On February 13, 2016, we were pleased to host Edmonton’s a cappella groove monster, High Street Sound for a workshop and demonstration. We learned about their growth as a band and their creative process through experimentation and improvisation. James Anderson and Gloria Wan, the group’s beatboxers, invited some of our younger members to the stage to learn the basics of beatboxing. The kids loved the new sounds that they discovered possible, and left with a new appreciation and inspiration for creating their own music.
In the latter portion of the workshop, the six members of High Street Sound worked hands-on with choirs to develop skills and improve performance. The DCCS Children’s Chorus first sang Matthew Emery’s unison song “Let Your Voice Be Heard” and learned about the value of performing with energy and excitement, especially in a slower song with repeating text. The DCCS Youth Choir and Senior Children then performed an SSA arrangement of John Lennon’s “Imagine,” and worked to develop storytelling skills and how to maintain reverence when performing such an emblematic song. Notable, a 4-piece group of young girls, then performed a beautiful SSAA arrangement of ljkldjfkldjakfa and Larry Nickel’s SSA arrangement of “I Dreamed of Rain” – the entire audience learned about taking presence when leading in a vocal group as soloist, and about being confident especially in the lower parts of an arrangement. Finally, the DCCS Youth Choir and Community Singers took the stage to sing High Street Sound founding member Bryan LeGrow’s arrangement of “Weeping,” an anti-apartheid anthem by Bright Blue. We learned about the importance of relaxing into a laid-back, African beat, keeping long vowel tones, and generally rounding out the sound. High Street Sound members Jessica Wagner, Jessica Bulger, Laura Forster, Gloria Wan, Bryan LeGrow, and James Anderson all joined us in singing this piece. To end the day, all audience members and participants were invited on-stage to sightread an SAB arrangement of “May It Be” from the Lord of the Rings.
All in all, it was a great afternoon and we look forward to the next time we host a workshop, to smooth out any organizational bugs, timing issues, and other things that are bound to get derailed on the first go of something like this! We learned a lot about not only our everyday craft, but also about what is possible in the world of singing, and how we can become more confident choral performers.
Thank you to the Encana Corporation for sponsoring this event, and for the management and staff at Unchagah Hall for being so wonderfully accommodating!