How We Work

How we work and why we do it this way…

If you’re new to Kids of Note or thinking of joining, you may want to know what to expect from our rehearsals and concerts. If you’ve been around a while you may wonder why we do some things the way we do. Here are some answers:

We perform one Christmas and one Spring concert per school year. These are our main events and they take place at Grosvenor Park United Church in Saskatoon.

While there are terrific social benefits in belonging to Kids of Note, the choir functions at its best when the members join because they love to sing. Kids of Note exists to give children an opportunity to develop their talents as singers and performers. We don’t see ourselves as providing a therapeutic service; we see ourselves as artists who have something to communicate.

Home practice:
Kids of Note - Home Rehearsal

Home Rehearsal

Expectations

  • in as few as 12 one-hour rehearsals and one dress rehearsal, Kids of Note strive to present as polished a concert as possible; this can’t be accomplished without some practice at home
  • singers should treat home rehearsal as they would piano lessons, with a reasonable number of daily practice sessions between “lessons”
  • singers must keep all their lyrics and CDs organized in a binder
  • the sooner songs are memorized, the sooner we can start having fun “interpreting” them
Kids of Note - CDs and Lyrics

CDs and Lyrics

CDs and lyrics

  • to facilitate home rehearsal, singers receive CDs and lyric sheets
  • a CD with about half the songs is provided at the third or fourth rehearsal, and another with all the songs is provided two or three weeks later
  • by providing two CDs per concert it’s hoped that singers won’t be overwhelmed by the number of songs; the two CD approach also allows for adjustments to some of the recorded songs on the second CD and provides more time to assess who should sing what and when
  • often there are two versions of each song on the CD, one slower and one up to tempo
  • sometimes there are parts provided on the CDs for rounds, harmonies, solos, special arrangements, etc.

Each Wednesday rehearsal typically includes:

Kids of Note - Circle Time

Circle Time - a few minutes of sharing at the beginning of a rehearsal

Circle time

  • a few minutes to get to know one another better
  • a chance to share choir information or ideas about better singing and performing
Kids of Note - Warm Up

Warming up

Warm-up

  • to prepare our voices and centre ourselves
  • to have fun with vocalizing
Kids of Note - Solo

A Kids of Note singer performs her solo

Solos

  • a voluntary opportunity for three or four members to share a one-minute solo with the group
  • singers challenge themselves and the director gets to hear how singers are improving over time
  • singers build confidence as they’re cheered on by the rest of the group
Kids of Note - Actions

Kids of Note reviewing a song with actions

Song review

  • four to six concert songs are practised, including occasional solos, duets, and trios
  • the director attempts to “surprise” the singers with new songs for the first few weeks
  • singers are encouraged to begin learning songs during the rehearsal without lyric sheets, using a call and response approach
  • we often use actions while we’re learning a song to help us remember words
  • the director sometimes uses these actions later to remind singers of what is coming next

Breaks

  • we aim to take two very short breaks for water and socializing

Special Wednesday rehearsals:

First half run-through

  • this occurs on the second to last Wednesday rehearsal before the concert
  • everyone must attend
  • singers use sound system
  • singers practise their entrance, staging, mic moves, etc.
  • The Notations are included
  • stage managers (usually four parent volunteers) receive scripts to help them move mics and props on and off stage
  • sometimes guest musicians rehearse as well

Second half run-through

  • this occurs on the last Wednesday rehearsal before the concert
  • everyone must attend
  • singers use sound system
  • singers practise staging, mic moves, final bows and exit
  • The Notations are included
  • stage managers rehearse as above
  • sometimes guest musicians rehearse as well
Other special rehearsals:

Small group rehearsals

  • this is voluntary
  • usually takes place on a Saturday afternoon with each singer coming for one hour at 1, 2, or 3 pm
  • is an opportunity for the director to see how the individual singers are doing with lyrics and melodies and receive help
  • a time for the director and pianist to work out details of the song interpretation

Full show run-through

(also called the Dress Rehearsal, though no one has to dress up)

  • takes place the day before the concert, in the morning
  • everyone must attend
  • singers use the sound system and rehearse with the full band
  • The Notations are included
  • can take up to two hours even though the show runs just over an hour
  • after the Spring dress rehearsal we hold our traditional pizza party wind-up luncheon

Christmas and Spring Concerts:

The show

  • is the culmination of everything the singers have learned in the previous weeks
  • usually an hour long
  • if funding allows we hire guest musicians
  • the church is usually full, and sometimes packed for the Christmas show
  • singers arrive 45-60 minutes before showtime to warm-up
  • it’s a free event, but donations are happily and gratefully accepted

The reception

  • an opportunity for Kids of Note, The Notations and their audience to meet and celebrate the accomplishments of the singers
  • lots of baking and refreshments are provided free of charge
  • the atmosphere is extra festive thanks to parents decorating the hall

Additional performances:

GPUC worship services

  • as a thank you to the congregation for their support we sing at one Fall and one Spring church service
  • this is an opportunity for new members to gain experience performing in the space where they will give their concert
  • first time soloists sometimes get to sing at a service and this builds their confidence in a safe environment before the concert
  • while attendance is voluntary, we need a reasonable number of singers so that they can adequately support one another vocally and be heard well in the Sanctuary
  • Kids of Note sing two songs each time, usually near the beginning of the 10:00 a.m. service
  • afterwards singers are invited to join the Sunday school for a special program (story, craft, snacks) while parents who wish to, stay upstairs for the service
  • following the service families are invited to stay for coffee, an additional opportunity for Kids of Note children to receive the thanks of the congregation

Outreach concerts

  • usually occur twice in the spring
  • are about half an hour in length, with a run-through rehearsal starting about 75 minutes before showtime
  • are provided as a service to the community though an honorarium is requested to cover expenses
  • provide a new challenge for the singers as they present a part of their longer concert in an unfamiliar venue
  • help to build our audience, increase the visibility of Kids of Note for fundraising purposes and raise the profile of an integrated model for community living
  • for further information please seeĀ Outreach