I’ve been to concerts at Silence and have appreciated it as a listening room. The performers don’t need to compete with conversations, espresso machines or cash registers and the audience can relax and take it in.
Morning music at Silence takes the listening to a whole other level. At 9:30 am people arrive and without any formal introduction or signal, at some point start making sound with a wide array of instruments. The soundscape meanders, at times soft and contemplative, humorous, or wild and energetic.
Today’s collaboration included: stand-up bass, trombones, trumpet/flugel horn, Chapman stick, lap steel guitar, violin, acoustic and electric guitars, flute, piano, an electronic sound gizmo, and a variety of percussion ranging from Djembe and cajon to bells and kitchen implements. Gary Diggins described it as an exercise in deep listening and invited me to respond with sound or silence.
Since there is no score, no predictable structure, no chord progression to practice, the part of me that likes to be prepared was a little apprehensive about taking part. As it turns out, I thoroughly enjoyed it; not knowing what comes next, listening closely, and responding to the moment. It was a meditative experience in an active, expressive way, continually calling me to be present and not let my mind wander anywhere else. This is a great place to loosen your creative muscles and let them play.
[Morning Music; Mondays at 9:30 am; Silence 46 Essex Street, Guelph; $5 cover, breakfast contributions welcome]
Callisto is a trio that indulges in three part harmony and other musical whimsy. We love to play Canadiana, old standards, and original tunes. Callisto is made up of Tricia Brubacher, Peter Balka, and Julie Corey. Past performances include: the Elmira Maple Syrup Festival, Art in the Yard (Elora), the Lost & Found Café, Wreckless Eric Café, and the Grand Porch Party (Waterloo). If you are interested in some sweet sounds for a house concert or community event get in touch: email@example.com.
Some events make it worthwhile to stay up past my bedtime. The Amsterdam Bicycle Club’s Monday night open mic has been going strong for almost five years and seems to attract not only a high caliber of music but a great diversity of styles. Rap, electronica, folk, originals, covers, solo and full band numbers all graced the stage. According to Justin, a regular at the ABC, it is also a community of musicians who are very supportive of each other.
The internet led me to believe that sign-up started at 9:30, music at 10:00, three songs/15 minutes per performer was the drill. It is such a popular spot that, in an attempt to get everyone on stage, sign-up actually started at 9:00, music at 9:30 and two songs per performer.
Special thanks to Justin, Michel & Laura, Kunle, and India for taking a moment to chat and making the night even more memorable!
[Amsterdam Bicycle Club 54 The Esplanade, Toronto; Mondays 9:30 pm (sign up at 9:00); no cover]
I took advantage of a Monday trip to Toronto to return to the Free Times Café, one of the longest running open mics in Ontario. Although there were no familiar faces the Free Times Café never seems to change. Our host, David (subbing in for Miranda Signe?), kept things running smoothly despite multiple stage configurations. Everything from heartfelt original tunes and beautiful finger style guitar to solo tambourine and well known covers. Everyone is welcome.
[Free Times Café, 320 College Street, Toronto; Mondays 7:30pm (sign-up at 7:00); no cover]
Hillside Festival (in its 34th year) is my favourite event of the year – a weekend of fabulous food, music and community – and this year my contribution is to run a group singing workshop. So many benefits of singing together and such a fitting place to celebrate this.
Thank you to everyone who took a precious festival hour and shared it with us at the singing workshop. For those of you who attended the workshop (and maybe even those who didn’t), you might be interested in having some of the links and resources I mentioned. Here they are:
All Together Now – workshops, women’s choir, co-ed choir, women’s music weekend
Choir Nation – has drop in choir groups in Toronto, Niagara and Hamilton
Choir! Choir! Choir! – drop-in group singing that also does lots of performing (Clinton’s Tavern, Toronto)
Choir Place – helps you find a choir (international)
Sing Out – supports and promotes traditional and contemporary folk music
Research on the benefits of singing:
Singing & Health – research review
Singing Changes your Brain – article in Time magazine
The Neurochemistry of Music – Mona Lisa Chanda & Daniel Levitin