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
  • choristers should treat home rehearsal as they would piano lessons, with a reasonable number of daily practice sessions between “lessons”
  • choristers 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, choristers 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 - Solo

A chorister performs her short solo.

4:50 pm: Solos

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

 

Kids of Note - Circle Time

Circle Time

5:00 pm: 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

5:05 pm: Warm-up

  • to prepare our voices and centre ourselves
  • to have fun with vocalizing

 

 

 

Kids of Note - Actions

Kids of Note reviewing a song with actions

5:15: 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
  • choristers are encouraged to begin learning songs during the rehearsal without lyric sheets, using a call and response approach; for those who don’t read as well as others, this is one way of making the experience equitable
  • we often use actions while we’re learning a song to help us remember words
  • the director sometimes uses these actions later to remind performers of what is coming next in the song

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
  • choristers use the sound system
  • they 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
  • sound system is used
  • performers 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 chorister coming for one hour at 1, 2, or 3 pm
  • it’s 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

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

  • takes place the day before the concert, in the morning
  • everyone must attend
  • choristers 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

Christmas and Spring Concerts:

The show

  • is the culmination of everything the choristers have learned in the previous weeks
  • usually an hour long
  • if funding allows we hire guest musicians
  • the church is usually full, and often packed, especially for the Christmas show
  • choristers arrive 45-60 minutes before showtime to warm-up and receive last notes
  • each chorister receives 4 – $5 tickets with their registration ($20 is added to the fee); this is 2 tickets for the Christmas concert and 2 for the Spring event; these can be used by family or friends
  • tickets are usually $10 and available online at Picatic.com; generally we try to sell out in advance so that we don’t have to sell at the door

Additional performances:

Outreach Concerts

  • usually occur twice in the Spring
  • we poll families in advance to ensure we will have enough choristers available
  • 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 choristers 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 see Outreach

For Grosvenor Park United Church 

  • as a thank you to the congregation for their terrific support we sing at one church event (GPUC provides our rehearsal/concert/meeting/storage spaces for free and we have never been turned down for the bookings we want/need; we have access to all their sound equipment and musical instruments… we could go on…)
  • families are polled to ensure we have adequate numbers for the chosen event