New Member Experience
My name is Adrienne McLean. I became a member of Canadian Showtime Chorus in November of 2022 and I have been invited to share my experience with their New Member Program.
I retired shortly before the pandemic began and was hoping to become involved in a singing group once restrictions started to ease. A family member found CSC through a Google search and sent me the link to their website. I took one look at everyone’s smiling face and sparkly costume and I was hooked!
I quickly fired off an email to get more information and received a prompt reply. Their New Member program for the fall season was starting in two days. Perfect!
I showed up for rehearsal excited and nervous. The chorus member in charge of the New Member program was there to welcome me and set me at ease. I sat in the visitors’ chairs for rehearsal and was blown away. In my opinion, recordings don’t even come close to the live experience. I was immersed in beautifully blended female harmonies. I couldn’t wait to get started!
CSC is a well-oiled machine. I started receiving regular emails from the chorus almost immediately. I gained access to the website. I was informed that, if I was interested in becoming part of the chorus, a vocal placement would happen within a week or two, followed by a full vocal and choreo audition a few weeks after that.
Three chorus members attended my vocal placement, chatting with me ahead of time so that I felt comfortable. Once it was over (bari all the way!) I was matched up with another baritone, my Chorus Connection. She was very helpful and patiently answered my many questions. I started working on singing, and moving, to the audition piece. I realized that I was going to need help with the choreography. CC to the rescue! We worked on it together.
Audition Day came with my time slot right before rehearsal. My CC stood behind me, ready to help me vocally if I needed it. I was surrounded by ladies singing their parts while the music and choreography directors stood before me. I did my thing, more than once, and received a lot of positive and encouraging feedback.
They announced to the chorus during rehearsal that I was a new member of CSC. I was thrilled!
Thanks to all of you. CSC rocks!
A Year in Review!
The pandemic was still causing havoc at the start of 2022 and preventing us from gathering so we started the year off on Zoom. TNL (Tuesday Night Live) rehearsals continued until March 1 and we even celebrated our Charter Anniversary with members, alumni and special guests on Zoom. It was a terrific trip down memory lane!
The last rehearsal in February saw a return to in person, masked rehearsals in our temporary home at Jim Durrell Arena. In March we coached with Erin and again in April but this time ON RISERS! Karen Briedert was in the house in late April too! Talk about making up for lost time!
Much of our focus leading up to the Region 16 video contest in May was spent on our contest songs, finding a suitable venue for recording, and gathering! With so many new members, we attempted to simulate a regular contest day so that they could experience that wonderful and unforgettable first timer experience! We were delighted to be named regional champions and we look forward to representing our wonderful region in Louisville Kentucky in 2023.
In July we had the opportunity to collaborate with Kongero, an aca-folk quartet from Sweden. The event included a barbershop workshop delivered by Joe, a Swedish folk song workshop with Kongero and a joint concert in the evening to round off the event. As only 24-singers could fit on the stage, we formed octets and engaged in a friendly inhouse competition to earn a place in the ensemble. Along with an opportunity to learn and up our individual skills, it was a fun teambuilding experience.
After a generous summer break, we came together early September at beautiful Britannia Beach for a BBQ, a wee bit of singing and a whole lot of fun. A strategic planning session with Karen Briedert had to be deferred and will be rescheduled.
In October we returned to our former, long-standing home at the Nepean Creative Arts Center AND OUR RISERS!! We’ve had a couple of very successful money-making campaigns and an extremely successful new member program. We stand to gain 9 new members! We again coached with Erin in November and she helped us fill holes in the front row!
We had several fun singouts at the Ottawa Christmas Market and closed off 2022 with an awesome fun holiday party on December 13th. Give the members a “decorate your own table” challenge and stand back! Creativity and teamwork ruled supreme!
We came into 2022 with the intention to make it count! 2023 will be nothing short of spectacular!!
Harmony and Joy to all!
The beautiful thing about Sweet Adelines are the friendships you build along the way. There is a special connection you have with your chorus, and there are some lucky few who get to have two families as a dual member.
I joined Sweet Adelines at a very young age. I was only 16 when I became a member of Northumberland Chorus. I took a break from barbershop when I moved to Ottawa for university. I was in a rather tough place when I had to take a year off from school so I decided to get back into singing. That is when I found Bytown Beat.
What drew me to Bytown is that it had the same small-town vibe that Northumberland had. It is a small, tight-knit group of people, who embraced me, helped me through my rough time, and showed me all the love in the world. They expanded my Sweet Adelines family, loved me and brought the joy of singing back into my life.
During the pandemic, I heard about the virtual Christmas Chorus that Canadian Showtime was running. There were a few dual members in Bytown Beat already, and the challenge of a highly competitive chorus had intrigued me for a while. The Christmas Card went really well, and there just happened to be a new-members drive coming up in the new year. I decided to take advantage of the opportunity.
The CSC New Members Program was so much fun and broadened my SA family even more! I once again felt so embraced and loved. I also experienced the challenge of trying yet another new part (I’ve now been a Bari, Tenor and Lead!).
Each time I join a different chorus, I gain so many new skills. I hope that I’ve done a good job at bringing those abilities into everything I do. I’ve learned to be a better and stronger singer. I can now add Communications Coordinator and New Member Coordinator to my resume, and I’ve just become an all-around better person.
It is a lot of work being a member of two choruses, but so rewarding, and a welcomed challenge for an over-achieving woman like myself. I’ve been able to expand my family, I’ve met so many friends, and above all, I’ve gotten to experience some incredible music “only two nights a week”.
Harmony University 2022
This past July 24th- July 31st, I was able to attend Harmony University, put on by the Barbershop Harmony Society. It was in New Orleans at Loyola University and I couldn’t be more excited to have gone. After two years delay due to the pandemic, I couldn’t have been prepared for what lay in store for me when I arrived. At the airport, not only was I greeted by warm and enthusiastic staff, I was surrounded by like-minded individuals who shared common goals: learning more barbershop, and the love and dedication we have for this art form.
There were so many classes to choose from this year, which made it very hard to experience everything that we all have been craving to experience for the past few years. I feel that I excelled at gaining better knowledge in my role as a lead singer, performance and vocal; as well as leadership towards bettering myself in my quartet and chorus. From Principles of Physicality- led by Donya Metzger; to How To Be A Great Lead- led by Theo Hicks, the education I received during this week was truly inspirational and take home worthy.
Within the seven days on campus, you experience so much. From class at eight in the morning, until eight at night; and then singing tags and songs until midnight with ice cream, the enriched and open-hearted environment and culture of barbershop embeds itself into your core. You want to be the best singer you can be and experience that connection with others who share same enthusiasm and excitement.
One thing BHS has rooted into their culture is tags. Familiar with tags and know how fun and beautiful it can be, I’m not well practiced. I was quite intimidated, with every night having hours of tag singing: Would I be able to learn fast enough? Was I good enough to participate? Would people possibly get annoyed with me if I messed up more than anticipated? These questions had prevented me from fully participating in tag singing. So I was very excited when I learned about the course Tag Zone with Manoj Padki. This was a one hour class, every day, that taught you 3-4 tags each day. In a smaller group of people that were like me, in search of better learning about tags, it was less stressful to learn. Manoj was beyond welcoming and supportive, when it came to learning. Needless to say I conquered my fear, and was singing tags into the morning, each and every night.
To say that your life can change within seven days, is an understatement. I left HU with a better understanding of not only my role as a lead singer, but a more deep rooted understanding of myself as a performer and person who loves to sing! I thank Sing Canada for their financial assistance, allowing me to attend. It was enough assistance to allow me to focus my energy on singing, rather than finances, once I returned. Excited to return next year, there's only 333 days to go!
by Sarah Laham
Tag Zone. L-R: Bas de Bolster, Manoj Pidki, Sarah Laham, Laura W.
38 Years a Member of Sweet Adelines!
In November 1982, my friend invited me to her chorus rehearsal. After I heard the first chord of barbershop harmony, I loved it! This group was the prospective Nepean City Chapter of Sweet Adelines Inc. which was formed by Sandie Nason Kerr in January 1982. I became a member and my first performance on stage was in a chorus show called “Razzle Dazzle” in February 1983. I was so nervous that I thought the audience would see my lower lip trembling.
We received our charter in January 1984 and competed for the first time in April 1984 in Syracuse for Region 16. Sandie’s quartet competed as well and I believed I could never do anything that scary!
For years the membership remained rather small, hovering in the 30 something numbers. Everyone did things to bring in money for the chorus. We did car washes, flea markets and counted bingo cards. I even became a member of the Board of Directors.
For our 50’s show in 1989, Sandie put me in a quartet to sing “Love Me Tender”. I was a complete wreck! I asked Sandie if she was trying to kill us! Well, I went on stage and lived through it and I was on a high for 2 days afterward.
So, what has kept me in this chorus for 38 years? I discovered I could do things that I thought I would never do. I danced in the front row. I competed in a quartet. I became confident in front of an audience. Membership in Sweet Adelines has continuously been a learning experience for me. I learned how to sing barbershop harmony, the importance of vowels and proper breathing. I learned that “the show must go on” when I broke my arm ice skating and then wore a sling for our cowboy show.
Something else that has kept me with my chorus is the wonderful friendships I have made over the years. Recently the chorus was divided in octets in preparation for a performance. I got to know more members and I sang next to different people. I am very proud of my chorus because we kept performing throughout the Covid pandemic, first on Zoom then in person with masks. Throughout this difficult period, we lost some members, but we also gained 12 new members! We were one of the few choruses to compete in the Region 16 contest for 2022. I’m still hanging in there and I will see you in Louisville KY in the fall of 2023 because..... we won the regional competition.
Canadian Showtime Chorus
Ottawa, Ontario Canada.