Vocal Tips, Techniques and Tricks from award winning choir The Stairwell Carollers and Director, Pierre Massie


Some French Pronunciation and Tuning work

Topiary trapper canoes on a sea of flowers at Mosaic Hull Quebec

Some of the trickiest navigation for a singer can be pronunciation. You can feel like you are thrown about like a canoe in a storm, especially if you are working in another language. To avoid drowning, you need skill - and to be in control.

As a bilingual choir, we regularly sing songs in both French and English - as well as in many other languages.

French Carol sheet music

To ensure we have the correct pronunciation, we always try to get help from experts -- people who study or first language is the one we are working in. Many years ago, we learned that there are two ways to pronounce Latin - one for speaking and one for singing!

We have been so fortunate to have choir members from many cultures, who speak German, Finnish, Spanish, French - and even proper English! We also reached out to experts to sing the Huron Carol properly in the original Wyandot language.

Here is a little sample of Pierre working on pronunciation of a small part of the popular French Christmas Carol, Tous Le Ciel Reluit (All the Heavens Glow).

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About The Stairwell Carollers:

Pierre Massie started our a cappella choir in 1977 while a music student at Ottawa University. The Stairwell Carollers are ranked with the best of Ontario choirs, winning both the 2010 and 2013 Ontario Music Festival Association competitions.

A registered Canadian charity, we also help local charities with our concert, CD and cookbook sales.