From the Front of the Choir

Jennifer Noxon

Since setting our clocks back, the mother bear in me wants to hibernate. Darkness equals sleep in my world but in a couple of hours there will be thirty-odd warm bodies gathering to sing – and I wouldn’t miss it for the world. Though the singers, too, struggle with their animal instincts, by the time we’ve finished the vocal warm-up, we have mag-ically transformed into ‘happy energized people’. Over the course of the evening, we sing a lot, laugh, and make great music together.

noxonThis fall our repertoire includes a song from Cuba, an uplifting South African song ex-pressing a longing for home, a Finnish reindeer calling song, a Hebrew song, a Grego-rian style chant, a contemporary four-part song written to a piece by Mozart, and a longer pop song. These songs are sung in two to four part harmony. Each song is learned in the oral tradition. In the case of longer songs, lyrics are supplied.

What? No sheet music? You got it. Learning is done by repetition and review. It’s a great brain exercise and allows you to move. Singers work on posture (it’s true posture IS everything), breathing, rhythm, and listening skills. These enhance your ability to trust your voice and to sing with the whole body.

Contrary to popular belief, only a very small percentage of the population is scientifical-ly tone deaf. Sure, you may find it difficult to carry a tune on your own, but it doesn’t take long when singing in the company of others, to sing along without cringing. Your worries about a quiver, a waver, or an inability to hit the right note are dispelled. There is a strength in numbers.

It’s been ten months since I took on the role as leader of the Rhythm & Song Commu-nity Choir. In that short time, I have seen reluctant but willing singers move from the back row to the front row – their nerves turning into elation. New friendships have formed, bonds of community strengthened, stress relieved, and, I might add…animal instincts of hibernation overcome.

Don’t like to go out at night? In Almonte there are two sessions to choose from Monday afternoons or Wednesday evenings. There will also be a new session in Carleton Place on Thursday evenings. Once you are signed up for the session, you can come as often as you like, or make up for missed sessions at an alternate time. Not sure? Come and try two drop-in sessions before committing. Winter/spring sessions begin the week of January 23, 2017. Details of locations, dates and fees at www.jennifernoxon.com/choir.

Questions and pre-registrations by email at randsalmonte@gmail.com. Gift certificates available.