Plant Sale Fundraiser on now

Sunny weather means our green thumbs get itchy this time of year! Our bedding plants and hanging basket sale is back by popular demand. Order before April 18, for delivery Saturday, April 27. That means you can order in time for Mothers’ Day gifts too!

click here to print the Plant Sale Fundraiser order form ’13

Youth Choir to represent Kiwanis Fest

We are so proud of our Youth Choir, conducted by Carrie Tennant. Last Saturday their moving performance at the Vancouver Kiwanis Festival garnered them “best community choir under 25″, a small cash prize and a chance to represent the local festival at the provincials. You can hear the Youth Choir at indiekor April 12 & 13!

Guelph Day 7 Part 2: The Festival

It’s midnight, and I’m just back from Cambridge where we sang in the Senior Treble Festival with Rollo Dilworth leading the workshops and 4 massed choir numbers.

After a leisurely morning (the kids got to sleep in at their hosts’ homes today) we all met in Cambridge at 12:45. Cambridge is about 30 minutes away from Guelph. I don’t know much about the town but there seemed to be a lot of strip malls and country back roads. We arrived at Calvary Baptist Church… and I have to honestly say that I’ve NEVER seen a church like this one. It’s modern, but also big beautiful acoustic spaces, a cafe inside, and a kids wing that is like Disneyland! SO inviting and fun. I found on the church website, some great photos and 360 degree video, so click here on this link to see what I mean about the church.

We had a few minutes on stage to work out our blocking, then we found out where we would stand for the massed choir pieces. Linda is a genius with this stuff: they actually put pieces of green painters’ tape every 2 feet apart, with the staggered “windows” for the next row… it was so efficient when the kids had to go on stage because they knew exactly where to go. And once spots were finalized, they actually wrote their names on the tape pieces. In the concert, it was totally slick.

We had 30 minutes to work with Rollo Dilworth. He is magic. Kids instantly connect with him, and he has such a gentleness about him coupled with brilliant musicianship. I asked him to help us with Gospel stylings and movement, and he was really helpful.

After that, we stayed in the sanctuary to listen to another group have their workshop because I wanted our singers to get used to the place and to hear other singers there. It’s very big! But the sound is remarkably good even with a small choir on stage.

They have this one day festival thing dialed: Each choir had an area for changing and gathering, and when food was served, it was all set out on different tables for each choir, so that even if a choir was late getting to the food, there was their servings all set aside for them. 

At 7pm the concert started, with It Takes A Whole Village and Shine On Me. I was so proud and thrilled that Linda let our 3 guys sit in with the percussion section to play! Rollo had all 250 voices sounding terrific.

What a treat to hear such good singing tonight: Oakville Children’s Choir, Georgian Bay, Mississauga, Bach Children’s Choir, Toronto Children’s Choir, Guelph and us. I have notes all over my program because every piece that was sung was so good… and such beautiful tone from all the choirs. I was really proud of our Coastal Sound singers. Linda debriefed with me afterwards, and commented a few times at how un-self conscious they are- how “they all do all the marching on stage without any eye rolling” and how they really get into character in the Italian number. Means a lot to hear from her that they did well, but I felt like it went well too. It was a real growth and learning experience to meet the other conductors, hear and see the beautiful work they are doing, and to chat about “all things children’s choir” !!!

So hope you all feel as proud as Kim, Angela, Barry and I do of the kids. They have been really fun, brave, engaged and committed on the tour. And they performed really well tonight, and were leaders in the massed pieces. I couldn’t be more happy/ relieved/ proud!

What a treat to finally hear the entire Guelph Youth Singers choirs II and III! What fine singing! What gorgeous repertoire! What lovely tone and attention to line!

Not sure if I’ll get a chance to blog tomorrow, so I will wrap things up here.

Tomorrow we say good bye to our friends here, and we head to Toronto to the airport. Expect your kids to be TIRED because of the time change, and also because of the action packed week.

Thanks for raising such beautiful kids. They have been a joy all week. And even though they don’t all see it in themselves, I can assure you that they are all walking around with this new found quiet confidence- walking a little taller and prouder now. No doubt about it.

See you in Vancouver! ~Diana

Guelph Day 7: Part 1

Here it is Saturday morning- I’ve just sent off the intro for the choir that will be read as we come onto the stage, so it all feels quite real now. In my mind, I’m freaked out about the big space and our small group, but today is really all about hearing these other brilliant choirs and working with Rollo Dilworth, and getting to sing together in the massed choir. That will be fabulous, and it’s great music to sing en mass too.

I never got around to filling you in about our day yesterday:

We stayed in a cute hotel in Niagara that featured a New Orleans style courtyard where a DIY buffet breakfast was served. They had these “make your own waffles from a dixie cup full of dough” machines that were fun.

We headed off in formal uniform to perform at a place called The Heatherwood. We were really kindly received and the kids sounded great. We sang for a full hour, and GYS joined us on the 4 massed pieces, plus they sang Diane Loomer’s arrangement of Song of Peace on their own. The only way to get better at performing, is to perform… and we’ve done lots of that this week.

After juice, cookies and squares with the audience there, we headed to Niagara Falls. First stop, the IMAX theatre to learn about the history of people actually going over the falls- intentional and accidental. At first I was kind of thinking that it was weird to spend so much time watching a movie ABOUT the falls, without having SEEN the falls, but after the film I realized that we’ll have a whole new appreciation and respect for the falls when we get there.

Back on the bus, a short ride to the falls, and we had some time to walk along the upper balcony over looking them at the Table Mountain Welcome Centre area. Inside, we had pizza lunch and then headed down stairs to the walk behind the falls area. Well…. there is a reason that there are very few tourists here this time of year… the portals where you view “behind the falls” are completely iceburg-ed in. We found one portal where we could stand 1/2 way down the falls, and off to the side for a close up view. Apparently in the summer, all that we saw boarded up, is open and you can walk around out on a lower deck. For us though, it was all closed and iced over. Nevertheless, we were there and sang “Jordan’s River, is chilly and cold… “etc.

Upstairs to Niagara’s Fury 4D experience about how the Falls were formed. You know you are in for something zany when the first thing you do is put on this full body blue plastic bag, complete with a hoodie! ACK! THEN they take you into a round room with a grate on the floor and an awful lot of water all around the grate, and movie screens in 360 degrees above that. SHRIEK!!!!!!  I know we learned about the geology and ice age in all of this… between screams….

Back to viewing the falls, then a short 30 minutes of power shopping on Clifton Hill. This is the “Vegas Strip” of haunted mansions and wax museums and neon. 30 minutes wasn’t long enough to hit the attractions, but apparently it was plenty of time to load up on the worst food colouring saturated chemical sugar candy imaginable. I guess I’m a chocolate snob. And what to do? Let them eat it all at once like they want to and then deal with the insanity that will ensue, then the sugar hang over later? Or do we attempt to make them ration it out so they are buzzed up and down for days? ……. We went for option 1.

We got back on the bus and headed for Betty’s Restaurant. An all you can eat buffet out of town, that was just perfect for us: great fish and chips, roasted chicken, vegetarian pasta, nice salads and home made pies!

A 2 hour bus ride got us safely back to Guelph, where we said goodbye to Darryl, and went home with our billets  for the night, and to prepare for our TREBLE FESTIVAL DAY today.


Guelph Day 6: The busride debrief.

We’re on the bus heading back to Guelph after a whirlwind 2 days in Niagara, complete with a hotel stay in Niagara Falls.

I got a prime location here at the back of the bus, where all the group leaders are, and they are contributing to the blog tonight. We’ve enjoyed a phenomenal (I’m running out of superlatives these days!) day in Niagara Falls. The younger kids are bonkers from eating so much candy- how they managed to buy so much so fast is astounding- and so I’ve come to the back of the bus so that I can listen in on what’s going on. I’m hanging with our fab senior singers doing a group interview, typing as they chat:

Q: Have you had a good tour so far?

A: Yes!

A: No… I’ve had an AMAZING time!!!


Q: What is your favorite thing that we’ve done?

A: CN Tower, because when do you ever get to stand on a glass floor 347 meters (I think) above the ground?!

A: The 4 D thing: Niagara’s Fury. It was wet. It was realistic. I didn’t actually mean that. It was a new experience. Why are you doing this to us? It was also soapy. (true dat.)

A: Singing in the back of the bus because it was bonding time and good practice.

A: Meeting Guelph singers and making new friends. Getting closer to our already friends.

A: The food in the restaurants! Yes! Definitely.


Q: What do you think you are going to remember forever?

A: The Niagara Falls because I’ve never been there and it’s the 7th wonder of the natural world.

A: CN Tower because it was so windy- I loved the windy part and the glass floor!

A: The Wizard of Oz! Because it was just great- awesome possum!

A: Oh YAH- Ladysmith Black Mambazo. It was really amaZAYN to sing with them and to listen to such experienced singers. That was good.

A: We’ve done so much, I’m glad we get a break tomorrow. (Me: Uh, it’s the festival tomorrow- not exactly a BREAK.. but you do get to sleep in.)

A: Fort George- that guy who fired the musket. That was cool. We sound like teenagers. Noooo. Oh my gosh. Don’t write that. He was the funniest social studies teacher we will ever meet!


Q: What did you learn from this trip? What are you going to tell your family and friends and teachers about first?

A: I learned to engage with everything I am doing.

A: I learned how to make wine. Taste wine, drink wine. (FOR THE RECORD the singers did NOT have wine! It was grape juice.)

A: Guelph lost a lot of heritage buildings because of the ‘60s.

A: The butterfly place with the snake. (we can’t agree on whether is was a boa, anaconda or python.) That was spectacular. We learned about venom too. And I got a fear of butterflies.

A: I got over 2 fears: heights and snakes!

A: It’s amazing how big the mall is.


Q: Do you feel like you are changed in any way this week? Do you feel like you are going home a different person?

A: Yes. Yes! Yep because I saw how generous my host family was.

A: Yes because now I will want my milk in a bag.

A: REALLY? Your family had those milk bags too????!!!!

A: I believe that “Shining” is the best choice. Does that make sense?

A: Nope. But maybe it’s because I don’t see it in myself because it’s me. (Me: I see you guys as having grown a lot this week. )

A: I don’t feel taller.


Q: Where do you want to tour next?

A: Somewhere WARM!

A: We should actually take a choir VACATION next year! (others all chime in YES!!!) Not a tour where we have a performance every 3 hours.


Q: What have you learned about singing, by singing with the Guelph Youth Singers?

A: Ya they are really, really good.

A: Sometimes changing little things (ie. Tempo) can completely change how you perform.

A: Precision.

A: Memorizing music can sometimes restrict you to auto pilot. Like people who make up harmonies and notes when they don’t actually read the music.


We are almost at GYMC now, so am leaving the back of the bus.