Podium Choral Conference coming to Ottawa in May!
April 27, 2012

Are you a choral conductor, chorister, composer, educator, administrator or overall choral enthusiast?  If so, you can’t miss the upcoming Podium 2012 - Choral Célébration Chorale taking placing in Ottawa from May 17-20.

A joint project of the Association of Canadian Choral Communities (ACCC) and Choirs Ontario, Podium 2012, is the top meeting place for Canada’s choral community and one of the best and most accessible professional development opportunities in the country.  Join us at the Lord Elgin Hotel and various performance venues in the Centretown area to hear some of Canada’s finest choirs, attend workshops with leading choral professionals, and exchange ideas with colleagues.

Podium 2012 will be the first Podium to be offered in both official languages. Workshops will be led by Francophone and Anglophone choral leaders and each session will include a powerpoint presentation in the other official language. In addition, all related handouts and print material will be available in both English and French and bilingual aides will be stationed throughout the venue to assist with directions and information. Welcome to our Francophone choral friends!
The Leading Note will be taking part, of course (it’s right up the street, how could we miss it!).  We will be hosting a Children’s Choir Reading Session on Saturday, May 19 at 9am, led by the wonderful Jackie Hawley, esteemed director of the Cantiamo Girls Choir and the Ottawa Children’s Choir.  The Leading Note will also have a display at the Podium MarketPlace Trade Show in the Lady Elgin room of the Lord Elgin Hotel.  Be sure to stop by and say ‘hi’.  We’ll have lots of choral music and other choral resources available with special discounts on orders placed at the show!
We could go on and on about all the amazing choirs from across Canada performing at Podium.  See the full list here.  We have tickets on sale at the shop for the three “Highlight” Concerts, available to the general public (fully registered Podium delegates get to attend these concerts at no extra charge).   The National Youth Choir and Toronto’s Elmer Iseler Singers perform Friday and Sunday night, respectively.  The Opening Gala Concert will feature a combined choir made up of singers from Ottawa-area community and high school choirs all under the direction of Matthew Larkin in a performance of Paul Winter’s enchanting Missa Gaia
The full schedule and registration form are available online at www.podium2012.ca.  The Leading Note is looking forward to seeing you there and welcoming all out of town visitors to our beautiful city!
OrKidstra News: Symposium Follow Up
April 19, 2012

For those of you following us in the blogosphere, you’ll remember that the end of March was a particularly busy time for those of us involved with The Leading Note Foundation’s OrKidstra program (so busy, in fact, that the store’s owners took off on holiday immediately following the event for a well deserved rest!).  We co-hosted a Symposium on Social Change Through Music on March 31st as well as other events celebrating the special influence Venezuela’s El Sistema has had on music education throughout the world.

The Leading Note is proud to carry several great resources for those who want to learn more about this amazing musical movement that has changed the lives of countless children.  These include:

Teaching the Life of Music

A newly released DVD documenting El Sistema inspired programs from around the world, including Ottawa’s own OrKidstra program. The film follows three OrKidstra students as they travel to Toronto to meet Dr. Jose Antonio Abreu and the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra (SBYO) as Dr. Abreu is awarded the Glenn Gould Prize for his contribution to music education. Also included is a bonus one hour concert film by the SBYO.

Changing Lives: Gustavo Dudamel, El Sistema, and the Transformative Power of Music

A newly published book chronicling how the El Sistema model transforms children’s lives both in Venezuela and throughout the world. Gustavo Dudamel, the internationally renowned conductor who came up through El Sistema and is now music director of the L.A. Philharmonic, is featured prominently as is his YOLA (Youth Orchestra LA) El Sistema-inspired program. Ottawa and the Leading Note Foundation also get a very brief mention on page 150!

Tocar Y Luchar (To Play and To Fight)

One of the first documentaries to be produced about El Sistema, this was the DVD that inspired the founders of The Leading Note Foundation to develop OrKidstra into the successful program it is today. With interviews with many of the world’s most celebrated musicians including the great tenor Placido Domingo, Claudio Abbado, Sir Simon Rattle, Guiseppe Sinopoli, and Eduardo Mata, To Play and To Fight is an inspirational story of courage, determination, ambition, and love showing us that only those who dream can achieve the impossible.

El Sistema: Music to Change Life

This lyrical and moving documentary takes us from the rubbish dumps and barrios of Caracas to the world’s finest concert halls. This film, focusing on the inner workings of El Sistema in Venezuela, came out a few years after “Tocar y Luchar” and, while it is extremely good – longer and somewhat more polished – it doesn’t quite capture the magic of El Sistema as much as the original film does.

We’ll leave you with highlights from the concert that closed the March 31st Symposium in Ottawa’s Dominion Chalmers Church.  Nothing captures the positive effects of music education on children better than seeing them perform together – it was a magical end to an inspiring day!  Many thanks to the Simon Bolivar String Quartet who kindly shared their passion for music with the children of OrKidstra both as fellow performers and as supportive audience members.

Symposium for Social Harmony through Music from JAG on Vimeo.

Resonance: The New RCM Voice Series
April 13, 2012

They are finally here – all 13 books in the new RCM Voice Series arrived at The Leading Note yesterday afternoon.  RCM’s music publisher, Frederick Harris, has given the series the name “Resonance”, following in the new naming tradition of “Bridges” and “Overtones” (the new guitar and flute series, respectively).  The series follows an identical grading system to the old 3rd Edition books – there are Repertoire books for Preparatory to Level 8 and companion books of Vocalises and Recitatives for Grades 5-7, 8, and 9-10 (this last one available in high or low voice).

The new series also includes these great new features:

  • a piano accompaniment CD included with each Repertoire book
  • musical theatre selections are now included in the Repertoire books
  • an IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) chart is also included in each of the Repertoire and Vocalises/Recitatives books

As always, the series includes a wide range of eras and styles and features a variety of languages.  Also included is a selection of Canadian songs, composers, and arrangers.  These books are essential for RCM (Royal Conservatory of Music) exam preparation but provide a rich and varied selection of repertoire for any voice student.  A new RCM Voice Syllabus has also been released to replace the 2005 Edition so come by soon to pick up your copy!