Thursday, January 05, 2017

2016 – That’s a Wrap! 2017 – The Best is Yet to Come!!

It’s been a while folks but that doesn’t mean that Canadian Showtime Chorus has been sitting idle!! Au contraire!!

There is nothing like a retreat to bring renewed energy, focus and commitment to a chorus. Not to mention unleashing creativity and discovering hidden treasures and talents in our ranks – we welcomed two new front row members on Saturday morning and one nearly new front row member Erica emerged as a great teacher and talent and is now our new choreographer!!

Canadian Showtime Chorus’s travelled to Cornwall ON for a brilliant two- day retreat at the NAV Center, a beautiful facility that perfectly met our retreat needs! Add our two incredible coaches Erin Howden and Joe Connolly to the mix and you have yourself a pretty amazing weekend!

Our master chorus director Sandie Nason had assigned each riser row a Vegas character. Each row then worked together to plan costumes and strategies to keep our character a mystery for as long as possible until the big reveal at dinner on Saturday night! The idea was to layer our costumes – by that I mean show off a small piece/clue at a time and stay in character as much as possible throughout coaching on Friday night and all day Saturday. There were distractions and false clues thrown in the mix just to make it all more interesting. It was a hoot!!
But it was not all fun and games – there was much serious hard work and the ladies of Canadian Showtime Chorus rose to the occasion. How could we not with the dynamic trio of Sandie, Erin and Joe!! They spent many hours teaching, observing and discussing and have come up with a firm plan for our journey to Vegas 3 in October 2017! We are WELL on our way with many months of polishing and fine tuning – and more coaching – left!! Viva Las Vegas Baby!!

November was all about reinforcing what we learned at retreat. Sandie is a master at retaining what was thought at a coaching session and brings it right back to the rehearsal hall, shapes it, polishes and massages it and makes it our own. We squeezed another two rehearsal-night coaching sessions with Erin and prepared for our Holiday Happenings event the last Sunday of the month. It is a grand craft and bake sale, silent and live auction affair topped with a chorus performance for our family, friends and supporters. We even feed them! It is one of our favorite events and certainly one of our most profitable fundraisers!!

We are always looking for ways to give back to the community and one of our members’ came up with an incredible idea! We are barbershop singers, we are women, we have hair! What could be better than to partner with Hair Donation Ottawa whose mission is to raise funds for cutting edge child and adult cancer research and empower kids with hair loss by providing them with free wigs!! The ultimate objective of this valiant organization is in support of “Cutting Edge Adult and Childhood Cancer Research at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and The Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) Research Institute.”

Our very own Nicole Wieczorek met with the President and CEO and Founder of the organization, Helene Hutchings, to pitch her idea! She loved it! Helene visited the chorus on December 6th. A cancer survivor herself, she is a passionate, energetic and dynamic community leader with a servants heart! She talked about why she decided to start Hair Donation Ottawa and shared her personal journey and her battle - and win - over cancer. There was not a dry eye in the house! Helene’s story struck a chord with us as several of our members have battled cancer and won but sadly a few didn’t! As Helene talked, we heard that several of our members or their relatives have donated hair to Hair Donation Ottawa in the past! This appears to be a match made in heaven!!

This is how we are going to support! On Sunday, April 30, 2017, Hair Donation Ottawa is holding its annual large-scale hair donation and fundraising event! Canadian Showtime Chorus will be performing! Also, Saturday, April 11, 2017 is International Barbershop Harmony. On that day or a few alternate dates in April, our quartets will be going around to Ottawa barbershops and participating Hair Donation Ottawa salons to serenade their patrons and raise funds/donations to be presented at the big event on April 30th. We are excited about this partnership and a creative team will start looking at other ways to fundraise for this worthy cause. We look forward to many more joint events in the future too!!

Our 2016 wrapped up with our Christmas party on December 12th. It was lively, with delicious food, song and laughs yet bittersweet as we miss one another so when we are not together at chorus on Tuesday nights. This blog is written today to replace this week’s rehearsal. Today’s nasty freezing rain would likely have kept us away tonight but nothing will stop us next week – our planned return – Tuesday, January 10, 2017!!

CSC ladies, we committed to the 6-minute regime! Are you on it? See you in the rehearsal hall next Tuesday, on the risers by 7:15 sharp for a heart pumping, energy-filled physical warm-up – then on with the show!! I can hardly wait! Can you??

JD Crowe, CSC Blogger

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Sweet Adelines International Competition - Vegas II

MGM Grand - Las Vegas, NV: The room I am in is almost identical to last year’s when I was here with my besties – Canadian Showtime Chorus! Restaurants, shops and bars are pretty much the same (except Bar Rouge is gone); the people watching is still great; the running into sweet adelines friends from all over the world and collecting hugs is as uplifting as ever. The walking doesn’t seem as far somehow – maybe because it is still familiar and it feels like we were just here yesterday! But what is greatly missing is YOU, Canadian Showtime Chorus sisters and my East Coat Connection – family and friends from home that I shared this experience with last year!!

Attending a couple of chorus rehearsals this week has put me right back to our own rehearsals last year CSC! Remember the nervous energy; remember the focus; remember the excitement!? I relived it all! And I can’t wait to experience it again next October when we return to the MGM for Vegas III!!

I am coming home with a few ideas to make our experience at International even greater! I have been in observer mode and although only a couple of days into this amazing week, I’ve seen great ways to remain forever connected in this massive venue that comes with so many distractions! Whether we are heading for rehearsal or getting ready for the big day, there are ways we can remain connected, little tricks to make us feel like we are one, that I am anxious to share with you!

I attended the Christchurch Chorus and Rönninge Show Chorus Around The Globe show in one of the ballrooms last night! All of them on the risers at the start and at the end of the show was an amazing site and sent chills up and down my spine when they rang We Are Family and Harmonize the World!!  Check out the globe – they could not live further apart – yet they came together as one!! They premiered their contest packages and all I can say is WOW!! This is going to be an AMAZING contest! Competing quartets from both of these inspiring regions, 32 ad 35, were also featured. For the $20 admission fee, it was some of the best entertaining you will ever find on the Las Vegas Strip!! Don’t you think that would be a GREAT way to start our contest week here next October CSC??? Something to think about!!!

What fun!! And it’s only Tuesday!! I bump into a few more Region 16 Sweet Adelines every day. Can’t wait to see the rest of them at our Regional Pep Rally tonight at 10:30 pm, Room 313/316 of the Conference Center at Buffalo Gateway Chorus’s rehearsal! I attended the Region 34 (Australia) Pep rally last night as I am now an honorary member of that region thanks to my friend Cheryl Benson who I have been friends with for 10 years but only met this past Friday night!!!!! They Facebook LIVE streamed the rally for everyone back home! I am going to attempt the same at ours tonight!!

I will miss you at rehearsal tonight but certainly hope you will manage to tune in to the live Webcast that starts tonight! I am excited to anchor the quartet semis on Wednesday and finals on Friday. Hope you’ll be watching! I will wave!

Miss you CSC! Wish you were here!

How I LOVE this hobby and all the opportunities and privileges that belonging to this amazing organization has given me! I AM SWEET ADELINE!! xoxo

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Canadian Showtime Chorus' September 6, 2016 New Member Night

It has been a whirlwind couple of weeks since returning to chorus and our Membership and Marketing Coordinators and their teams have been busy planning Canadian Showtime Chorus' September 6, 2016 New Member Night. They followed up with previous visitors; they engaged in a social media blitz; they designed catchy and inviting posters and bookmarks; they encouraged members to spread the word and bring in a friend or acquaintance or two to join our ranks!
Wow! Did these efforts ever generate interest! We had more than 30 prospective new members show up. Existing members greeted and mingled with the curious and found that all of the methods above were highly effective. Yay Team!! 
Sandie Nason voice places a prospective member

What does a new member night look like at Canadian Showtime Chorus?? Well, the prospective member walks through the door - she signs in - she is enthusiastically greeted and given a name tag. She then takes a seat outside Studio One to wait her turn to be voice placed by Sandie, our Master Director 700. Once done, she takes one of the guest chairs in the main rehearsal studio and visits some more!
At 7:15 sharp while voice placing continues, those through the process are invited on to the risers for a rousing and shake-off the day kind of physical warm-up followed by a vocal warm-up. This is their first attempt at vocalization exercises and they are usually taught a round! First attempt at getting them hooked!  On to singing repertoire so our prospects return to their chairs!
We go through most everything we know and give it our all as, of course, we are out to impress! Second attempt at getting them hooked! When Sandie is finally done with voice placing, she returns, addresses the new class (what a beautiful sight they are) - talks about Sweet Adelines, the components of our barbershop singing, Canadian Showtime Chorus' trajectory to the International Stage in October 2017 and the plan to integrate them into chorus life should they choose to become members. They have met their New Class Mom and Coordinator Karen Frost and Sandie now introduces them to their New Class Director Nora McEwen who will work with them separately over the next several weeks to bring them up to speed on our contest material - their audition pieces! Third attempt at getting them hooked!    
Nora McEwen instructs the new class

At this point, the new class leaves and Canadian Showtime moves into rehearsal mode, dueting the new music; breaking the chorus down into pairs of rows and having that half sing for the other and vice versa! Amazing sounds coming from all formations - the core of what makes us a 700 master chorus! When the new class returns at the end of the night we perform our contest package and again give it our all! They applaud enthusiastically and we feel great about our fourth attempt at getting them hooked!!
We end the night with the inspirational "Hallelujah" and Sandie once again addresses the new class - tells them she hopes they will come back next week - hopes this is the right time in their lives to embrace this art form; this sisterhood; this journey - hopes that should it not be the right mix for them at this time that they will none the less find a place to wrap their hearts in music - that they will still sing! Fifth attempt at getting them hooked!!
I use the phrase attempt at getting them hooked somewhat in jest because it is something that just happens! No real effort required really!! If we do what we know, give it our all and remain all in; if we reach a person who is at that perfect time in their lives where they are ready to treat themselves with a life enriching hobby, they are in!! 20 years ago on my first new member night experience, I was hooked the minute I heard those chords ring! The meticulous and methodical way Canadian Showtime Chorus runs a new member drive certainly helped to keep me coming back but it was that sound and the hairs raised on the back of my neck that got me hooked!
20 years and counting! How I LOVE my hobby and my Canadian Showtime Chorus!! 
JD Crowe
CSC Blogger

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The End of the Beginning

The End of the Beginning
Canadian Showtime Chorus is two
weeks back into the fold after our summer break! Tonight started like all other nights – risers up – sound system connected – physical warm-up – vocal warm-up - and a sit down???
Not our usual format!! Master Director 700, Sandie Nason, asked us to gather close and sit while she outlined the music plan from now through to April 2018. Instead of starting with next steps and outlining upcoming activities, Sandie announced that she would start at the end of the plan and talk about April 2018 first and work her way back to today!
Sandie is an engaging, captivating and passionate storyteller. She took us on a trip down memory lane tonight that had us reminiscing and re-living very special and memorable times. She talked about her first experience singing barbershop harmony both here and out West where her love for Sweet Adelines International really started. Back in late 1981, she returned to Ottawa and that is when she knew she was destined to be a chorus director and when she decided to start a Sweet Adelines chorus of her own. She and her wee daughter posted flyers throughout their neighborhood and in no time, a chorus was born. Four women – Sandie – and her mom! That’s how it all began! It was not long before this keen group of women under Sandie’s leadership would grow to be 35 – and then 67 following an incredibly innovative and successful new member recruitment drive – and then 100+ over the last couple of decades. Sandie knows this chorus! We are a part of her! Throughout this journey, she has always known what is right for the chorus – what is right for her! Be it choosing music that fits or coaches that click. She has this innate ability to know when it is the right time to introduce a new concept, a new technique, a new skill! Sometimes before we even know it ourselves, she knows what is right for us and what is not! She does not make snap decisions – everything is extremely well thought through with the good of the whole being of prime consideration.
Tonight, Sandie told us that April 2018 is when she will retire as the director of Canadian Showtime Chorus. There is no doubt in her mind that this is the right thing to do! She has an iron-clad plan developed for the next 20 months! Everything that we do together we will do with gusto. Our fall 2016 new member program will be the best and most memorable ever; every show we produce, every fundraiser we undertake, every contest performance will be the best and most memorable ever! Sandie will be ever present with her director’s hat pulled down to her ears - she will not take it off until post contest 2018. She will continue to push us to greater heights – she will encourage us and make us believe in ourselves – she will continue to impart her knowledge, her passion and her creativity. She will continue to make us laugh – she will no doubt make us cry! She will be ALL IN!!
It is hard to imagine this chorus without Sandie. She is the heart – she is the soul! I for one trust her gut. If she says it’s time – it’s time! Members will process this news and will come to terms with it individually and in their own way. We trust Sandie! She will always be there for us – she will not allow us to fall. 20 months from now will mark the end of the beginning of Sandie’s and Canadian Showtime’s story. It is not the end of anything – it is but another new beginning!
When Sandie was 3 years old, she sang Away in the Manger in the Christmas Pageant at her family’s church. The pastor told her father that he had just heard an angel from heaven sing! Canadian Showtime Chorus has had the privilege of hearing this angel’s voice for 36 years. It is one thing to be a great teacher but to be able to demonstrate as Sandie can is a blessing! We will miss her terribly but we are not going to think about that just yet! We have many more extraordinary memories to make - several more goals to achieve! The best is yet to come!!
To our amazing, dedicated, talented, passionate and generous chorus director Sandie Nason, WE LOVE YOU! Xoxo
JD Crowe CSC Blogger

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Canadian Showtime Chorus – Shine On!!!

Canadian Showtime Chorus – Shine On!!!

Chorus contest morning! A more relaxed affair for our competing quartets – who were oh so fabulous on Friday – as stepping onto that stage with only 3 friends to anchor you, is so much harder on the nerves than stepping out with 70 of your closest friends!!!

The routine in my room went like this and I can pretty much guarantee that every Sweet Adeline’s room in the building followed pretty much the same pattern. The keeners were up at the crack of dawn to put their eyelashes on and do their hair. The first coat of foundation went on – a light breakfast either in the room or in the restaurant was consumed to help fuel us before setting off to either work backstage/webcast or go to rehearsal! We’d been reassured by the Convention Team a couple of nights earlier that the Donald Trump rally at the Oncentre just a block away from the Civic Center and the auditorium may impact our traffic patterns but they urged us not to worry as contingency plans were in place and the situation was well in hand – knowing this Convention Team well, I assure you there was absolutely nothing to worry about. And in the end, having Trump in town left no negative mark on our contest day experience at all! Well played City of Syracuse – well played!!

By all accounts, our morning rehearsal was spectacular – happy director – happy singers! No more to be done – no more to be said! We were ready for the stage.  Liz Gibbs and I missed this fabulous gathering, as we had to go to work with the lights, sound and webcast techs. Arriving at the auditorium that early may have been overkill but we weren’t chancing traffic jams or road blocks. In the end, there were no issues and arriving early afforded us the opportunity to settle in gently, breath and get ready for the busy day ahead! Master Director 700 Sandie kind of liked having us backstage early as we became her lifeline and were able to relay important messages – keeping her in the know - and similarly she able to report issues at the hotel that we were able to resolve with a phone call to the right person on the Convention Team. Broken down elevator fixed in plenty of time to get the choruses to the main lobby in preparation for bus loading!

Liz and I made arrangements with Barb, Convention Team Busing Manager, to get on a bus to return to the Crowne Plaza to meet up with our chorus instead of waiting backstage until they arrived. LOVED this new way of hooking up with the chorus! We arrived to a sea of red and beautiful smiling faces! What a welcome home!! A few intros and tags here until suddenly it was time to load the buses and head to the auditorium for our turn to line up in the backstage hall leading to the Bavard (mirror) Room! I have to comment on the mood in the buses – it was quiet and calm – some singers with their eyes closed obviously visualizing the experience! The walk down that long hall to the Bavard room – us lined up two by two waiting for the competitors ahead of us to vacate the mirror room – picturing ourselves in the mirror room – wow – what a reflection looking back at us – intros and tags – wow – what a sound - the door opening and hearing Shelley say “Sandie, it’s time!”. Walkon protocol instructions – it’s showtime! Picturing ourselves on stage – Sandie walking across and making eye contact with every single riser singer – the pitch being blown – the signal being given to stage right confirming that we were ready – lights – big, bold bright lights! Hearing our introduction and roaring applause – the judges in the pit watching us – smiles from ear to ear. Sandie setting the mood and gently pulling us in to the ballad – this most powerful ballad! A standing O – a most appreciative audience! A shift in character – our cheeky yet bold and scorn woman gives him heck – shows him who is really in charge! We feel the audience is in our corner – they are loving our characterization - another spontaneous standing O!!

That’s the power of visualization! Because in the end that is exactly how it happened! We took to the stage with confidence – we moved our audience – they bought into our character – and they gave us that standing O!! We came off that stage knowing that we had given it our all and that we would be rewarded for it! It felt great! We held our breathe during the call-off and were so very grateful when we heard – “Second place chorus, with a score of 657 - Canadian Showtime Chorus – we jumped for joy!! We were thrilled to come second to the amazingly talented North Metro Chorus, this time under the direction of the incomparable Erin Howden!!

With an extra bounce in our step, we returned to change out of our costumes and into our finery for an evening of celebration. We were doubly excited and delighted when Sandie came into the Lafayette Room for our chorus dinner waving the score sheets saying “You are going to LOVE the comments.” Well that was an understatement! Our focus, hard work since January was on point and reflected in the judges’ comments. We know exactly where to go from here.  There is no way but up!! To infinity and beyond!!

It was a late night for many but we are now all home and tucked in for a well- deserved rest! It will take some time to come off this high and it will be a thrill to get back on the risers in a couple of weeks and continue this incredible journey! There will be new music, new choreo to learn and a whole lot of planning for the future.  I can’t wait to get started!

We proudly wear our 2nd place medal! We’ll be watching to see if we maintain a wild card placement in anticipation of sharing Vegas 3 with our wonderful champions North Metro Chorus! I can’t imagine a better way to end the next leg of our journey!

A wee bit tired but so very much in love with this organization, this music, this sisterhood, and the passion! Sleep well tonight Canadian Showtime Chorus and get ready for a ride of a lifetime. The best is yet to come!!

JD Crowe

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Canadian Showtime Chorus Quartets Did Us Proud!!

It was a fantastic Lake Ontario Region 16 quartet contest yesterday! Out of 16 competitors, 6 were from Canadian Showtime Chorus and wow – did they ever represent! So very proud of all of them! Congratulations to all – Muse, Outburst, Absolutely!, High Definition, KeyRings! and VQA. We are delighted to see a green 5th place medals around VQA’s neck and  a white 3rd place medal around Absolutely’s! That’s what hard work, passion and dedication looks like. And how thrilled are we to unofficially announce that Muse has taken the Novice Quartet Award. We say unofficially as we have come to this conclusion from the score sheets and must wait for the official announcement at the end of chorus contest today!  What a thrill for them and in particular for a lead who has waited 25 years to cross the quartet contest stage. So very proud and excited for you Muse!!

It was heartwarming and emotional to watch our 6 quartets on stage from my perch in the webcast booth after the awards were announced. They were down there hugging and kissing  - obviously thrilled for our medalists and so very supportive of one another! To me, that is really what it is all about!  Every last one of them is a winner and the participant medal that they are invisibly wearing is gold! 

The day ended with a fantastic chorus rehearsal. The energy and the excitement in the room was palpable and contagious! We dueted, we ripped through a few reps of the contest package, we listened to words of wisdom from our master director 700 and we then parted ways! Time to get some rest and mentally prepare for today!

We’re up - stage make-up is done, toned down slightly for webcast - excitement is building! It's contest day!!! Canadian Showtime Chorus stage time is 2:51 pm but that will all depend on Donald Trump! Yes, you heard me right - Donald Trump is holding a rally in Syracuse - at the Oncenter - a block away from our convention venue! Can you believe it!! WE will be going with the flow, not stressing over it and letting our very capable Competition Coordinator and Busing Manager Extraordinaire take care of this with the help of Leo of busing company Centro. If anyone can get us to the stage on time, Leo can!

The sky is blue, the sun is shinning and that is exactly what we plan to do – shine on and step Into The Spotlight!!

JD Crowe

Friday, April 15, 2016

We are ready for our first contestant ...

Way to Represent!! CSC is in the House!!

Some were traveling to Syracuse today – some already in Syracuse were finding bargains at the Carousel Mall – others were taking care of their responsibilities on the Convention Team – some were rehearsing in preparation for contest! But any way you slice it, it was a day full of joy, laughter and bonding! Seeing friends for the first time since about the same time last year was one of the best parts of the day! Hugs – huge bear hugs! And spring-like weather in Syracuse! Who could ask for anything more!

The opening event for many is the chorus and quartet briefing. Competing quartets and choruses arrive early to hand in their official paperwork and to receive key information for contest. The Lake Ontario Region 16 convention team is stellar and takes all of the worry off of the shoulders of the competitors by crossing every T and dotting every I. The judges come in to meet the gang for the first time – they arrive to a room buzzing with energy – to quote several of them ‘the energy is palpable – bring that on stage’. And that’s the plan baby – that’s the plan!

For the Canadian Showtime Chorus, the evening ended with a group photo of all of the competing quartets! Now THAT was a sight to be seen! Six chairs were lined up and the leads took their seats – the remaining 18 members then huddle around them to form the most amazing competing quartet picture of all time. Muse, Outburst, Absolutely! , High Definition, KeyRings and VQA – we are so proud of you! You are going to rock that stage!

And now we go to sleep. With convention activities well under way, we are ready for our first quartet contestant. Please take a seat – please close the doors. Contestant number one – representing Canadian Showtime Chorus – Muse!!!!!!!!!!!  

With harmony and love,

JD Crowe

Chorus Candids
Enter your email address to
subscribe to our news blog

Delivered by FeedBurner