The Braille Tone Choir began 17 years ago as a small choir directed by Scott Leithead. None of us had any idea of the fun and music we were about to have.
We began singing in unison. Our first song was Eric Clapton’s Tears in Heaven
As we got better singing together we had our first taste of three part Harmony in African music. We sang Siyahamba. At the time we had one main director and an accompanist.
Eventually we mastered harmony and then we tried scat solos in the song Blue Moon. Soon Scott would introduce members of the Kokopelli Youth Choir as section leaders for us to follow. One soprano leader, one bass leader and Scott would lead the alto section. Scott would throw other challenges at us like solos & duets.
We had a lot of fun as Scott began to notice all the visual references in music.
“I see skies of blue…” in What a Wonderful World; “Gentle ladies, Gentleman… I’ve been thinking, we’ve been rather blind, let us leave every difference behind” in Song for Peace. We always had fun singing African songs. We did expand to 4-part harmony. We tried dance too, but that’s a little more complicated.
Scott eventually left us in the capable hands of Carmen So. She brought a similar but special tone to our repertoire. She brought us The Prayer that got us singing in Italian. She brought us songs from the Maritimes and tunes from popular musicals, like Singing in the Rain. She also taught us to sing a cappella. Great fun was had!
Now we have Susan Farrell leading us. She brings us fun-spirited enthusiasm.
We have dance parties for warm-ups. We joke around making musical puns.
We love music!
We love singing!
We love a challenge.
Ximena Perez – BT Choir member since 1996
The Braille Tone Choir has been in existence since 1996. Through the dedicated work of our conductor, accompanist, section leaders and choristers, we perform up to six-part harmony in a variety of musical genres and languages.
The Braille Tone Choir is under the direction of Susan Farrell and accompanied by Vicky Berg. Our membership consists of adults with varying disabilities, musical training and experience. It is a non-auditioned choir, except to determine what section would be most appropriate for a new singer. There is no cost to the singers in joining the choir. The Braille Tone Music Society of Canada and its many generous sponsors fund the choir completely.
Rehearsals are held Saturday mornings from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at Kiwanis Place Senior Residence (10330 – 120 St.). Our typical choir season runs from September to June.
The choir typically performs four to five times per year, including wind-ups, nursing home tours, and is a guest choir at Kokopelli’s Encore concert each year.