Hello on this snowy, slushy, and icy day in Ottawa!
I am embarking on a pretty rad journey to Edmonton this coming May for Podium Choral Conference and Festival and not only will I be a participant, but a member of the Podium Social Media Team!
I am so lucky and excited to work with this fun group of three very committed, talented, and fun people, hailing from Ottawa all the way to Vancouver!
Don't forget to follow them through social media for exclusive content on the conference!
So, ready to meet the gang?
Vancouver BC. Twitter: @mister_sissy. Instagram: @mistersissy
Missy Clarkson is a bisectional soprano who has been breathing choral music since her early days of study in Minneapolis, where she co-founded her first ensemble at age 15. She has lived in Vancouver, BC since 1997, and has sung with many fabulous local ensembles and educators. Her choral 'home' has been the Vancouver Cantata Singers for the last 10 years, and she co-founded and manages Canada's most flaming classical choral ensemble, Cor Flammae.
She is a tireless choral advocate over social media, and created the “hit” viral video for VCS, Shit Choristers Say, which propelled her into some strange level of nerd stardom for about 10 minutes.
Jean-Pierre Dubois Godin chats with Missy Clarkson
1. As the co-founder of Vancouver's Cor Flammae, Canada's most flaming classical choral ensemble, can you tell us the how and the why this ensemble was formed?
As a queer person who is a major choir nerd I always felt the need to connect with both communities, however as someone with classical training I found that the existing queer singing ensembles were not quite challenging enough for my liking. We created Cor Flammae to connect these dots and explore unsung queer perspectives in classical choral music. Performing queer content with high-caliber queer musicians creates another level of connection to the stories, and it sounds good too! We want to deepen the understanding of historical and modern queer experiences for everyone. How does a rejection by mainstream society in a conservative genre impact art and career? How can we help queer music lovers and performers to feel welcome, encouraged, and invited to the choral music world, where they rarely see reflections of themselves or their journeys in popular writing and performance? We want to answer these questions through the often marginalized lens of our shared life experiences as queer musicians, and we do so in FULL regalia. Everyone can be their true selves in our rehearsals and concerts - tattoos, wigs, true gender identities, and all, while rocking out some serious high art!
2. What is your choral piece? What is your favourite canadian choral piece?
My absolute fave choral piece at the moment *is* Canadian - I am totally obsessed with Kristopher Fulton's 'The Twilight Cities' from his new debut album of the same title. Listening to it is like swimming through a graphic novel - specifically the one on which the work is based ("L'Enfant Penchée" by François Schuiten & Benoît Peeters) - it's a full, lush, cinematic sound that rumbles and shimmers. I am *totally* biased, by the way, as Mr. Fulton is a long-time close pal (we met in music school!) and I was lucky enough to be able to sing on his album. Paula Kremer and Vancouver Cantata Singers prepared it in 3 rehearsals and we basically almost died in the process, but it was so worth it. You always hear such different bits when surrounded by your fellow choristers, so hearing all the parts fully mastered in some good headphones pretty much blew my mind. It is such interesting writing - both innovative and accessible!
3. Which social media are most into right now: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, or other?
For me, they all have their specific strengths for specific purposes, but I find myself on Instagram and FB most often. Twitter is my top choice for events like Podium!
4. Is there some more Sh*t Choristers Say? Ever thought about doing a 2nd video? What are some sayings that you would add to it, if any?
Oh my gosh, since it was released at a time when a 4-minute video could actually go viral (!), it's really the equivalent of 4 videos these days! But if I did make another video there is no end to the material available!! I would probably do a dress-rehearsal-specific video.... "Where are we standing? How do we get onstage? Why are we doing it that way why not this weird other way? This acoustic is so dry! Do we bow now? How bout now? Are we currently bowing?? WHERE IS MY FOLDER???"
5. Is there anything you are looking forward to at #Podium2016?
Since this will be my very first Podium I am looking forward to literally EVERYTHING. I'm going to bask in the all sights and sounds and humans and nerdery. I expect some major facemelts from ProCoro and may need a fainting couch during Conspirare. I am unreasonably excited!
6. What is your favourite Ave Maria?
Ha! I would have to say it's the Biebl, which VCS performs at the end of every one of our Christmas concerts, surround-sound-styles, and the audience just bawls their adorable eyes out. I was also lucky enough to bawl my own eyeballs out hearing Chanticleer perform it a few years ago. For some reason I never get sick of singing or hearing the piece! It has a certain magic.
Edmonton, AB. Twitter: @misssable; Instagram: @misssable
Sable is an avid chorister as well as a Speech-Language Pathologist with an interest in Vocology. When she is not working with Voice Therapy clients, publishing choral musings on The Choir Girl blog, or drinking chai lattes, she can often be found watching Netflix and coloring in her Hipster coloring book.
Missy Clarkson chats with Miss Sable
1. What ensembles do you sing with, and what is your favourite thing about singing in choirs?
Currently, I'm singing in Pro Coro Canada's 2015-16 season and with theEdmonton Opera Chorus and Canadian Chamber Choir if my schedule allows.
2. When and why did you create your blog, "The Choir Girl"?
I began my The Choir Girl Blog back in 2009. I have always been an avid fan of online means to share personal perspective. I first began on Livejournal with a personal account but I wanted to transition over to a public one. I knew that if I wanted to have a public blog, I would need a concept that would provide continuous inspiration. A blog focused on choral music and performance was the natural choice in my mind! It has also challenged me to highlight different Composers, Conductors, and Choirs throughout the years and showcase the excellent work they do in addition to my own musings as a chorister.
3. What is the most interesting choral blog subject you've ever covered?
One of the topics that I see continuously come up as a highly read post in my archives is on the Culture of Fear in rehearsal. Even though the post is back from 2012, I still get a constant flow of readers and lots of interesting messages and discussions from it. I believe it was even reading material for a University level Choral Methods class so I'm glad it's a topic that helps to stimulate discussion.
4. What are you most looking forward to about Podium?
In addition to having a rad roommate in the form of Missy Clarkson at Podium and singing with Pro Coro Canada at the Festival, I'm really looking forward to how social media can be used to cover all the conference events and give people an opportunity to be in multiple places at once just by seeing updates or comments from other sessions or concerts. It's time for a social media take-over!
5. Which social media media platform do you prefer at the moment?
My preferred social media platform right now is Instagram. I love how it gives me a visual flow of beautiful and informative images and videos. In the evenings, you can definitely find me cradling my smartphone and scrolling through Instagram to see what the world was up to that day.
6. What's your favourite Ave Maria?
David McIntyre's "Ave Maria." It's effervescent, ethereal, and lush - what's not to like? I have great memories performing that work with Belle Canto Women's Ensemble at the Cork International Choral Festival. It's always nice to find a treble arrangement of a piece that works so well.
Ottawa, ON. Twitter: @Mamydee; Instagram: @amydeechoir
Ever since she sang Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” at her mother’s wedding at four years old, Cornwall born mezzo-soprano Amy Desrosiers knew music was her calling. Under the direction of vocal coach Laurence Ewashko and Sonya Sweeney, Amy has developed her vocal skills in opera, jazz, and choral singing and completed a Bachelor of Music and minor in Arts Administration in 2011 at the University of Ottawa.
Amy not only adores singing with her choir family, but also loves working behind the scenes as an arts administrator and choir manager for the Capital Chamber Choir. Aside from binge watching Star Wars, she also spends her time singing with the Capital Chamber Choir, Opera Lyra Ottawa Chorus, and jazzing it up with the Jazz Lines Vocal Quartet on the National Arts Centre stage and other fun venues in the Ottawa community.
Her love of social media and writing inspired her to create her blog “Blonde in the Choir” and strives to support fun arts projects and initiatives in the Ottawa choral community.
Miss Sable chats with Amy Desrosiers
1. Why did you decide to create a Blonde in the Choir?
I decided to create Blonde in the Choir back in the summer of 2013 because I wanted to give a voice in the Ottawa choral community. It began in the middle of Bizet’s Carmen staging rehearsals and I was truly inspired by what was happening around me. I wanted to extend my joy and passion beyond the rehearsal hall and open it to the world.
I was also compelled to share my experiences in blog posts where my readers could relate to everyday situations as a musician. Overtime, I developed my tone and began to shift my focus on interesting topics and project ideas that I believe will broaden my audience and also allow me to improve my writing style. I am always learning!
2. What were your initial thoughts when you were asked to join the Podium Social Media team?
ECSTATIC! I was already planning on attending Podium because I felt it was time to participate in a conference that embodied my passion for music. The fact that I will be contributing to the Podium social media platform with such a great team is both a privilege and a sign that I should keep this blogging thing going!
3. What do you think is an advantage of social media that more people should be aware of?
A huge advantage with social media is presence. I see so many choirs do very little with updating their social media platforms and it affects their following receiving crucial information on upcoming concerts. It is SO important to take time in your week to get a choir photo or reach out to your following for feedback. Trust me, people notice.
4. Which sessions/concerts are you most looking forward to at Podium?
As for concerts, I am really excited to check out Pro Coro Canada and the Mozart Requiem choral-orchestral concert. I am familiar with Michael Zaugg’s work when he was conducting in Ottawa and look forward to seeing him again in his element with this great group!
Having sung the Mozart Requiem several times, I have never experienced the masterpiece from the audience perspective and I look forward to sitting back and losing myself in the music.
As for sessions, how do I choose!? I love all of them BUT if I had to narrow it down:
Maestra Matters: Women's Leadership in Choral Music-Making and Community-Building
Choral Therapy: How Choir Saved My Life
Programming For Your Audience
5. What are your current social media addictions?
You will see me glued to my phone over Twitter. I’ve found so many fun blogs and people who share the same interests through Twitter more than any other social media platform. Because I manage four Facebook pages, I have very little time to devote to other platforms aside from the big three: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. My friends are slowly convincing me to get SnapChat.
Ottawa, ON. Twitter: @jpduboisgodin
Jean-Pierre Dubois-Godin is a bass/baritone in the local Ottawa choral community. He studied Music, Arts administration, Advertising, and Marketing, in school and currently sings with the Ottawa Choral Society.
Once, Canadian choral composer Stephen Hatfield asked him for help on French lyrics on a new choral composition. This piece is now published at Boosey.
Jean-Pierre is welcoming this opportunity to be on Podium's Social Media Team as a way to get back into blogging and tweeting about local/national/international choral news (#ChoirX)
Amy Desrosiers chats with Jean-Pierre Dubois-Godin
1. What inspired you to start your blog, ChoirX?
At the time (2011), I had recently gotten Twitter and would love to livetweet my choir rehearsals: music we were rehearsing, funny things choir directors were saying, what was going on behind-the-scenes... I enjoyed tweeting so much that I expanded its microblogging into full-on blogging. To share my eXperience as a chorister.
2. What was your favourite moment while performing on stage?
There are so many, it is so hard to choose. I can think of at least 4 right off the bat. One of the most memorable performances I did was in June 2010 when the Ottawa choirs and the NAC Orchestra were joined by the Orchestre Métropolitain and it choir, from Montreal, to perform Mahler's Symphony of a Thousand with conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin, both at the National Arts Centre and the Place des Arts. A double-choir with a double-orchestra, with a "tour" to Montreal. It was a sold-out show and so amazing. Definitely and unforgettable experience.
3. What choral/opera/classical piece do you always have on repeat?
I have many. At least these 4: Stephen Hatfield's Living in a Holy City, Gabriel Fauré's Requiem, Morten Lauridsen's Lux Aeterna, and Eric Whitacre's i thank you god for most this amazing day.
4. Why is it important for you to connect with other arts administrators and performers through social media?
Choral singing is really an intimate experience that creates relationships with people you wouldn't normally cross elsewise. Sometimes, it's like a language of its own. It's nice to find others on social media who speak the same "language" as your own.
5. What makes you most excited about attending Podium?
I'm just most excited to see and hear all these choral maestros at work: Michael Zaugg, Scott Leithead, Morna Edmundson, Robert Filion... we're in for a treat!