Monday Night Choir

Annual General Meeting

June 27, 2016– Director’s Report


If I were to use one word to summarize this past choir year, it would be that it was a year of “firsts”. It was the first time we memorized much of the repertoire; the first time the choir divided into smaller ensembles and was required to learn material solely by ear; the first time we learned a song and then pulled it from the programme; the first time we sang repertoire by women composers, including a Canadian woman; the first time we collaborated with a dance ensemble and put on a “show”; the first time we almost got a liquor license for a show; and the first time we got a proper logo and website.

The fall term began on September 14. We welcomed new members: sopranos, Emilie Moorhouse, Saleema Nawaz Webster, Claire Salisbury, and returning soprano Danielle Brown; alto Laura Copeland, and returning alto Miriam Ginestrier; tenors, Joey Ranallo, Campbell McClintock, and Eric Dougherty; basses Chris Finlay, Peter Paproski, Jeffrey Malecki, and returning bass Jeremy Eliosoff.

Fall Term Programme was:

  • Marie Picard – a Quebecois folksong, sung by only the women, with foot tapping done by Lizzie Smith

  • There Are Some Men by Philip Glass (as suggested by Rebecca West)

  • Because by the Beatles (as suggested by Danielle Brown)

  • Didn’t Leave Nobody But the Baby, sung by only the women

  • Old Time Religion (with solos sung by Saleema Nawaz Webster, Brendan Birkett, and Ken Dobell)

  • Hlonolofatsa

We also learned the song Pick a Bale of Cotton – sung by only the men. However, many people were uncomfortable with the choir singing it, so after much discussion, the song was pulled from the repertoire.

Our final term concert was held on Sunday, December 6 at the Chinese Presbyterian Church with the Rock Camp for Girls Choir opening. Again, it was pay-what-you-can and we collected non-perishable food items at the door, which were donated to the Mile End Mission.

A few hours before our concert, we sang at the Mile End Mission Christmas luncheon at the YMCA on Parc Ave – singing to a rather noisy audience, one man who very much liked the Beatles number, a child who like Jeffrey’s percussion and NDP leader Tom Mulcair.

We added an additional rehearsal on Monday, December 7, which was held at Santropol Roulant, to practice holiday repertoire for their event on December 10. Afterwards, many choristers gathered at Else’s across the street.

On December 10, we caroled at the Santropol Roulant luncheon to an eager to participate audience. Afterwards, a woman from the audience approached me to ask why we did not sing any Hannukah songs. I explained why and how I had chosen the repertoire (repertoire was chosen from our last Fall term ‘Carol’ themed program since this term we did not include any holiday fare). I apologized and told her I would consider repertoire more carefully in the future so as to be more inclusive.

Second term began on January 11 with yet another membership turnaround. New members included: returning sopranos Allison Gonsalves and Pamela Gomez; altos Christine Zoltok, Juliet Lammers, and Lia Roy; and tenor Laurent Laigneaux.

Winter Term Programme was:

  • A Rose is A Rose is A Round by James Tenney

  • Rosmarin by Brahms

  • Zaspala Li Si – finally a Bulgarian women’s choir folk song as requested many moons ago by Kaia Scott, sung by a small women’s ensemble.

  • Three Songs for Choir by Philip Glass

  • Astronaut Anthem by Meredith Monk

  • Find the Cost of Freedom, sung by a small men’s ensemble

  • Magnificat by Christine Donkin (sang by only the women, soloist Saleema Nawaz Webster)

  • Psalm 30, Shenandoah shape note

  • For All We Know, a doowop number sung by a small men’s ensemble.

On June 4, a few men from the choir participated in a recording session for Sam Shalabi at the Hotel2Tango.

On June 5, the choir sang A Rose is A Rose is A Round – four times for 20 minutes straight each time, at the Suoni Per Il Popolo festival’s event “Postal Pieces de James Tenney interprete par le Quatuor Bozzini et amis.” It truly was a test of resilience and stamina, and, as with most Suoni shows we’ve participated in, was first met with trepidation but after, proved to be a wonderful event that brought the choir closer together.

The evening after, we had a rehearsal at the Conservatoire with the dancers for the first time. On Wednesday June 8, we had a dress rehearsal at the Ecomusee du Fier Monde, and on Thursday, June 9, we presented our show.

On June 11, we sang at the Mile End Mission’s 25th Anniversary Open House.

Because the last week of the term was such a busy one, we held our AGM on Monday, June 27.

Next year’s season and membership fees will be as follows: September 12, 2016-December 5, 2016 (no rehearsal October 10): $25 with final concert on the afternoon of Sunday, December 11. Second term: January 9, 2016-May 29, 2017 (no rehearsal April 17): $40 with a final concert TBD.

I’d like to thank this year’s executive committee: Leah Garfield-Wright as president, Mira B-W and Allison Gonsalves, treasurers, and secretary, Lizzie Smith.

Thank you to those of you that organized and hosted sectionals throughout the year. Once again, a big thanks to Gordon for recording the rehearsals and all his work posting them - and for all his work this term first finding someone to film the final show and then the numerous hours spent editing the footage. Thanks to Emilie for suggesting the Ecomusee. Thanks for David for hosting the party in January and the AGM, and for helping with the German pronunciation for Rosmarin. Thank you to Spike and Cheryl for all your creative help with the June show. Thank you to Campbell for trying so hard to get doo-wop jackets. Thank you to Peter and Elizabeth for their musical contributions. It really made the show extra special.

I’d like to especially thank Rebecca, Leah and Ken. Firstly Rebecca who under her own initiative applied her expertise in communications to set up a number of social media accounts, forms and mailers for the choir. Thank you so much. A much needed makeover for the choir. This set the gears in motion and as per Rebecca and Ken’s suggestion, the need for a visual identity for the choir (time for a logo and a proper website!) Leah and Ken took this idea and ran with it, putting in countless hours meeting, designing, tweaking, I don’t even know what else – and creating the most beautiful logo and website. They still today have been emailing back and forth working on the site. They deserve a big round of applause. I have never seen such commitment, passion and expertise in one place – and all done voluntarily. You have been so generous. I can’t thank you enough.

Here’s to another great year of choir.

Dina Cindric, Montreal, QC