal de Belen
Dec 4, 2017 • 6 min
En El Portal de Belen is a lively and fun Puerto Rican Christmas carol that we have enjoyed singing for a couple of years now. We couldn’t have done it so well without a lot of help with the pronunciation. In this episode, you can hear Josée (alto)…
Choral Cacophony Podcast #15 - Give me a Yawn!
Nov 27, 2017 • 7 min
In this episode, Pierre leads us in an open humming exercise. I know, your mouth is closed when you hum so - open?? Wait for it - all will be explained. He asks us to yawn, then close our lips and hum - while keeping the open space in the throat that the…
Choral Cacophony Podcast #14 The Devil’s in the Details
Nov 20, 2017 • 5 min
Pierre has written a brand new arrangement of one of the most popular carols on the planet. Carol of the Bells has always been a most requested Christmas carol at our concerts and our director/composer wanted to bring a fresh modern ring to this old…
Choral Cacophony Podcast #13 on the 13th!
Nov 13, 2017 • 6 min
Back on October 14th, we were fortunate to have an amazing workshop with master teacher, choral director and composer, Mark Sirett. There were so many wonderful exercises he did with us that simply do not translate to written description or even audio…
Canadian Choral Composers - Podcastlet BONUS! A Babe is Born
Nov 11, 2017 • 2 min
To celebrate the Stairwell Carollers’ 40th anniversary, director Pierre Massie has created a special Christmas program, featuring a wide variety of Canadian composers from across Canada and across different time periods, including himself. In this blog…
Choral Cacophony Podcast #12 - The Julie Andrews Connection
Nov 6, 2017 • 4 min
For some reason, we always call this warmup the “Julie Andrews” one. Despite searching, I haven’t found an actual connection between her and this exercise. That doesn’t mean there isn’t one — in my mind—- Imagining Ms. Andrews doing this warmup seems to…
Choral Cacophony Special Podcastlet Treat!
Oct 31, 2017 • 3 min
Why would a novice composer choose such a treacherous path? Why create a new arrangement of one of the most popular and beloved German Christmas carols dating back to the 1600s? Here’s why. It began in the 1960s, when I was a boy chorister with the Christ…
Choral Cacophony Podcast #11 - Warmup, Tongue-Twister Time!
Oct 30, 2017 • 5 min
This week’s warm-up seems a lot like whitewater rafting - an out of control ride, moving forward. In reality, rafting is about letting go and having control (so you don’t lose it, tip or fall in.) So, to our warm up. I’ve included the start of the first…
Choral Cacophony Podcast #10 - Do you Hear What I Hear? I think you do…
Oct 23, 2017 • 5 min
For everyone who is enjoying our podcasts, please be patient as our provider goes through some housecleaning. This may mean some delays in downloads but I am sure it will settle out soon. I have for you an early Christmas treat ! We all love the Xmas…
Choral Cacophony #9 - It’s all Latin to me…
Oct 16, 2017 • 6 min
Working on our most popular piece of Sacred music, Missa Brevis, by Antonio Lotti, Pierre gets into the Nitty Gritty of a Latin Ditty. Choral Cacophony podcast #9 focuses on a few vocal peccadilloes from sections of this lovely Mass. If you’ve ever…
Choral Cacophony Podcast #8 - Minor… is there anything finer?
Oct 9, 2017 • 3 min
Harmonic Minor Scales are tricky to say the least. They sound spooky too — just in time for Hallowe’en. Oooooooooo Ahhhhhhh I could go on, but now I’m just being silly. This short and sweet warmup will test your ear — don’t be scared to do it over and…
Choral Cacophony Podcast #7 - O Claire De la Lune Cacophony!
Oct 2, 2017 • 5 min
When Pierre presented us with a warmup that he invented (I think) using an old favourite French children’s song, O Claire De la Lune, we thought he had lost it. Maybe he was yearning for his childhood. simpler times. But I digress… He made us sing it in a…
Choral Cacophony Podcast #6 - Fair Sailing in French
Sep 25, 2017 • 4 min
Some of the trickiest navigation for a singer can be pronunciation. You can feel like you are thrown about like a canoe in a storm, especially if you are working in another language. To avoid drowning, you need skill - and to be in control. As a bilingual…
Choral Cacophony Podcast #5 - Movable Do - DOH!
Sep 18, 2017 • 3 min
Link to short video of Movable Do Hand Signs _ ** _ *PleaseDONATE to support our 40th year events ! *_ All Donations receive a charitable receipt. About The Stairwell Carollers: * * Pierre Massie started our a cappella choir in 1977 while a music student…
Choral Cacophony Podcast #4 - Octaves and scales and warmups. Oh My!
Sep 11, 2017 • 3 min
Pete “sings” in the kitchen too! Making pesto from our garden. Our director puts us through a warmup of scales. Tackled - Legato/ staccato, and octave jumps using Movable Do .
Choral Cacophony Podcast #3 - Warm up those Vowels!
Sep 4, 2017 • 4 min
Our director, Pierre, leads the choir in a warmup to practice proper mouth positioning for vowels. French vowels are included. This episode can be used to improve your own mouth positioning for singing vowels and as a good general vocal warmup.
Choral Cacophony Podcast #2 - Fine tuning the Chorus
Aug 30, 2017 • 3 min
“A Little Pretty Bonny Lass” is a sprightly Renaissance madrigal with tricky timing. Podcast recorded at the dress rehearsal for a spring concert at St. Barnabas. Pierre’s attention to detail — rehearse, rehearse, rehearse!
Choral Cacophony Podcast #1 - Tricky Vocal Hurdles
Aug 29, 2017 • 6 min
Rather than Twitter tweets, Renaissance madrigal bird tweets make up most of the lyrics in the song Le chant des oyseaux. Our director, Pierre, gives us direction in a particularly tricky section of the song and you’ll get a taste of the intricacies of…