Workshop with Canadian Chamber Choir Feb 24

The Canadian Chamber Choir includes singers, conductors, composers, educators, choreographers and scholars of Canadian choral music. In one package, this group is able to address a number of our curriculum goals. This mini conference with the Canadian Chamber Choir will explore a number of music curriculum areas: vocal technique, conducting gesture, innovative programming including collaborations with indigenous musicians, choral arranging and composition, Canadian repertoire and more. 
Under the visionary leadership of Julia Davids, the choir convenes in a different region of Canada at least twice a year, offering concerts and mentoring choral practitioners of all ages and stages.
Wherever the Canadian Chamber Choir performs, they are met with praise for their expressive, committed interpretations, and their warm enthusiasm for sharing their gifts in the community. Concerts feature world premieres on every tour, workshops draw singers at any ability-level into vibrant music making, and masterclasses offer conductors and composers hands-on experience with one of the finest choirs on the continent.  
Learn more about the Canadian Chamber Choir:
Presented by Coquitlam Music Teachers’ Association, Coquitlam Teachers’ Association, with assistance from BCMEA and Coastal Sound Music Academy

When: Friday, February 24, 8:45am-2:30pm  
Where: Dr. Charles Best Secondary
2525 Como Lake Ave, Coquitlam

8:45am – check in 

9am – introductions and warm ups that teach vocal technique, with the Canadian Chamber Choir

9:45 – Canadian Chamber Choir mini concert

10:15 – coffee break/ time to chat

10:30 Special Topics #1 – choose from 
Vocal Technique 
Making the most of Male Voices 
Composing and Arranging

11:30 – lunch on site

12:15 – Special Topics #2 – choose from
Developing Voices/Q&A
Canadian Choral Repertoire 

1pm – short break

1:10pm – closing session with Canadian Chamber Choir: sing a piece all together, apply vocal technique

1:35pm – wrap up with Canadian Chamber Choir

1:45pm -2:30pm informal time to collaborate, share, process and debrief with colleagues


PayPal – to Michelle Reichert
etransfer to (email password to Michelle)
mail cheque to CMTA, attn. Michelle Reichert, 
Moody Middle, 3115 Saint Johns Street, Port Moody, BC V3H 2C6

Registration February 2-23, pay $25 for CMTA members; $45 for non- members

On-Site registration is $30 for CMTA member; $50 for non-members. Sorry, no early bird discount.


The Best Warm Ups

It’s been said that the best warm up might be a brisk walk! Gets the breath moving, gets the body engaged, clears the mind, connects us with nature… all good stuff for singers to prepare themselves mentally, physically and spiritually for singing.
I’m also a firm believer in vocal warm ups that connect to repertoire- exercises that specifically allow us to practice techniques that we need for the repertoire we’ll be working on. Often, we’ll do mini warm up type exercises between pieces in rehearsal, depending on what we need to feel or set up for in the repertoire.

As my own voice ages, I am fully understanding the importance of warm ups to keep my voice feeling relaxed and vibrant- especially after a busy day when I am walking into a rehearsal. Sure, my voice has been talking and working all day, but taking a few minutes to reinforce and remind my body what focused, shimmering and free tone feels like, is more important than ever- ESPECIALLY on those stress-filled days.

Do you have a favorite warm up? Write me, and I’ll share your faves on our blog.

Float Your Sound

What activity is most similar to singing?
If you answered “flying” then you are on the right track!
There is a whole lot of technical explanation that could go here, but for our goal of singing effortlessly, think of your sound as floating on air, as opposed to the air forcing or pushing the sound out. You can practice this feeling by inhaling silently as though you were smelling something yummy- now hold that “lifted face” feeling, and sing gently into your hand with your palm/ heel of hand facing you, fingers pointed up, palm in a relaxed curve towards you. Feel that sense of float and lift in the sound? Feel like you could sing/float a long time on your air? Good! To hear the difference in tone and feel the difference in effort, sing with your palms pointing/ pushing away from you. AHA!

Registration Form for the Adult Summer Singing Workshop 2012


Registration Form for the Adult Summer Singing Workshop 2012


Please return this completed form with a cheque to cover the cost of the registration fee by July 6, 2012. 

For information on Summer 2013 singing workshops, contact

Please note that a package of choral music for the workshop will be available for pick-up from Redeemer Lutheran Church after July 6th.  You tube links (if available) for the pieces will also be e-mailed out to all participants at the end of June.


Personal Information


Name: _______________________________________________________________


Phone numbers: _______________________________________________________


E-mail address: ________________________________________________________


Health concerns, allergies or medical conditions of which we should be aware:




Emergency contact: _____________________________________________________


What is your voice type? : ________________________________________________



Please note: you are asked to prepare one solo song that you would like to sing during the workshop.  Please bring at least 2 copies of the sheet music with you to the workshop.



If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact Jennifer Farrell at, or Siri Olesen at (604) 421-1202, or



Thank you, and we look forward to seeing you in August!


Trying to be tension free…

Tension in the body = tension in the voice (and tension in the voice can lead to ‘vocal fry’ or more serious damage)
The next time you go to sing, be aware of your body- are you standing or sitting with relaxed but solid spinal alignment? Is your neck and face relaxed and aligned? Try massaging your face while you sing to make sure that there is no tension there. Notice if it feels like you are “holding” or tight anywhere in your body. Look in the mirror and sing: How is your head aligned? Do you jut out your chin or tilt your neck when you sing? When your body is aligned you’ll find that you don’t tire as easily, and your voice will be more free and flexible.
Go ahead and ask for that massage- your voice will thank you!

What the heck is “Passaggio”?!

Sing a slow “sliding siren” noise from very low to very high. Do you feel a “flip” or “break” or “lift point” on certain notes as you go- where your voice moves from one place of resonance to another? (Chest Resonance to Head Resonance for example) Some singers complain that it’s difficult to sing “on the break” notes- also called the passaggio-where this change occurs. It’s our goal as singers, to be able to sing with consistent beautiful tone in all registers, at all dynamics, on all vowels. Often pop singers “push” and strain their voices by trying to sing with chest resonance up past the passaggio into the higher registers. Making the transition across the passagio as seamless as possible is an important skill for good singers:
~Try to take the weight out of your voice but keep the air flowing as you negotiate the passaggio.
~Isolate the specific issue causing problems for you: is it airflow, vowel, space… and work at exercises to help that.
~Ask for help from one of our expert vocal coaches!

The Ooooh Position


Our Boychoir director and Baritone soloist Riley McMitchell, made us all laugh at rehearsal recently when he shared this story:  Riley was singing in Germany, and feeling tense about his singing. From Germany, he phoned his teacher in Indiana- the Romanian soprano and master vocal coach Virginia Zeani. Over the phone lesson, she said to Riley:

“My dear, put eeet in zee oooh pozishan…..  
now, how is your life?”

Riley says that it’s funny how such a simple thing makes such a difference.  It really does solve a lot of vocal issues.  “It’s one of the things I always come back to when something isn’t working… especially in a performance situation.”

Put it in the “oooh” position. See what happens with YOUR singing! Maybe your life will improve too!

Thanks for sharing this wisdom Riley!