Pax Christi Chorale

Pax Christi Chorale

Pax Christi Chorale
Bruce Owen is an extraordinary person who, with a team of dedicated supporters, presents a wonderful series of classical concerts in Barrie, Ontario, about an hour drive north of Toronto. Pax Christi, my 100-voice oratorio choir, with our amazing soloists and orchestra, performed our Salieri and Mozart programme there to an appreciative full house, after being fed a roast beef dinner. Does it get any better?

My question on this blog is to singers, orchestra players and audience. I found last night on arriving at the venue that we didn’t have a  lot of extra room, and the soloists ended up right in front of me. I decided not to use my stick since there really was no room to wave it. There’s a romance about the stick, or the conducting baton. It gives conductors something to carry like their friends in the orchestra, or perhaps it represents some kind of control, or maybe it’s just more clear than using bare hands, but does it enhance the performance?

My question for the performers is – what do you prefer? You can compare last night’s experience with this afternoon when we sing the piece again in Toronto.

Please leave your comments!

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8 Responses to Salieri and the stick

  1. Emily says:

    Good Morning Step, During the concert last night, I was very much enjoying your conducting without the stick and thinking it was ‘the better way’. You have the gift of beautifully expressive hands in your conducting, so that the feel of the music, tempos and interpretations come through so wonderfully when both hands are free and open to do the conducting. I still remember our former conductor Lee Bartel’s comment after the first time he saw you conduct us many years ago that it was a real pleasure to watch your expressiveness in the beautiful movements of your hands while conducting. No stick is my vote even before this afternoon’s performance at Grace Church on-the-Hill!

  2. Stokowski made it work…

  3. Mo says:

    No stick, please.
    You are blessed with opposable thumbs. Please, don’t thwart your thumbs? When there is a stick stuck between thumb and fingers the lovely lexicon of your eight fingers and two thumbs is basically halved. How sad to limit your vocabulary! Bare hands can communicate consonants, cut-offs, attacks, releases, swells, as well as the pace of an amplitude change. A Baton is like a visual metronome with a dimmer switch – a pale comparison to your expressive hands.
    Besides, your hands dance so beautifully.

  4. Susan says:

    Hi Stephanie – was just checking the line breaks in Christmas Cattle for the program, and found your blog! I agree with previous comments .. I prefer no stick. I really appreciate the expressivity of your hands, particularly for delicate cut-offs, and for their emotive quality.

  5. Ken says:

    No stick. Sticks are good in the right time and place, like the military band I played in when I was young. For a choir, no stick. Hands are much more expressive.

  6. Jane McClean says:

    I am late checking in here. I agree with the others. Your hands were so expressive at the Saturday night concert. I felt that there was a special intimacy between you and the choir without the stick. You have beautiful hands so use them!

  7. Ann Power says:

    Your hands are very expressive and it was very apparent on that Saturday night that they seem to elicit even more beautiful sounds from the choir.
    My vote is no stick.

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