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    Choir Choir Choir

    Have you ever spent time in a choir? Many of us have, at school or as part of our religious or social community. But there aren’t many choirs that can make somebody remember their parts 20 years later. But listen to Nobu Adilman, leader of Choir Choir Choir:


    What he’s referring to is Choir! Choir! Choir!, a weekly event he began with his co-founder Daveed Goldman in 2011. The guys planned it originally as a one-off – they had no idea how this thing was going to go. But it took off – now it happens twice a week, and it’s packed. And it’s become something of a phenomenon, its videos of the masses singing popular songs watched internationally, and the choir having chances to sing alongside people like punk poet pioneer Patti Smith and Canadian indie rock darlings Tegan and Sara or perform at events like the TEDx conference or the closing of TIFF at Roy Thomson Hall. Watch them sing an emotive backup to Smith’s Because the Night during her powerful performance at the AGO – Patti was visibly touched by Choir!’s contribution:

    This isn’t your standard hipster event, either. The demographic that attends Choir is broad – young to old(er), locals to suburbanites, and it’s built a sturdy community of loyal attendees who not only use it as a way to belt out tunes but to grow strong networks of friends as well as a reference point that provides a sort of emotional structure for their week. It mimics the role church or a book club might play in your life, in a dynamic way. Co-founder Daveed Goldman explains:

    So how does it work? Well, you show up each week downtown Toronto, pay $5, and get handed a lyric sheet. The songs are diverse but are mostly fairly popular songs from the past couple of decades. You get sorted into your voice range, and then hang out for the night, mastering your part of the song (or two songs). A Facebook group keeps everything organized, and perhaps best of all, no auditions. Just listen to the chosen song before you get there – it makes things a lot easier!

    But the key to Choir! is the shared experience. You’re not alone, here. You can come from a place where you don’t know anybody in the city. Maybe you’re coming from a different culture. Maybe something is going on in your life that means you need people around you, and perhaps a new experience is the right place to find them. And as member Andrea McGavin tells us, this is often the catalyst for new people arriving at Choir, and singing becomes the experience that binds them – after all, that’s how it worked for her. Andrea had just moved to Toronto and didn’t know that many people. She wasn’t feeling like she had a strong social network, and Choir was the surprise that built that community for her. She points out that this feeling of being a bit lost or in flux can be the impetus to join a group like Choir:

    Sharing and connecting are really what make a choir work. And finding one that allows you to play in unexpected places with legendary performers is sort of a bonus. Nobu was especially touched by the Patti Smith story. Choir! went to the AGO that night with no expectation of accompanying the iconic songstress, but a happy turn of events found them all in Walker Court surrounding her. Even Patti was visibly moved. Nobu talks about that night:

    We’ve all had these moments that inspire or uplift us. But imagine sharing that ecstatic moment with 60 or 80 people who have felt exactly what you did. This is the key to Choir – it’s an ensemble. There’s no star. Everybody works together to create a moment, and that moment stays with them for years, as Nobu said at the top of this story. Daveed talks about the joy he feels from simply being able to relive those moments with his fellow Choir members:

    Choir’s only getting bigger, and Nobu and Daveed don’t exactly know what the future holds (although there are some exciting plans in the works). But they’ve expanded their range – there was a Choir! installment just for kids, and now Daveed and Nobu take their model to lead corporate team-building sessions (what better place to release your stress through song than at work?).

    And as any choir might know, one of the best times to sing is during the holidays. This superstrong community excels at Christmas. Before you run off and join Choir, which you can do by following them on Facebook or visiting www.choirchoirchoir.com, check out this video of them performing Wham!’s Last Christmas, a recording they did for charity:

    Thank you to all of you who contributed during our Early Spring Campaign.

    You are the reason we are able to return to our award-winning programming.


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