All posts by dcstewart

Cancellations and Refunds

It has been an uphill battle this year!

Here is the latest for the Eastview Choir, in light of recent news:

  • Collier Street United Church – This is now officially cancelled. Refunds for online ticket purchases were issued earlier today. If you have any physical tickets that you paid cash for (few of you do), please bring them in at any time for a refund.
  • Coffeehouse, scheduled for April 9 – This will be postponed, and rescheduled for a later date if it is deemed safe to do so.

The following events will proceed if it is deemed safe to do so:

  • April 17 – Chamber Choir trip to Kitchener-Waterloo Kiwanis Festival
  • April 29 – Concert Choir trip to Barrie Music Festival
  • May 7 – End of Year Gala Performance

We will likely need to scale these events back from a musical perspective due to a loss of preparation time. However, provided health and safety is not a concern, we will make the best of any opportunities that are available to us.

Depending on what ends up getting cancelled and our financial position in June, I may be issuing a partial refund of the $50 choir fee before the end of the school year.

Thank you, enjoy the upcoming break, and stay safe.

Eastview invited to Perform at Carnegie Hall

Dear Eastview Music Families,

Last spring, the Eastview Concert Choir was given the honour of being invited to the Lincoln Center in New York City to perform the work Calling All Dawns with a professional orchestra and other amateur choirs from around the world. Regrettably, due to a number of factors, we needed to decline the invitation in spite of our best efforts.

Just this week, the same production company contacted me again about a similar collaboration they are putting together for February 2021, in the hopes that with a more comfortable timeline we might be able to participate. This time the work is “Lux: The Dawn from on High” by Dan Forrest, taking place at the world renowned Carnegie Hall, also located in New York City. If Eastview were to participate, I would also invite recent alumni to join. Currently, I would like to see if there is enough interest for us to pursue this opportunity. Please read on if interested, but in a nutshell, we are being offered an amazing once-in-lifetime musical experience, with the caveat of it coming at a substantial cost.

Quick Facts

  • Trip Dates: Friday, February 12 to Tuesday, February 16, 2021 (over the Family Day long weekend). The Friday and Tuesday would be travel days.
  • Itinerary Overview: On the Saturday and Sunday we would have half day workshops/rehearsals and the rest of the time would be available for sightseeing. The Monday will consist of the dress rehearsal, concert, and post-concert reception. We may offer optional add-ons at extra cost, for example, a Broadway show.
  • Cost: In the ballpark of $2000, detailed below.
  • Who: To minimize travel costs, I’d like to bring a full bus load, or approximately 50 participants. If we get at least 25 Eastview students interested, I will try to fill the remaining spots by drawing from the community and/or running a parallel NYC trip with the Eastview orchestra.
  • Fundraising: I would hope to use fundraising to reduce the cost, but I would be looking for a volunteer to spearhead this initiative.
  • Travel: Coach Bus
  • Timelines: We’ve been asked to determine if we’re interested by late next week, and to provide a first deposit of CDN $300 by mid-March. Remaining payments would be spread out throughout 2020.
  • Trip administration: We would hire Brightspark Tours (or a similar reputable travel company) to handle travel arrangements, and payments would be remitted directly to them. This trip would NOT be a school trip under the umbrella of the SCDSB, as the school board is no longer supporting international trips except in very specific circumstances.
  • Safety and Supervision: There would be at minimum 1 adult for every 10 students on the trip, including myself and a guide provided by the travel company. It is possible that I would have to be separate from the rest of the tour for the bus ride to and from NYC as I would not be able to miss teaching time for a non-school trip. With parent permission, students would be allowed to separate from chaperones at specified times during daylight hours. Other safety related policies would mirror what is typically common on school trips.
  • Rehearsals: We’re expected to learn the music in advance. We’ll do as much as we can in May and June after the choir Gala, and then as needed over the summer break. We’ll then meet in the late fall or early winter approximately three times on weekends, in an effort to coincide with times that participating Eastview alumni will be visiting home from University/College.

Cost Breakdown Estimate

  • $1150 (USD $860) for the production company DCINY (Distinguished Concerts International New York), which includes the workshops, rehearsals, the opportunity to perform, and a post-concert reception. Quite high! More on this below.
  • $200 for the bus
  • $150 for the hotel
  • $400 for the travel company – also a high proportion of the fee. While it is possible to travel without the use of a travel company, their expertise would be invaluable in the event of the unexpected and I believe would give everybody added peace of mind.
  • $100 miscellaneous
  • Health insurance will also be required for those without existing coverage, and cancellation insurance will be offered as an option.

The Experience and the Company

I realize this is a large financial commitment, and families will want to be confident they are receiving value for their investment. The portion of the cost going to DCINY will undoubtedly be concerning to some.

DCINY is a well-established and reputable company, whose aim is to provide intermediate and advanced level amateur choirs opportunities that are normally reserved for a privileged few. They work with industry leaders, including regular collaborations with composers such as Eric Whitacre and Ola Gjielo, to produce top quality performances with the visiting choirs and a professional orchestra. It truly is an honour for us to receive this invitation, as the company has a strong reputation of excellence to uphold. Other local choirs who have accepted such invitations from DCINY include the University of Toronto choral ensembles, the Toronto Youth Choir, and the Durham regional arts high school “O’Niell CVI”. As a young singer, I personally was fortunate enough to participate in a few similar performances, and the musical experience of being a small part of something that grand is incomparable.

The funds being directed towards DCINY go towards hiring an orchestra, soloists and clinicians, renting a world class concert venue, and the expenses associated with running a profitable business in Manhattan. While I’m unaware of their profit margin, what they charge will be reflective of supply and demand. It is certainly a premium musical experience for a premium price.

Next Steps

If you have any interest taking part in this, please let me know the following information by email, phone message or otherwise by Thursday, February 20:

  • How confident you are that you’ll be a “yes”, keeping in mind that a final decision and financial commitment will need to be made by mid-March.  For example: “80% sure”.
  • If there are any factors that your participation might be conditional on.

If I’m reasonably confident by this date that we will have at least 25 Eastview singers on board, we will move forward with planning.

Feel free to get in touch with any questions and I’ll do my best to answer them as quickly and as accurately as possible.

Sincerely.

Dave Stewart
Eastview Choir Director

Email: dcstewart@nullscdsb.on.ca

Office Phone: 705-728-1321 x40903

Direct to Voicemail: 705-728-1321 x57724

Welcome to Semester 2

While we had a fairly lengthy hiatus, we are back in action and regular rehearsals are currently running. Members NOT planning to return to the choir for semester 2 should see me to return their music, at which point I will remove them from this mailing list. I do hope everyone decides to stick with it, however, as I’m hopeful we’ll be able to use the spring to make up for some of the lost opportunities from the Christmas season.

Upcoming Performances

  • Collier Street United Church – I’m still hoping we can reschedule this concert when the political situation improves, although the chosen music may change to be more reflective of the season! I’m going to give it another month at least before making an official decision to cancel. Pre-purchased tickets will be refunded if we cancel.
  • CHAMBER CHOIR ONLY – KW Kiwanis Music Festival – April 16 or 17 – I’ll provide more details when the festival schedule is made available on March 1.
  • Barrie Music Festival – Wed, April 29 – This will be a half day field trip, at no extra cost. Details to come as scheduling information becomes available.
  • Gala – ESS Cafetorium – Thurs, May 7 – Our final show, featuring popular music of the 21st century.

Uniforms

The new uniforms have arrived and will be distributed prior to our next performance. Details are as follows:

GIRLS:

  • Provided by us: long red skirt
  • Provided by you: black button-down shirt/blouse, black nylons, black dress shoes
  • Notes: Returning choir members can use their shirts from previous years if they choose. I have a few extras up for grabs for anybody who needs one. Dress shoes can be heals or flats, but please take comfort into consideration for long periods of standing.

BOYS:

  • Provided by us: red tie
  • Provided by you: black button-down shirt, black pants, black dress shoes
  • Notes: For those who do not already have a black shirt, please see me to see if I have one I can give you.

Gala Solos

The final Gala provides ample opportunity for solo performances for those who are interested. Application forms, which also contain more detailed information, are available from me and will be introduced at this week’s rehearsal. APPLICATIONS ARE DUE FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 21.

Message to Choir

I would like to send out a heartfelt THANK YOU to everyone for the card and ornament I was presented with at chamber choir on Tuesday, and to Korol for orchestrating the idea. The kind words each of you left on your individual notes mean SO much to me.

We will resume rehearsals in the new year, to let everyone have a bit of a break next week. It certainly doesn’t feel quite right entering the holiday season without having had the Collier Street concert, and my fingers are crossed that by January we will be back to business as usual and we can finally have a chance to properly showcase everyone’s hard work.

A reminder that our choir council has been busy organizing a coffeehouse for this evening at 7:00pm in the library. I would love to see all of you there, and for you all to have that opportunity to socialize and support your peers once more prior to the break. Admission is $5 and proceeds go towards our choir fundraising efforts.

Best wishes to everyone for a safe and happy holiday season!

Music Department Updates

Just a few updates, which will also hopefully address some of the questions many of you may have at the moment.

  • Concert – We will look at rescheduling the concert once the government and union have reached a contract agreement. If we try to reschedule prior to then, we run the risk of having the same outcome. If you pre-purchased tickets, it would probably be easiest to wait until a new date is announced, at which point you can decide to use the tickets or request a refund. If anyone would like an immediate refund please let me know and I can process it for you.
  • Coffeehouse – The choir council is organizing a coffeehouse event for next Thursday, December 12, and we’re keeping our fingers crossed that this one will end up running. Auditions will be held next Monday and Tuesday during lunch periods for anyone interested in performing.
  • Choir Rehearsals – My plan is to run both concert choir and chamber choir rehearsals next week, but cancel them the following week to give everyone a break. If the direction of the labour dispute causes plans to change, I will announce that ASAP.

Finally, for those who haven’t heard, Mrs. Paula Kowalchuk, orchestra teacher at Eastview, sadly lost her mother earlier this week after a lengthy illness. For those who know Mrs. Kowalchuk well, if you would like to write her a note or something similar, I will be attending the funeral on Saturday and will gladly pass anything from students along to her. The obituary and funeral arrangements can be found here.

Thank you, and I hope my next update will be a happier one!

Choir Information

Welcome to all new choir members and welcome back to all those returning! As we progress through the year I will be emailing updates periodically. While I’ve made my best attempt to ensure my mailing lists are up to date, if I’ve made an error please feel to update your preferences using the links at the bottom of any email I send, or simply reply at any time and I can make the necessary changes. I have a few items to pass along at this point:

Upcoming Dates

  • Wed Nov 6 – Rehearsal is optional for grade nine students since it is “Take Our Kid To Work Day”
  • Mon Nov 11 – Remembrance Day Assembly Performance – Details below
  • Fri Nov 29 – Optional evening performance at Sainte Marie Among the Hurons. Details and permission forms will be distributed by mid-November. We take maximum 46 students (ie, a busload), first-come, first-served
  • Wed Dec 4 – Eastview Holiday Concert in the evening at Collier Street United Church. All choir members are expected to participate unless there are extenuating circumstances. Please let me know ASAP if you anticipate any issue with that evening. 

Registration and Fees

Registration forms and the $50 annual fee were due this past week, although many choir members still have yet to submit these. I will be giving reminders to those students who still have one or both of these outstanding. I will be extending the online payment availability for the fee until November 15, and students can pick up a new registration form from me if they can’t find their original one. If you’re unable to pay online, a cheque made out to Eastview Secondary School or cash are also accepted. If you’re unable to pay the fee at this time due to financial concerns, please reply so I am aware.

Performance Uniforms

We are in the process of a uniform renewal, and are currently awaiting a shipment from overseas. In the meantime, students are asked to wear black or dark formal wear to performances. Returning members can simply wear their uniforms from last year. Please don’t feel obligated to purchase anything new for a uniform at this time since the situation is temporary; just get as close as possible with what you already own and we won’t worry if we don’t match perfectly for now.

Remembrance Day

On Monday, November 11, choir members should come directly to the cafeteria at the beginning of the school day (no need to go to period 1 first). Students should arrive dressed in their (temporary) uniforms as described above, and a poppy if possible. We will rehearse during period 1, and then perform in two back-to-back assemblies during period 2. Participating students will be signed out of class for those two periods. Choir members are reminded that “Dream a Dream” should be memorized.

Free Concert Tickets Offer

The King Edward Choir have offered four free tickets to Eastview music students who would like to attend their November 30 concert at either 2:00pm or 7:30pm. They will go to the first takers!

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to respond to this email. Thank you.

2019-2020 Audition Results

Chamber Choir

Name Competitive Core?
Claire Allen N
Ellie Atton N
Taelyn Barry N
Ava Beimers Y
Madeleine Chevrefils Y
Sydney Crompton Y
Cameron Duguid Y
Holly Foy Y
Claire Garraway N
Genna Graves Y
Sydney Harris Y
Caitlin Hepp Y
Mackenzie Herbst Y
Diego Herrera Y
Jake Lance Y
Korol Pikulik Y
Alyssa Porter N
Abby Presa Y
Shannon Prouty Y
Haley Simpson N
Kieran Smith Y
Marissa Todd Y
Jehvon Williams Y
Mary Witlib Y
Aurora Woodland Y

Senior Vocal Ensemble

Name
Claire Allen (sem 1 only)
Madeleine Chevrefils
Cameron Duguid
Genna Graves
Sydney Harris
Caitlin Hepp
Korol Pikulik
Abby Presa
Shannon Prouty
Marissa Todd
Jehvon Williams

Thank you to everyone who auditioned!
Note – Lots of competition this year for the alto section in competitive core!

Tomorrow’s Trip and Forms for Next Year

A few quick notes about tomorrow’s trip and forms that need to be submitted for next year:

Family of Schools Trip

  • Please bring (or wear) your choir uniform to school.
  • At the beginning of period 2 meet in the vocal room.  We will have a quick chat and load equipment, then you’ll have a chance to change and eat lunch.
  • The bus departs at 11:00am.  We will be performing at Shanty Bay and Steele Street Public Schools.
  • We will return by 2:30pm. Those who volunteered (and anyone else not running to catch a bus) will stay and unload. Pizza will be provided.

If you’re concerned about missing period 2, please let me know.  We can arrange for you to attend this class as long as you are dressed and ready to get on the bus by 11:00am.

Forms for Next Year

Blank copies of all forms are available in the entryway to the vocal room.

  • If you are interested in being on next year’s executive council, I need to have the application form by Tuesday, May 21 (ignore the original deadline of May 20 as it is the holiday Monday).
  • If you are interested in being in chamber choir or senior vocal ensemble next year, I need the form in by Friday, May 31.  Returning members to these ensembles must also hand in a form, however an audition is only required if you want to be in an ensemble that you were not in this year.

Finally, don’t forget we have our year end pizza party and council voting on both lunch periods on Wednesday, May 22.

Gala Follow-Up and End of Year

Thank you to everyone for an amazing show last Thursday evening! All your efforts paid off! I will text choir members a video link.

Here’s what the remainder of the year is looking like for choir:

  • Tuesday, May 7 – Chamber Choir CANCELLED
  • Wednesday, May 8 – Concert Choir until 4:00pm
  • Friday, May 10 – Field Trip forms due for Family of Schools Tour (available in the vocal room doorway or by PDF download)
  • Wednesday, May 15 – Family of Schools Trip, periods 2-5. Please return all your music and black folders by the end of this trip if you are not currently taking a vocal class.  After school, I will need a few volunteers to help unload equipment. There will be some pizza available for volunteers!
  • Wednesday, May 22 – More pizza!  On both lunch periods, we will be having our choir party lunch along with voting for executive council positions for next year.

Next Year’s Executive Council

If you are interested, please pick up an application form from me (or PDF download), and have it returned by Monday, May 20.

Auditions

Auditions are required for those interested in the following ensembles next year:

  • Chamber Choir
  • Chamber Choir – Competitive Core
  • Senior Vocal Ensemble (for next year’s grade 11s and 12s only)

If you were in any of these this year, you do NOT need to re-audition for them. However, you will need to state your intention to be part of them again next year on a form to be given out on May 8 (the form will also be available in the vocal room entrance by the attendance binder, or PDF download). The only reason you would not be re-accepted into one of these ensembles is if you did not adequately fulfill your commitment to them this year.

You will be able to sign-up for auditions soon on the vocal room door.  Auditions will take place during the last week of May and first week of June. Details regarding what to expect in the auditions will be included on the form you will receive on May 8.