Guelph Community Singers

Guelph Community Singers

GCS Weekly Warm Up 080816

GCS Weekly Warm Up 080816

Posted August 17, 2016

Hello my singing friends!

I hope you’re enjoying a fabulous summer. While it’s a little ways away yet, CHOIR SEASON is just around the corner, so your intrepid board has been busy working on some great new ideas. Wow! So much to tell you!


Your volunteer operating Board met on the weekend to review our last year, and to plan for the coming sessions. For those of you who don’t know, our board consists of these fine folks. We are honoured to serve on the board of the Guelph Community Singers, and thrilled that you continue to join us every session for the joy of singing. We are always available to help you.

Our Board members

Our Board members

Alain Carriere – Music Coordinator since 2015 (orders the music, manages the binders, keeps our music library in order). Bass (2nd from right)
Jennifer Erickson – Secretary since 2014 (manages our board minutes, tracks decisions, keeps us on track) Jennifer is a Founder of GCS. Alto (3rd from left)
Lise Anne Janis – Membership Coordinator since 2015 (registration, member communications, new member prospecting) Alto (2nd from left)
Jenny Jayavel – Treasurer since 2013 (manages the money, writes grant applications, reviews our budget and ensures we’re meeting all our obligations as a registered not-for-profit corporation) Alto (right)
Ed May – Archivist since 2014 (roving ambassador, keeps track of all our printed programs, cds, etc.) Tenor (3rd from right)
Martina Preece – Chairperson since 2012 (Fearless Leader, facilitator at board meetings) Soprano (4th from left)
Kira Vermond – Marketing & Communications since 2015 (Produces all our promotional material, our website, our FaceBook page, and all our advertising) Alto (left)

You can read more about us on our website here:


Did you have fun last session? We did too! Tell all your friends! We’re especially hoping to build our TENOR and BASS sections. We experienced a ton of growth over the past year, with 85 members in the second session. We hope to continue to grow our choir to 100 voices. Did you know that some choirs have as many as 500 voices? Imagine how that must sound!


As we grow, we’re experiencing new challenges, and new opportunities. Much of our thinking is directed by those who responded to our survey. It’s very clear that you like the choir for the fun, the challenge, the musical selections and the chance to meet and make new friends. We’re delighted that 95% feel that we’re meeting our mission objective, which is:

“We strive to be a vibrant, accessible, and fun choir with strong musical leadership and loyal members. Together these factors strengthen each of us and our community by helping us connect through the joyful experience of singing together.”

We consider all your comments and suggestions very carefully, and so we want to offer the following information for new and returning members.


We are creating a ‘Cheat Sheet’ of information on singing, reading music, and other things you may have wondered about. It will be included in your music binder, along with information on the GCS Board.

Questions for Rachel and Grace: Our choir director Rachel Cleland and our accompanist Grace Peters are experts about music and they are happy to help you decide what section is best for your voice, and answer questions about the mechanics of singing, or fine tuning a particular passage in the music. If you have a question that isn’t music related, it’s best to ask one of your board members. We’re here to help!

If you’re looking for more one-on-one help like vocal coaching, Janna Pardy is the voice on your practice tracks, and she is an excellent teacher. You can reach Janna at

How do I reach you if I can’t make it to choir? First – While we love to see your happy, smiling face every week, we understand that you can’t attend every practice. Don’t worry if you can’t make it. You don’t have to tell us in advance. We don’t take roll-call or attendance. Remember to read the newsletters to stay up to date on what’s going on, and use the practice tracks!

Second – if do you want to contact us, it’s easy. We respond quickest to emails. Contact us at Any time you write to this email, at least three of the board members receive it. I will respond as your membership coordinator. You can also contact us on the website.


One neat idea from a member is to create a directory of services that our members might want to offer to each other. For example, some of you already know that I (Lise) am a realtor, working locally in Guelph. If you would like to promote your services, send me a quick email and I’ll set it up. Members will be able to access it in our new Friends of GCS FaceBook Page.

We are planning a new ‘Friends of GCS’ FaceBook page where you can access an opt-in directory of members who want to offer their services, set up social events, meet for coffee before or after choir, organize car-pooling, etc.


  • Be On Time. Choir practice begins promptly at 7:30PM. We learn new music every session, and we start with some of the toughest music first (so you have more time to learn it!) so please make every effort to be in your seat, ready to sing by 7:25.
  • Also, get ready to get cozy! We sing better when we can hear each other, and the best way to do that is to get close. Strong voices behind you will carry you, so don’t be shy to move up front! You’ll hear better, and you’ll sing better!


Our survey revealed some of our new members are finding it difficult to get into the groove. I remember what it was like when I started. It was my first time singing in a choir and I relied a lot on my neighbours to understand what was going on. We’re going to make every effort to make sure that new members feel welcomed and included. If you see a new face, say hello! Get to know your neighbours in your section!


Do you enjoy getting to know people? Love to see people succeed? Think connecting is an awesome way to make people happy? For the first three weeks (September 7-21) we need an alto, a soprano and a tenor. (Dave is our Ambassador for the Bass section). Your mission: Arrive 10 minutes early to welcome new members, buddy new members with more experienced singers, help them find a seat at the front of their section, answer questions, point out the board members for additional help. REWARD: Our undying gratitude, and maybe a few new friends! If you would like to help, please contact me (Lise) by end of August please!


Register early! Register often! Just kidding! We look forward to seeing you on September 7 to sign up for the coming session. In order to ensure that we have enough music and binders, we need to get a good sense of the group number as early as possible, so please make every effort to be there on September 7. Send me an email if you can’t make it and I’ll reserve a spot and binder for you.

Registration Opens: September 7, 6:30PM at Trinity United Church (address below)
Registration Closes: September 21, 7:00PM


We’re pleased to report that we are NOT increasing the fees. Still the same low rates:

Regular:       $90
Student:       $60
Benefactor:  $110*

*A GCS Benefactor membership rate of $110 includes your membership fees plus a donation to our “sponsor a member” fund for those facing financial difficulties. The GCS is only as strong as its members so please consider strengthening our choir by giving someone the gift of music.

LOCATION: TRINITY UNITED CHURCH! 400 Stevenson St N, South of Speedvale

Yay!! We always felt that we sounded better at our performance location, Trinity United, but it wasn’t available. However, we coaxed! We pleaded! We got lucky! Trinity United offers all of the things on our wish list: Great acoustics, big enough for our concerts, several rooms for sectionals, accessible via public transit and good parking.

We’ll be starting at our new location with registration and our first rehearsal on September 7. Please use the door nearest the parking lot. In winter, please bring slippers, as we can’t wear our boots into the sanctuary.


Maybe because of all the news around Brexit, Rachel has chosen a British Isles theme for our upcoming session. We think you’re going to love this selection! Stay tuned!!


SESSION ONE (18 rehearsals)
REGISTRATION  September 7-21, 2016
REHEARSALS    September 7- December 14, 7:30-9PM
BREAK                December 21-28
REHEARSALS    January 4-18 2017 (2 hour rehearsals) 7:30-9:30PM
SECTIONALS     October 19, January 4
CONCERT          January 21, 2017

SESSION TWO (17 rehearsals)
REGISTRATION  February 1-15, 2017
REHEARSALS     February 1-March 8, 7:30-9PM
BREAK                 March 15
REHEARSALS     May 17-31 (2 hour rehearsals) 7:30-9:30PM
SECTIONALS      March 22, May 17
CONCERT           June 3, 2017

So as you see, lots to look forward to! Can’t wait to see you on September 7!

Lise Anne Janis
Membership Coordinator

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Quotes from our members

  • “Great people singing can never be anything but wonderful.”

  • “I love that the pieces chosen are challenging but doable. I love the inclusivity of it.”

  • “I enjoyed hearing how we sounded in the end. All that hard work paid off. Such a great harmonized sound.”

  • “I like challenging myself to sing songs I never thought I could.”

  • “I’m so glad to be part of this choir. I find it very grounding.”

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