This October, for the first time in its 21 year history, Tone Cluster went on a weekend retreat to Tucker House – a large old mansion converted to a retreat centre on 30 acres of land just outside of Rockland, Ontario. In this beautiful, quiet setting—we even saw three deer and a flock of wild turkeys just outside the window one morning—the choir came together in song and laughter.
Friday night we had a rehearsal until 9pm, then we headed outside for a bonfire with nacho’s and beer. On Saturday morning we had a two hour vocal workshop with Laurence Ewashko, an associate professor at Ottawa University, who inspired us with his insights on how to make our instrument (the voice) the best it can be. One thing I will remember is to raise the chest when I sing and engage my core. He also made us laugh, which is a good way to relax and also helps you sing better.
After lunch, we mixed it up with Kathy Armstrong the Artistic Director of the Baobab Community, who led a drumming workshop. It was challenging for some of us to stay focused on one rhythm, while others went off in another direction. It all came together in the end though, and we had lots of fun trying the different instruments Kathy brought to the session.
After another rehearsal, where we listened to some of the pieces we will be singing this season, we sat down to a delicious dinner of chili and salads created by Tone Cluster members.
The evening entertainment included a rousing game of “Name that Tune” (courtesy of Rob Bowman) followed by a hilarious game of charades with a twist (thanks to Margaret Linton and David Hudson).
On Sunday morning, members of the choir had a relaxed roundtable discussion facilitated by Board members to talk about the choir soliciting fundraising ideas, feedback on the retreat and future community involvement. After a delicious lunch, we had another short rehearsal before packing up to go home.
A great time was had by all. In fact, it was such a success that we plan to do it again next year. The date is set for Oct 2-4, 2015. Choir members – mark your calendars.