Community Exposure aka Becoming a Household Name!!
Last night (Dec 4th) was our last gathering of 2018. Our chorus party! It was a lively, boisterous affair with great food, laughter and friendship! It was a night for reflection on this incredible journey we’ve been on with the awesome and mighty Joe Connelly, Master Director Extraordinaire of Canadian Showtime Chorus (CSC).
A little over six months ago, we set a goal with Joe to blow the lid off the best kept secret in town and release CSC into the community. Effectively, working towards making Canadian Showtime Chorus a household name! Well we’ve made strides in this regard!
In the last blog spot, I reported that a seasoning of our singers sang at the 12th Annual Jeanne Fuller Red Dress Charity Golf Tournament at Loch March Golf course in Kanata and a larger representation then performed the Canadian and American National Anthems at a Fury FC vs Bethlehem Steel FC game at the TD Stadium in Ottawa. The latter was such a huge success that we have been invited to sing at a Redblack’s - Canadian Football League Grey Cup 2016 champions and 2018 runners up - game during the season of 2019. Getting visibility in the Nation’s Capital Ottawa is one thing but getting National exposure by singing at a Redblack’s game is surpassing our goal of getting ‘community’ exposure!!
We’ve been on the road and out and about a fair bit the last couple of months! Allow me to list them for you!!
Oktoberfest – a CSC Fundraiser!
On October 26, the Ron Kolbus Center in Ottawa took on a whole new persona as the chorus members swept in and turned the room into an Oktoberfest hall, cooked up a storm – German sausage, sauerkraut and pretzel bread - and were entertained by The Ottawa Rube Band (originating from Baden Baden, Germany), the Schuplattler Folk Dancers, an Austrian yodeling choir and Alpine horns! So much fun and I must say, we have several wicked polka dancers in our chorus!!
Lake Ontario Region 16 Music School!
November 9 - 10! Being held at the Ambassador Hotel in Kingston this year meant it was accessible and easy to get to from home. About 70 of our singers made the trip, including several of our brand-new members! Not only did we get the opportunity to increase our musical knowledge and adding a few gems to our skills tool kit, we performed on Saturday night as the current champions of our region. The love and support we felt from this – our – incredible Region, was very humbling and moving! How lucky are we to share in this amazing hobby! The harmony, the music, this very powerful artform is one thing but the friendships and the sisterhood is not only the icing on the cake – it’s the cherry on top!
Coaching weekend with the mighty Erin Howden!
November 16 - 17! We are growing in size and exponentially, the front row needed to follow suit and expand as well. For the first time ever, we held an Open Call front row auditions! 22 members signed up and, by the end of the process, 16 front row members + 2 (alternates) were selected.
Erin ran a two-hour session, first asking the dancers to freestyle to various types of music. This was so she could observe overall freedom of movement, adaptability and use of personal space. It was at least 8 songs long and it certainly took stamina to get through it. She then taught a routine that the dancers picked up quickly and were given 10 minutes to repeat and commit to memory before being put into groups of 4 to dance the routine to 5 different styles of music! Whaaaat!!!!???? This helped identify matching styles which would in the end guide Erin and Joe when establishing the standing order of the new front row.
It was challenging, nerve wrecking but an awesome experience! We have serious talent in our chorus. Congratulations to all who took a chance and signed up for the process!
And that was just Friday night!
The new front row (FR) and the alternates were taught our first night uptune for the International stage in New Orleans in September 2019 immediately after the auditions. Saturday was all about teaching the riser choreography and helping the FR remember what they learned the night before! Repetition, repetition, repetition! Thank goodness for the repetition!!
Joe and Erin have worked together for decades. Individually, they are energetic, enthusiastic, incredible educators and oh so positive! Imagine the two of them in a room together – mind blowing, exciting and rewarding! What a fantastic weekend and solid foundation for the balance of our journey to New Orleans!!
An Affair To Remember – Gala Event and Performance!
December 2! Often, to be successful you have to take chances and calculated risks! Somewhat creatures of habit and sticking with our known fundraisers – why not, they’ve been successful – our Management Team took a leap of faith with this proposed event and as it turns out it became their second-best decision of 2018 (the first one was to hire Joe!!)
One dedicated members vision became reality with the help of her committee and virtually everyone in the chorus. It was to be our first show under Joe’s direction and was meant to be an elegant affair to be remembered! And it was!
This event had it all: a vintage jazz and swing band, Peter Liu and the Pollcats to entertain us and accompany us in our finale number Boogie Bugle Boy; swing dance lessons; casino games; a live auction and most exciting of all, the Chorus’s inaugural performance with Joe!
The room was beautifully decorated; many of our members got tutored in advance and became card dealers extraordinaire for the evening. Funny money was flowing freely, and the substantial profits made from the casino games, the auction and the beautiful 40-page colour program will go a long way towards expenses as we continue our journey to New Orleans! We took a leap of faith and it payed off handsomely!
From the bottom of our hearts, we thank our families and friends, the many local Ottawa businesses who donated prizes or bought advertising! Without this kind of support and generosity, we’d be lost! Merci beaucoup – as Joe would say! Yes, he gets a little bit more Canadian every day and he believes himself to be well on the road to being bilingual throwing French words around like snowballs! He’s even corrected a few of our French-Canadian members a time or two! Whhaaaaaatttt????? (wink)
So what’s coming up next??
Annual Butterfly Child Benefit with Tara Shannon
December 7! Some 40 of our singers will be performing at this very special event in memory of the butterfly boy, Jonathan Pitre, who succumbed to the horrific and painful disease epidermolysis bullosa (EB) in April of this year. We’ve been invited to perform a set as part of the grand finale and sing backup to Tara Shannon for a very special song.
Some of you will recall that in April, we arranged to have a song ‘Turn Around’ written for our Master 700 Director Sandie Nason’s retirement. We surprised her by performing it on the Regional stage following our final championship win with her in Syracuse! Well, Tara Shannon wrote the song. Friday night, she will be singing it for her very special friend Jonathan Pitre. We rehearsed with Tara last night and I must say, it was pretty emotional! I can only imagine how tough it will be singing in front of his mother and other family members and friends in the audience Friday night! We aim to do the job right!
North Gower United Church Holiday Service
December 9! It’s been several years since we have joined the congregation of the North Gower United Church Holiday Service and we’ve missed it. A seasoning of our singers will attend and participate in the Advent Candle Lighting Liturgy and read scripture. The chorus will then perform a selection of our favorite Christmas carols. I can’t think of a better way to start the holiday season!
And with that, we call it a day. We hang up our dance shoes for a bit but we won’t put our music completely away as we have 35 Tuesdays – and a few sprinkles of coaching along the way – before International competition in New Orleans next September and we have much work yet to accomplish! So, we will individually take the time to learn our new ballad, commit all notes and words of our contest uptune and other recently acquired charts to memory so that we can return on January 8th and hit the ice gliding!
This was a long one! Thanks for reading!!
Let the song that lives in your heart be heard; be kind and loving and see you in the New Year! The best is yet to come!