Expect spontaneous shenanigans at Choir! Choir! Choir!

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For anyone planning to participate in the Choir! Choir! Choir! experience at Avening Hall next month, the big question has been, what song will we be singing?

The choir’s creative directors Nobu Adilman and Daveed Goldman said they have been bouncing ideas around.

“There are so many things we could do, so many fun nights,” said Adilman. “We’re going to do… I’m pretty sure… Daveed and I have been going back and forth on this all morning. I’m pretty sure we are going to do Hallelujah, the Great Canadian Songbook.” 

He said it’s a show that highlights great Canadian songsters like Joni Mitchell, Neil Young and Tragically Hip, ending with Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. That’s the song that they will dig into a little bit more and will be captured on video. 

Those who follow Choir! Choir! Choir! will be familiar with videos of the final take of the song-of-the-day, after people have been divided up and have learned their parts.

Adilman said the process is not just about that final performance. The whole idea is to get people singing and connecting as a group.

“There’s lots of spontaneous shenanigans that happen at every Choir! Choir! Choir! show,” said Adilman. 

Choir! Choir! Choir! has evolved over the past eight years. It started when Adilman and a friend were asked to organize a choir sing for a friend’s surprise birthday party, for which Goldman was asked to play the guitar.

“I had had the idea of a choir floating around in my head for years,” said Adilman, adding it took another two years for Choir! Choir! Choir! to become anything more.

Adilman, at the end of 2010, put a message on Facebook asking, if they started a choir, would anyone come? And people answered the call. 

About 25 people came to the first gathering at an office space in Toronto on Feb. 11, 2011. 

“We set a date. We just said, we’re going to do this. We had no plan. We had no idea what we were doing. I had never been in a choir before, let alone led one,” said Adilman. “We just had a bunch of laughs… It was just to get friends out in the middle of winter so we would see each other and hang out and sing some songs.

“Whatever happened in the room that night, it was just a great hang, a great party. People showed up who we didn’t even know.”

It spread by word of mouth and they decided to do it again the next week, and the next week, and the next. There are no auditions and no commitment required so people come and go as they please. 

The choir was moving around to other locations to accommodate the growing number of people interested in singing and they added a second night. For the past few years they have met at Clinton’s Tavern. 

In 2016, they quickly assembled 550 people at the Art Gallery of Ontario to sing Space Oddity right after the death of David Bowie and the video of that performance got them a lot of attention around the world. That, and a TEDx talk, led to touring, speaking gigs and special appearances.   

Choir! Choir! Choir! has performed with Patti Smith, Tegan and Sara, David Byrne, Rick Astley, and Rufus Wainwright. They have been onstage at New York’s Carnegie Hall and Radio City Music Hall with the likes of Debbie Harry and The Flaming Lips.    

“It’s a project that never seems to quit growing because we are kind of like a band but we’re not… Because of what singing does and how it can be used as such a great tool to get in touch with yourself, but also to reach out and meet people in the community. It’s a really safe, creative place to meet people and grow,” said Adilman. “Early on, Daveed and I realized that this was not just a night of singing… What happens in that room is life changing.” 

“When you attach yourself to such positivity and you feel that force, we’ve received a lot of messages from people saying how it has changed their lives and it has certainly changed ours.”

When the April 27 Avening Hall show was announced, it sold-out right away so a second show was added. Tickets for the April 27 matinee cost $30 and available online through AveningHall.com or at The Creemore Echo office, at 3 Caroline St. W. Doors open at 12:30 p.m. and the show starts at 1 p.m. The bar will be open. To learn more, visit choirchoirchoir.com.

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