By Catherine C – Chorister
What happens when you put five groups of talented young singers together? They make beautiful music, of course! This was the case on Sunday, April 10th, where the Cantiamo Training Choir, the Chorale Lyrica, the Goulbourn Jubilee Singers Junior Jubilees, the Cross Town Youth Chorus and the Chelsea Youth Choir gathered at Saint Thomas the Apostle Anglican Church in Ottawa for their annual Together in Song workshop. This is a workshop where young musicians get to experience new ways of singing and find out how unbelievably cool it is when many voices sing together.
This was my first time participating in the workshop as a Cantiamo mentor, but it was just as fun as when I was in the Training Choir myself. The day started out with vocal warm-ups, with each conductor contributing a new type of vocal exercise for us to try. Then the real fun began! Teaching approximately one hundred young children to sing in harmony on a weekend afternoon in a hot church sanctuary with barely seven older choristers to help is quite a feat, but these five amazing conductors not only managed it, they did it with style.
After three hours of practice, the massed choir sounded lovely, and after a quick snack break, our efforts were rewarded. The four o’clock concert rolled around. The concert began with everybody singing together (Sing Me a Song, The Sun is Mine), but each choir had its moment to shine, each performing two or three songs to sing on their own, such as Dona Nobis Pacem for the Cantiamo Training Choir, Mango Walk for the Cross Town Youth Chorus, Clouds for the Goulburn JJs, and more. The Goulburn JJs, the Cross Town Youth Chorus and the Chelsea Youth Choir did a lovely-sounding arrangement of Can You Hear Me?, which was impressive considering they only had about five minutes to figure it out and rehearse it. Then the choirs regrouped for songs like the Mi’kmaq Song and Klee Wyck and we finished beautifully and harmoniously with a resounding chorus of Many Voices, One Song.
Each conductor conducted one of the massed choir songs, each of them bringing something new to the table with their unique and interesting way of conducting. It was amazing having Cantiamo’s own Laura Hawley accompany many songs, because not only is she an amazingly talented piano player, she also composed many of the songs like The Sun is Mine, Many Voices, One Song and Alhamdoulillah.
Choristers agree that this workshop was a great experience and enjoyed singing a varied repertoire with many different conductors. Cantiamo Training Choir chorister Kaia Thomas said: “ […] the thing I liked the most about Together In Song was that we got to meet many children that are as enthusiastic about singing as I am!”
Thanks of course to Jackie Hawley, Linda Crawford, Tim Piper, Kurt Ala-Kantti and Stephanie Sewell, the five talented conductors, for making this workshop possible. I applaud both singers and conductors alike, as all worked very hard and something beautiful came out of it.