Canadian Showtime Chorus WOWS Friends and Family At New Orleans Send-Off Performance! (08-Sep-2019)

Friday, September 6, 2019 started as any other Friday for mighty awesome chorus director Joe Connelly and the women of Canadian Showtime Chorus (CSC)! Some got up and got ready to go to work; others got ready to take on the challenges of the day; most likely started it all with a cup of coffee or tea! All however shared the same excitement – this was to be a coaching weekend with the fabulous, the one and only, Erin Howden!

Erin directs her own chorus, the amazing 5-time world champion gold medal winners, North Metro, in Toronto and coaches top notch choruses and quartets all over the world in both the women’s (Sweet Adelines International) and men’s (Barbershop Society) barbershop organizations. She is in great demand and we are lucky and grateful to have her as a member of our musical family! She and Joe have known one another for years as they both grew up in barbershop families. The respect and trust they have for one another is evident and their combined passion, enthusiasm, energy and musical talents has left imprints on the hearts of our members and has contributed significantly to the Canadian Showtime Chorus you see today!

They say it takes a village to grow an organization – a team – a chorus such as ours! Well it does! And we are so very grateful for all that everyone does to make us successful. In today’s blog, let’s call out a couple of very special groups of people! The riser team, the audio-visual team, the front row, the housing manager and the costume team!!

Riser Team:

(Alynne Miller, Wendy Haycock – Captain, Ruth Anne Henault, Liz Gibbs, Vita Prokoptsova, Karen Winterstein, Carol Dubue)

These are the dedicated – and strong – women who put up and take down our risers week in, week out! It is one thing to complete this task in our own rehearsal hall at the Nepean Creative Arts Center (NCAC) where the risers are stored but a whole different thing when we rehearse at other locations as we did this weekend. This means renting a truck, loading the risers at the NCAC, driving to the Jim Durrell Recreation Centre across town, unloading and putting up the risers early enough on Friday afternoon for the Front Row to have a 5 to 7 pm session alone with Erin. At the end of coaching – and this round that included a full dress-rehearsal send-off performance for our family and friends – they have to take down the risers, load the truck and drive it across town again. They took the evening off but were back at the NCAC Sunday morning to unload and return the rental truck! They are always willing, always giving and we want them to know that we appreciate them very much!

Audio-Visual Team:

(Mary Leat, Elena Elman)

We have a state-of-the-art sound board and giant speakers that go up week in, week out! When I say giant, I mean giant and heavy! When we rehearse anywhere but the NCAC we have a small blue-tooth speaker on wheels, but it is still an effort to haul around. The AV Team is always at the ready and makes it possible for us to blast warm-up music and to use a headset microphone when necessary! We couldn’t do this without you!

House Manager:

(Lynda O’Connor)

 She ensures the ‘house’ is always in order and when our home rehearsal hall is not available, she finds us an alternate location and makes all necessary arrangements for us. We have been to a couple of good locations, but the Jim Durrell Recreation Center is a gem of a place, in particular on days such as this weekend where we planned a send-off performance at the end of our coaching weekend! You take such good care of us! You have the magic touch!

Our Members’ Ambassador sent out a secret message to the chorus this week – excluding the riser team, audio-visual team, house manager and costume team members of course – and told us that we would be holding a recognition ceremony for these teams – and there was cake! Thank you all for your dedication and for going that extra mile. We appreciate all that you do!

(Insert pic of all mentioned above with cake)

Front Row:

This is one dedicated team! They meet early in a mirror studio for weeks leading up to a regional or international contest. When Erin is in town, they always benefit from two hours of dedicated front row coaching with her. They are keen, cohesive and dare I say a bit on the sore side today from two days of non-stop dancing and performing! They relish their time with Erin who pushes and challenges them to new heights every time she is town!! We thank you for your passion and energy and for making us look good!

(insert pic of FR with Erin)

Costume Team:

(Carole Griffin, Mardi Redshaw)

Now this is one that I can’t show you a picture because we want to make a big splash – a big reveal so to speak – when we step out on the international stage in New Orleans in just a little over a week from now! Let me just say that our costume team has outdone itself this round. What a gorgeous picture we paint! Joe’s costume was a big reveal for the chorus yesterday too – wow – what a dashing figure of a man! And he’s ours!! You’ve done an amazing job ladies at making us feel and look oh so fine!

It was an inspiring couple of days of coaching. Exhausting but so exciting to be coached at such a high level. One of the most beautiful moments of the coaching weekend was the last hour and a half of the day when we all sat in a circle on either side and around Joe. Every single member of the chorus spoke from the heart and let him know what he means to them and how he makes them feel. There were many shared sentiments, but everyone managed to find something unique and special that connected them to Joe! There were many thank you’s, tears, beaming faces and smiles, laugher and much gratitude. Of course – Joe being Joe – made sure to acknowledge members around the circle as well, shifting the spotlight from himself. Our humble Joseph! Another one of his many endearing traits!!

Former and founding chorus director Sandie Nason was with us for most of Saturday and we made her cry! She is overjoyed with where Joe has taken us in the last year since her retirement and she can’t wait to sit in the audience in New Orleans and cheer us on! We aim to make “Mother Nason” proud!

What better way to end the weekend but to get our new made-up look on, slip into our new costume and shoes and perform for our family and friends. And wow – did they ever show their appreciation and support! We had a full house; standing room only! We lined up in the hall and walked in as we will on the international stage on September 19th in New Orleans. It’s a brand- new walk-on and it looks terrific! Roaring applause – familiar faces everywhere! Beaming smiles and cell phones and cameras at the ready! It’s okay – they were asked to keep our costume under wraps until after we perform on stage in New Orleans and we trust them – no social media posts please and thank you and they will comply we are sure of it! Our little secret for now! Shhhh!!! J What a thrill to perform our set for this amazingly supportive audience. We owe YOU a multitude of thanks too!!

It’s a new journey and we have many more miles to cover, but we are genuinely thrilled with how far we have travelled so far! We cherish the relationships we have developed and the music that touches us emotionally where words alone can’t!

If you can’t be in New Orleans with us, we’d love it if you caught us on the webcast! It is free but does cost our parent organization Sweet Adelines International loads to provide, so all donations, large or small, will keep this service going for years to come!

Our estimated stage time on Thursday, September 19, 2019 is 7:21 pm, New Orleans local time!