Whether you can or can’t sing, Choir! Choir! Choir! wants to hear your voice.
Formed in 2010, CCC is a community choir open to all comers, gathering twice weekly at Clinton’s Tavern in Toronto to practise and perform a song which changes with each meeting. Led by Nobu Adilman and Daveed Goldman, the group charges 5 dollars for a lyric sheet and splits the choir up into three groups by pitch.
Adilman says the “sense of connection” is the big draw for the group, calling the choir’s many participants “a cross-section of [Toronto],” Adilman says all sorts show up to sing: “19 to 79 [years old] and everything in between.”
The group has a “really exciting summer planned,” which includes performances at festivals like Osheaga, Feastival, and Winnipeg Folk Festival, where they plan on “turning the crowd into a choir.”
Adilman revels in the chance to perform at festivals, which he says gives “concert-goers the opportunity to perform with their favourite artists.”
He won’t say who has gotten involved just yet, wishing to keep an air of secrecy around CCC’s plans, but he does say that they are working with multiple artists for the festivals. Regardless of who they perform with, there’s no denying it will make for a unique festival experience.
“We want to be a bridge between the audience and the artist,” Adilman says, “we’re going to bring the fun of our weekly choir sessions to the festival, which means turning the audience into a choir… every choir session is an opportunity to build an arrangement that will never be done the same way again.”
The smaller weekly meetings have come to supplement the bigger performances by the group, which became more common throughout 2016 as the group gained popularity through its tribute performances.
When David Bowie died last January, Adilman sensed that the group could bring people together in the wake of the loss.
“When David Bowie died, there just seemed to be this outpouring online… this is a guy that we grew up with, whose music and art and presence on Earth had such a huge impact on us, and then we recognized that a lot of other people were feeling this way, so it just made sense to pay tribute to him.”
He was right, and the tribute to Bowie became “the first major event” that the group did, with 500+ showing up at the AGO to perform “Space Oddity”. The video went viral, and its popularity led to the group being invited to other Bowie tributes, including one at Carnegie Hall. Check out a video of the AGO performance below:
But that wasn’t it. Later in 2016 their tribute to Prince at Massey Hall drew nearly 2,000 participants. They also performed Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors” at Nathan Philips Square as part of a memorial for the Orlando nightclub shooting. Their video of Rufus Wainwright leading a crowd of 1,500 in a performance of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” drew more than 5 million views on YouTube, smashing the group’s previous record of just under a million.
It’s exciting to see CCC building a community of music-lovers around their performances, and even better to see such a unique project gaining attention world-wide. Time will tell just how big they can get.
Choir! Choir! Choir! meets Tuesday and Wednesday nights at Clinton’s Tavern, so be sure to check it out if you’re in the area.
Post by Dan Goldsmith