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
This weekend I treated myself to a Beatles harmony workshop offered by Sam Turton in Guelph. I spent so many hours listening to the Beatles as a youngster that I feel their songs have colonized my DNA. Do I really have more to learn about this catalogue?
Apparently I do! As Sam deconstructed the oh-so-familiar harmonies and shared his enthusiasm for Beatles song craft, I heard things in a different way and was able to notice subtle details that make the songs so memorable and their style so unique. And then, the best part of all, we got to sing. I found myself gravitating to George’s part on most songs – who knew?
There are more workshops coming up February 12th, March 12th and April 9th. Get in touch with Sam for details: http://www.samturton.com/contact.html
The last time I was at the ANAF in Guelph it was for Jack Cooper’s Two Rivers Song Circle (which has now moved to Wednesday nights). The open mic has recently had a change of stewardship with Kent Smith stepping down and Trevor Hall taking over as host.
The night I visited there was an appetite for collaboration and there were both planned and impromptu shared performances – enabled, I’m sure by the welcoming and relaxed atmosphere. The room is unassuming but the sound surprisingly good. Variable turnout means you could be joining an intimate gathering or – on a busy night – you’d need to get there early if you want a spot to perform (7:30 sign up time).
One note about the location – it is easy to miss driving down Gordon Street. One entrance is around the back so turn off Gordon onto Fountain and again on Freshfield to find it.
A huge THANK YOU to Brad, Pete, Mo’, and Amy & Julie (of the Hazy Maidens) for letting me indulge my love of harmonizing. Sweet sounds!
[ANAF Open Mic, 32 Gordon Street, Guelph; Second Thursday of the month,8pm – 12am, no cover, licensed]
Are you feeling like you’d like to be part of the music instead of being a spectator? Ready to stretch your skills and learn from other musicians?
This fall holds many opportunities to start or expand on your musical journey.
SAC – The Guelph chapter of the Songwriters’ Association of Canada gets together the second Wednesday of the month (West End Rec Centre – 21 Imperial Rd S) to share and critique works in progress. There is often an invited speaker who will talk about a songwriting-related topic. Suggested contribution is $5. The next meeting of the group is September 12th (Jane Lewis will talk about vocal performance). For more info contact: Peter Light at firstname.lastname@example.org or Peter Boyer at email@example.com
The Waterloo Wellington Bluegrass Music Association hosts a weekly “slow jam” at the Galt Legion in Cambridge. There work from asongbook to facilitate everyone’s participation (The Real Bluegrass Book by Hal Leonard) and each person contributes whatever they can: strum along, take a solo, lead a song. The pace allows you to enjoy yourself while learning new songs and improving your skills. The first official “slow jam” of the season is September 4th (7:00 – 8:30).
If singing and harmonizing is what you want to explore, check out the All Together Now website. Jane Lewis and Sam Turton (along with a roster of accomplished musicians as facilitators) host a variety of workshops and 6-8 week courses in Guelph, Kitchener and Hamilton.
Then, when you’re ready for more, pick a song circle or open stage nearby and share your stuff with an audience (Go to the Links tab at the top > Venues/Clubs and find one closest to you).