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
Season 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…
Season 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…
Season 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,…
#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…
#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…
#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)…
#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…
#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…
#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…
#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…
#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…
#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…
#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…
#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…
#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…
#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…
#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 .
#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.
#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!
#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…