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