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Chris MacLean
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During this current COVID-19 pandemic, many people feel the need for community, connection and singing more than ever. Just because we are practising social distancing, doesn't mean we can't enjoy the benefits of distance socializing! Singing is a great way to release physical and emotional tension; calm you down; increase your sense of well-being; contribute to resilience; improve cardio vascular and respiratory health; alleviate muscle tension and physical aches and pains; enhance your listening skills; improve in general alertness; and elevate endorphins (the feel-good hormone). Sounds like good medicine, right?

The Song Kitchen Choir on ZOOM – TWO 6-week sessions this fall

Monday evenings 7 – 8:30pm EST from SEPT 21 – Oct 26 AND Nov 9 – Dec 14
Tuesday afternoons 12:30 – 2pm from SEPT 22 – Oct 27 AND Nov 10 – Dec 15

If you are interested in joining us, please register ASAP by sending an email here. Indicate which time slot is your preference. After registration and payment (by e-transfer or personal cheque) you will be given the zoom link.
You will need Zoom 5 (the latest update). Yes you can join in to try it out.
Please note: it's not quite like in-person choir sessions. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • For much of the Zoom session everyone is muted, except Chris. Chris sings the parts and you either listen or sing along, as instructed. The resaon we can't all be unmuted is the lag time on Zoom makes it impossible for the sound to blend. It becomes cacaphonous. Additionally, it's the loudest voice that is heard above the others, which is not always best:) Zoom is an imperfect platform, but our best option at this point.
  • So this means you will NOT be heard. This can be an advantage to those who find singing with others intimidating! You can sing at the top of your lungs and, aside from the people/pets in your house or apartment, no one will hear you:) The downside is that you won't get that 'choir' experience of singing inside of a large group. However, Chris does provide harmony tracks to sing along with.
  • Please print lyrics BEFORE each weekly session. If you are registered, they will be emailed to you. They will also be posted in the chat window of Zoom, but this is distracting not only for you, but also for Chris. Best to come prepared.
  • Have water on hand. It's important to keep hydrated while singing.
  • Sometimes we do a check-in during which everone is invited to unmute – please wait your turn and keep comments relatively brief to allow everyone an opportunity to share.
  • Each week we'll start with a physical warmup, vocal play, and then we'll work on the songs. We'll work on a few short songs and a few longer ones each week. Some longer songs we will work on over more than one week, so that people have a chance to learn their harmony parts. Practice between meetings is not obligatory.
  • After each weekly meeting, Chris posts the song tracks on a Google drive for choir members to download and practice with (if they want).

COST: $70 for 6-weeks or $15 to 'drop-in'
This covers the prep time, which is significant, and operating costs. For those for whom the fee is a challenge, sliding scale is an option. Please let Chris know. No one is left out because of lack of funds!

The Song Kitchen Choir is an a cappella, non-auditioned community choir for singers of all abilities. The songs are mostly taught by ear and come from many spiritual, cultural and musical (including folk/roots, pop, gospel and world music) traditions.

The SONG KITCHEN is not associated with any particular religion or spiritual path and singers of all levels are welcome. There is no audition required, and the ability to read music, although an asset, is not necessary.

Why is it called The Song Kitchen, you might ask? The name refers to gathering together in a warm and inviting atmosphere where we prepare, blend, simmer and spice the songs on the menu – each song a recipe that we follow, while spontaneously adding the occasional pinch of unique flavour. It is not a pick-up choir, or a jam session.

Circle of Songa 5-week singing experience on Zoom sponsored by the Tatamagouche Centre in Nova Scotia.
Thursdays 1 – 2PM AST (12pm EST) from October 15 – November 12, 2020
Registration is through the Tatamagouche Centre

Circle Singing! We'll resume when we are allowed to gather in person.

Click here to listen to 'The Benefits of Circle Singing', Chris's interview on I Am Alive Wellness Show, CKCU, May 3 2018


Over the past few years, I have been exploring Circle Singing with my teacher Rhiannon and the master of Circle singing himself, Bobby McFerrin. It’s fun, positive, freeing, powerful, promotes communal listening & camaraderie. 
 
What is circle singing? Basically it’s an opportunity to participate in the spontaneous creation of song – each song unique to the moment, never to be repeated. The singers gather in a circle, grouped into parts (based on vocal range). The leader creates simple rhythmic or harmonic patterns and teaches each group their part as the song builds. The patterns (parts) can be morphed (changed). We sing in a mistake-free zone. We are encouraged to listen and let go.

Singers of all abilities are welcome, although to work well we require enough participants - minimum 5 strong singers or 20 less confident singers. The more people who participate, the easier and more enjoyable it is for everyone. There is strength in numbers!

Circle Singing is for people who want to really open up their voice, while exploring rhythm, harmony and dynamics. Most importantly, it’s about being part of a joyful, non-judging circle of singers, gathered in a safe, welcoming and sacred space. You don’t have to do anything wild, just use your ears, jump in and sing the part you’re taught, hold that part with the group you’re in, notice how it blends in with the other parts, and ENJOY! The effect is quite magical - transcending the boundaries age, ability, gender, language, culture and religious. affiliation.


TESTIMONIALS:

Chris MacLean makes you feel completely at home in the choir, no matter what your musical background might be.  She is highly knowledgeable, creates a warm and inclusive atmosphere which promotes happy and meaningful singing. If you want a place to sing freely for the pure love of music, you’ve found a home with Chris MacLean. Regiena Heringa, , Wakefield

I've sung in a few choirs in my time and have a fair amount of formal music training and I love coming to Chris's choir along with my friend who has no music training whatsoever. The choice of songs gives my heart great joy and the way they are taught has us sounding fine amazingly quickly. There is melody, great harmony and lots of laughter. I always feel great singing in this choir. Peggy Campbell, Wakefield

There is something primal about singing with other people - it is easy to forget how much joy music can bring to our lives. The Song Kitchen Community Choir, driven by Chris MacLean, offers a safe, fun environment for veteran singers and beginners alike. Sweet, sweet harmonies, for one, for all. Come sing! Tina Therrien, Wakefield

Every time you look at these (picture a bouquet of beautiful flowers), know from the beauty you see and the joy you feel, how much pleasure you have brought into my life. Annick Landry, Wakefield

Thank you so much for bringing the Song Kitchen Choir to the Wakefield area.  I have enjoyed the singing so very much.  The rounds are a lot of fun, and I love the way the 4-part harmony pieces flow through my head and make me smile!! The South-African songs are amazing and so uplifting! I hope that this choir will grow and that we can spread our joy - ‘Together in Song’!
Thank you for the Music! Doreen Lemieux, Wakefield

Not knowing what to expect from a song kitchen choir, I was pleasantly surprised to meet Chris, who is down-to-earth and welcoming of everyone, regardless of musical ability. Her attitude inspired success and her broad range of music kept us fully engaged throughout each session. It was always surprising how quickly she was able to get us all singing in different harmonies with so little practice. Each evening was fun and uplifting. I'm looking forward to the next one! Jisèle Charlton, Wakefield

I have always loved choral music from listening to Choral Concert on CBC Sunday mornings to loving groups like the Good Lovlies and Great Big Sea.  Joining the Song Kitchen Choir this year has been a wonderful opportunity for me to finally raise my own voice in song with a group of other people who like to sing. It has been a delight to realize that I too can sing in harmony. Your choice of songs have been varied, a bit challenging and always fun. I am very much looking forward to being in the choir next year and I encourage anyone who loves music to give it a try. Leslie Mills, Wakefield

I wasn't expecting the choir to sound as good as it did since most (if not all) of the singers are untrained -- particularly the harmonies, which I thought sounded so beautiful! Andrea Rowe, Wakefield

I joined the Song Kitchen Choir not knowing what to expect. I'm not a strong singer but can keep on tune...sort of. What I found was a group of people who were just like me! We had a lot of fun learning to sing together.  What I liked about Chris MacLean was her ability to teach us songs and make it easy and fun. We always learned new short songs and could do it in rounds. I looked forward to Monday night singing with the group. Barb McMillan, Wakefield

Chris Maclean’s “Song Kitchen Choir” has been everything I hoped to get out of being in a community choir. It provides an excellent balance of warm-up exercises, short and interesting vocal pieces, and longer songs that our group could really dig into. I especially appreciate that songs from other cultures and in other languages were included. These excursions help us step outside ourselves and try on different voices. This is very important, because people all over the world understand that it’s their birthright to sing, but this is not necessarily encouraged in all cultures, especially in settings where the emphasis is placed on achievement rather than engagement. Personally, I felt that I finally had “permission” to sing, to make mistakes and laugh, and to lean on others in the group without fear of generating resentment. That kind of group atmosphere only happens with a wise and compassionate choir leader, which Chris herself most certainly is! Peter MacGibbon, Wakefield

I am one of those people, who only 10 months ago would have firmly declined singing out loud, let alone singing in a choir ... but under Chris MacLean's graceful, empowering, conscientious guidance and teaching, I have experienced the rich joy of joining others in song.  I encourage folks to join Wakefield's Kitchen choir next fall.  It is so much fun!!! Ilse turnsen, Wakefield

Rise Up choir has freed me to sing more often and out loud at home. The group and the songs lift my spirits and I am energized at the end of each session. I am so happy I was introduced to it by a friend. Elaine O’Reilly, Ottawa

Thank you for your inspiring leadership of the group.  At the end of every Thursday session, I leave with a soaring spirit. Brian Jeanes, Ottawa

Chris is a wonderful voice teacher! I'm an experienced singer and performer, and have sung in many different groups and settings, but I have never worked with a choir leader who helped me to improve my voice as much as Chris has done. Her attention to proper breathing, posture, and tone, and her use of innovative vocal exercises and techniques is far and away the best voice training I've ever had in a choral group setting. Pat Lucey, Ottawa

Before joining Chris's community choir, I had never experienced the beauty of singing in a group and hearing other voices blend with my own. It often left me with goosebumps. It is an amazing feel good experience that leaves you wanting more. Dany Belanger, Ottawa

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QUICK LINKS

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR
The Song Kitchen Community Choir on ZOOM

Chris is a graduate of the Community Choir Leadership Training given by Shivon Robinsong and Denis Donnelly (leaders of the reknowned Gettin' Higher Choir in Victoria) and a member of the Ubuntu Choir Network.