October 20, 2014
Thanks to Total Choir Resources for publishing this interview:
CHOIR VIEW: Hallelujah! Clown Choir
by Victoria Hopkins
In the latest of our occasional ‘Choir View’ series, we meet a very unusual choir from Ireland, led by rehearsal director Louise Foxe.
Q: Tell us a bit about your choir and how you came to lead it.
My cousin’s boyfriend told me about a ‘clown choir’ starting up in a theatre near where I live (the theatre’s name, ‘Draiocht’ means ‘Magic’ in Irish) in Blanchardstown. The choir was looking for leaders. The musical director lives in Scotland and does intensive rehearsals with the choir once a month, but the weekly rehearsal leadership was to be shared among four people. I had never heard of a ‘clown choir’ and was intrigued, so I looked it up and really liked what I read:
‘….The main performance programme will be innovative – The M50 Symphony, An Evening Rendition of 100 Green Bottles. There will also be elements of red nose performance in the programme. Hallelujah! is open to anyone regardless of ability. There is no audition process for Hallelujah! The ethos of Hallelujah! is accessibility and artistic excellence… Rehearsal directors will be expected to work collaboratively with Debra Salem, the Musical Director to deliver creative and inspiring rehearsals… a high quality of artistic engagement… develop and lead an inspiring programme with the support of Debra…’
It sounded great – fun, aspirational and inclusive without being patronising. It also sounded fabulous to have the support of the musical director, and to work as part of a team (choir direction can sometimes be quite solitary. “Draiocht,” are also hugely supportive of the choir – in terms of resources, time, and people.
Q: What sort of repertoire do you cover and where do you perform?
As you can see from the above, the repertoire isn’t exactly run-of-the-mill. Debra and Veronica (the artistic director) choose fun, uplifting pieces, often building and creating them into something more, into which the element of ‘red-nose’ performance can be incorporated. The musical and red-nose element really complement each other. Inevitably, though, the music is accessible to all and enjoyable. For example, we’ve sung songs such as Barbara Ann, Gareth Malone’s three-way round including Swing Low, When the Saints and I’m Gonna Sing, Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, California Dreamin’, Freedom is Coming, various Christmas carols and Debra’s own Christmas compositions. We are now learning Rufus Wainwright’s Beautiful Child and Stand By Me, so it’s a varied programme. We’ve performed at launches of exhibitions, Christmas parties in the theatre, “Culture Night,” (an annual night in Dublin where all cultural venues open their doors for free) and we’ve done, “Flash mob,” performances in the shopping centre across from the theatre – among other things!
Q: What are your plans and hopes for the future of your choir?
I would like for people to continue to enjoy the choir and to produce work of which they are truly proud. I would like the people involved to feel that they have achieved something, and have given something, from being involved with the choir. The choir has a finite life-span, so in terms of concrete results, we will have performances and hopefully a recording at Christmas, and then more performances next year. To see a room full of adults acting like loonybins, having great fun doing it, and being totally comfortable doing so in front of each other (this is the red-nose element) is hilarious. It’s also remarkable considering they were strangers when they walked in the door, and it’s impossible to go to a rehearsal without being cheered up. If that’s happening for me, and I’m the rehearsal director, then I hope the rewards are ten-fold for the members of the choir.
Q: What do you get from Total Choir Resources and what else would you like to see on the site?
The site is brilliant. Thanks a million. The warm-up exercises are great, as are the ‘cheat sheets’. The technical tips are also extremely helpful – especially because they’re written in layman’s language. Also, the pieces on the psychological aspects of performance are useful and reassuring; so basically I get loads – I love everything! I suppose you could have a section where people can upload warm-ups or rounds or things like that, but really that’s covered on your Facebook page, so it’s not totally necessary. You could have a section for technical questions and perhaps a ‘looking for members’ section.
Our thanks to Louise for taking the time to tell us about her extraordinary choir. I think we can all learn something about innovation and creativitiy for our choirs from this group, whether we don red noses or not. You can find out more about Hallelujah Clown Choir here.
September 18, 2014
Draiocht's Hallelujah Clown Choir are travelling into Dublin's City Centre for Culture Night this Friday 19 September 2014.
You can catch them indoors in City Hall at 7.30pm, click here for more.
Followed by an outdoor slot in Barnardo's Square at 8.15pm.
We hope to see you there!
September 8, 2014
8 Sept 2014
We're delighted to welcome everyone back to Clown Choir this Sunday 14th September 2014, 11am-5pm. New Members are always welcome, so come along if you're interested and want to see what its all about.
Below is some information about the artistic focus of this year’s Clown Choir.
The artistic team has been streamlined and will be made up of:
Clown Director - Veronica Coburn
Choir Director - Debra Salem
Rehearsal Director - Louise Foxe
Veronica will lead all sessions, Debra will travel over to lead the choir musically every fourth week for the weekend sessions and Louise will take care of the notes on Mondays.
Artistically, the choir is going to focus on building a musical repertoire suitable for performance in multiple contexts. They'll also look to build a repertoire of short clown sketches that can be interspersed with the songs. The idea is to have a store of adaptable material for use in any performance context. They will also investigate the idea of an original show for the choir built on participants' own experiences. This work will be of a more long term nature and will probably reach fruition in 2015.
There is a €100 euro participant fee for the Clown Choir for 2014. Payment can be made through Draíocht’s Box Office. Box Office opening hours are 10am-6pm Monday-Friday for Clown Choir Payments. Should you need to pay in weekly installments etc, please contact Emer by e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (01 8098027) to make arrangements.
September-December 2014 Rehearsal dates in Draíocht:
Sunday 14th 11am – 5pm
Monday 15th 7pm – 10pm
Monday 22nd 7pm – 10pm
Monday 29th 7pm – 10pm
Sunday 5th 11am – 5pm
Monday 6th 7pm – 10pm
Monday 13th 7pm – 10pm
Monday 20th 7pm – 10pm
Sunday 2nd 11am – 5pm
Monday 3rd 7pm – 10pm
Monday 10th 7pm – 10pm
Monday 17th 7pm – 10pm
Sunday 23rd 11am – 5pm
Monday 24th 7pm – 10pm
Monday 1st 7pm – 10pm
Saturday 6th 11am – 5pm
Sunday 7th 11am – 5pm
Monday 8th 7pm – 10pm
*Tuesday 16th 5.30pm – 7.30pm
(*Performance at Draíocht’s Christmas Drinks tbc)
For any further information, contact Emer McGowan, Director Draiocht, by e-mail (email@example.com) or phone (01-8098027).
April 1, 2014
DRAÍOCHT IS DELIGHTED TO ANNOUNCE ITS CONTINUED SUPPORT OF HALLELUJAH! IT’S COMMUNITY CLOWN CHOIR
Hallelujah! began in 2012 as part of Veronica Coburn’s Artist in Residency programme in Draíocht for 2012/2013. A Clown Choir is a group of people who gather together to sing and laugh – to sing in celebration of what it is to be human and to laugh at the ridiculousness of the world we live in. Hallelujah! is a choir like no other producing performances that are one part play to two parts song; one part concert to two parts clown theatre. Nobody is asked to do anything that s/he is not comfortable with but for those who are interested in stepping into the spotlight then there is ample opportunity for them to do so.
In 2013 Hallelujah! performed their signature tune, Smile written by Charlie Chaplin, in a variety of places including The Blanchardstown Town Centre, the annual Harvest Fair in Wolfe Tone Square and at The College of Surgeons for Culture Night. The choir also worked on a performance piece about road rage entitled The M50 Symphony. The M50 Symphony was an original work for human voice and car horn. And to finish the year the choir performed their Clown Nativity in The Main Space in Draíocht.
In 2014, we’ll focus on building a musical & red nose repertoire, selection of songs and short clown sketches, suitable for performance in a variety of contexts. We also want to investigate the idea of an original show for the choir inspired by participants' own experiences. This work will be of a more long-term nature to reach fruition in 2015.
We are currently welcoming new members to Hallelujah! If you are sociable, like to sing, like to laugh and are open to trying new things then WE WANT YOU! You don’t have to be a good singer to join Hallelujah! You don’t have to be a performer to join Hallelujah! You just have to be interested and willing. The ethos of Hallelujah! is accessibility, inclusiveness and artistic excellence.
Hallelujah!’s weekly rehearsals for 2014 begin on February 24th 2014. Come along see what it’s all about. You will be introduced to the basic concepts of Clown Theatre and you will learn Hallelujah!’s signature tune.
For Hallelujah! Veronica Coburn is Artistic & Clown Director. Choir Director is Debra Salem. Rehearsal Director is Louise Foxe.
For further information please contact Leigh on firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01-8098026.
August 12, 2013
Draíocht's Community Clown Choir is delighted to welcome 20 new participants to its existing group of 60 members. The choir meets every Monday night and is starting work on its forthcoming production 'Hallelujah! A Clown Nativity' ... more here ...
If you are sociable - like to sing - like to laugh - and are the type of person who is open to trying new things - THEN WE WANT YOU! No singing experience is required. You just have to be over 16.
Deadline for Applications: Wed 11 Sept 2013, 6pm ... Call in to Draíocht's Box Office for an Application Form Now!
Or email email@example.com and we will email one to you.
Or Download one now.
For further enquiries, please contact Emer on 01 8098027 or firstname.lastname@example.org