by John Baldwin
The Ottawa Valley Male Choir [OVMC], consisting of approximately 20-30 men, is seeking a new director and also an accompanist (pianist), following the final Christmas concert of the year, 7 pm Sunday, 17 December, at the United Church in North Gower. The choir is looking for suitable replacements in these two positions, to ensure the continuation of this unique choir and its wonderful sound, that has brought joy to so many ears over the past twenty years.
The choir performs for fun and sings, mainly for the benefit of charitable organizations, at Seniors’ homes, churches, outdoor events, such as The Upper Canada Village Christmas celebrations, and other venues. Performances take place, in geographic locations enveloping the area from Kanata, to the north; Smith’s Falls, to the west; Russell, to the east; and Prescott and Morrisburg, to the south. The OVMC’s program of songs varies in selection, with no particular bias as to their content, or style. This might vary at a particular time of year, celebrating a festival, or anniversary, such as that of Canada’s 150th birthday, when music has been sung originating from the provinces across the country.
The four-part range of voices goes from the higher tenors down to the lower range baritones and basses. Surprisingly, despite the amazing music produced by them, not all the singers are readers of music. Some of the members play musical instruments themselves, for their own pleasure or in other groups, and some sing with other choirs, as well as the OVMC. Others just sing, because they love and enjoy it and want to be a small part of it, in whatever way possible. No one is excluded from the choir, regardless of singing experience and expertise. Guidance is usually given by the director for any of the musical selections and arrangements selected by the choir to sing.
Any musical adaptations of these that have to be addressed are discussed and implemented during the weekly Tuesday practices. The choir’s accompanist provides the actual musical guidance, by co-ordinating with the musical director to interpret the director’s verbal explanations and requirements into the sounds that each individual can understand and that each vocal part will be expected to sing. Much of the singing is performed as a full choir, but there are occasions, when songs lend themselves to soloists and quartets being formed to sing them. No one is expected to do this unless they are comfortable with what they are being asked to do. The members who perform these songs expect, and receive, closer mentoring from the director and assistance from the accompanist, in order that they feel comfortable and are successful in what they are doing.
The OVMC choir is based in the Township of North Gower, at the United Church, 2332 Church St, North Gower. Located on the main street, it is easily accessible to all. Some of the present members come in from Ottawa, Manotick, Smiths Falls and Russell. The weekly Tuesday practice takes place at this location, from 7pm – 9pm, followed by a short social gathering. Music is provided for each choir member. The choir typically performs approximately ten times a year, at different times, depending on requests.
This present Yuletide/Christmas season, the OVMC will be performing three concerts, two of which are on the same day 3pm, Sunday, 10 December, at St Paul’s United Church, in Prescott, followed by one at 7pm, at St John’s United Church in Kemptville. There is an admission fee for the latter performance, as there is for the OVMC’s final concert of the year at 7pm, on December 17, at North Gower United Church.
If you are musically inclined, with enough knowledge, experience, and patience (we are not all young guys, you know!) to be able to help the choir out in our quest for continuance, then please don’t be shy, give us a try! If you are worried about what might be involved, then just contact our representative committee member, below, to arrange to either attend one of our performances, or a practice evening, to listen and judge for yourself. We would like to talk to you, or, if you know of anyone who might be interested, please pass on this information. Thanks, from all the members of the Ottawa Valley Male Choir. 613-258-0835. [email protected].