Our unschooling, Suzuki music-playing, back-to-nature tech-nerd small-town life. Oh, and running and cycling too.
The recording above was made at their first performance of the season, a couple of weeks ago in Silverton. That’s Erin you see in the title frame, second from the left in front. Noah figures a few times in the course of the video, one of the guys in the front row. The performance was pretty good considering where they were in their preparations i.e. just starting to pull things together for their tour and main hometown concerts next month. Zulu Mama is one of their “just have fun” songs; even though it’s not one of the most polished or impressive ones, I put this one up because it shows their happiness so clearly.
Over the past week they’ve been through some really intensive rehearsing, workshopping and participating while on the road at the Banff Festival. They sang one of the Showcase Concerts, as their reputation from previous years secured them this honour. By all accounts they were tremendously successful.
I got an email from the manager shortly after picking my kids up off the tour bus in Nelson and driving them home. “Your funny, bright, caring, responsible kids made the Banff trip really amazing,” he wrote. “There was a really remarkable session with an adjudicator which I am sure they will tell you about.” Indeed, they had told me right away. The adjudicator had been brought to tears during their main festival performance. During their adjudication session she mentioned how moved she had been earlier, and how special the dynamic within the choir seemed to be. “Tell me about your director,” she asked. “Who is this Allison?” And members of the choir began pouring out comments with all the warmth and love and caring they feel, speaking about how strongly they feel bound together by her leadership in this endeavour. And before long Allison was in tears, and so was half the choir. Including, I suspect, many of the guys.
This is a youth choir in a small rural town of 10,000. Not a city of a hundred thousand with a robust system of feeder choirs where the senior choir skims off the cream of the crop of scores of experienced singers. Allison accepts almost any teen who is keen and can sing in tune. No prior experience is required, no note-reading is necessary. And somehow, out of this motley and unseasoned crew she pulls together a group that produces a sound in turns so joyful, tightly honed, caring, emotive, austere, attentive, exhuberant. My kids are so blessed. This will be Erin’s last season with Corazón. Next year may be Sophie’s first, and one more of Noah’s many. I hope the choir is still going strong when Fiona is a teen.