For a third year in a row, Together in Song! saw Ottawa-area training level choirs come together for 3 hours of learning and fun. This year’s mini-festival, held March 29, 2015, featured Jackie Hawley’s Cantiamo Girls Choir of Ottawa Training Choir, Linda Crawford’s Goulbourn Jubilee Singers Junior Jubilees, Kurt Ala-Kantti’s Cross Town Youth Chorus, Stephanie Sewell’s Chelsea Youth Singers and Kathy Armstrong’s Baobab ROOTS Drummers.
In addition to sharing their repertoire with each other and enjoying singing in a large massed choir, the young artists had a unique opportunity to learn about African music from special guest, Scott Leithead. Scott taught the young artists that in African music the most important aspect is the rhythm, then the singing and then the dancing. “The singing should make you want to dance!”, says Scott, who had this group of over 100 six to thirteen year olds keeping a steady pulse, singing in three parts and doing a variety of movements. Scott’s guest, Nelson Nagenda from Namibia, added even more depth to the afternoon with his stories of home, his awesome dancing, his celebratory sounds and beautiful singing.
Two Cantiamo Training Choristers share their experience:
– Isabella R:
I loved this workshop! I have been with the Cantiamo Training Choir for 4 years and I am always thrilled that our choir participates in these events! It was very enjoyable to sing the African songs with all the choirs. We all had so much energy involved in these songs (especially with the dancing) and it just seemed like everyone was having a good time. I also loved the fact that Scott Leithead, Nelson (from Namibia, Africa) and the soloist from De La Salle High School could come and sing too. But personally I think that one of the best parts was to hear Nelson sing. He was so good! It was also fun to learn so many new things about rhythm, dancing and African culture. I think everyone really enjoyed themselves at this event and I cannot wait until next year. Hopefully we will be able to do this awesome event again.
– Lilli T:
Together in Song! was an experience I learned a lot from. It was amazing to have had a chance to work with someone with as much knowledge and energy as Scott Leithead. I learned a lot about rhythm and African traditions and languages; for example, the way they pronounce their vowels really ‘tall’. It really gave a little extra bit of African tradition to our performance. To add to that, I got to sing alongside two talented young artists; one of them was even from Africa and definitely gave us an extra feeling for the music. It was also great to sing with 3 other choirs, each with a different background and style. In conclusion, I am sure I will take what I learned with me as I continue to perform and sing with Cantiamo.