Sing! Out

It’s a wrap. We sang our hearts out at our farewell concert. It was way too much fun for me to feel sad. The singers outdid themselves! And our guest artists Darin Bergsven, Nancy MacGibbon, and Kyle Ollah added so much to the experience.

I am so proud of what we have accomplished. One of my favorite things about the chorus? Hearing the women sing out! It takes a lot of nerve and commitment to become a singer who is willing to sing loud enough for everyone to hear. I love that sound, and I love what it does for us to sing out like that. It’s good for confidence, for breath, for mind, and body. When we sing out together we become a force of nature. I love that these women were willing to go there with me.

A lot of people have asked me if I feel sad about closing down Sing! Well… mostly not. I feel so good about everything that happened in these 20 years, and I feel ready to rest, renew, and move on. I’m so glad for all of the relationships that were built in these years. There is so much to feel good about. But still, I’ll miss our friends and fans. And I’ll miss the weekly dose of time spent with the women who show up to sing.

There are a few things that make me cry. Mostly it’s the little things that represent the mundane parts of this effort: our last rehearsal in the choir room at Ordean East Middle School, erasing the “Upcoming Dates” and instruction on the chorus members page on this site, packing up the things from my chorus tote bag, the last official email I’m about to send to the singers. This has been a huge part of the fabric of my life, it’s the threads that I’ll miss, not the whole cloth.

Look for some new photos on our Facebook page. And, as a special bonus, I’ve made a few live recordings from the Farewell Concert available on Bandcamp. Our prior recording is on Bandcamp as well. Feel free to name your own price for downloads, if you want to get songs for free, enter 0.00 as the price.

I’ll leave this site, the Facebook page, the YouTube video, and the Bandcamp up for the next year or so. Stop by to reminisce and sing along.

Love to everyone. Over and out.


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In a short time…

In just a couple of weeks, we’ll be closing up the chorus with our big farewell concert, followed by our annual singers-only end of year potluck. Feels a bit like graduation for me. It’s so hard to believe that this effort, this community, this music, this way I spend my time, won’t be anymore. Much will linger; our relationships with each other cannot be undone. Truly, the biggest thing I will miss is sitting in a room with these women week after week.

Despite the hectic pace of getting ready for our concert, there are small moments where I can feel the music and anticipate the emotion of performing. We do have such a beautiful thing. I love the sound of these voices, I love the songs we sing, I love the women who keep me company and bring my music from inside my head into the real world. And the singers do so well. I often feel a rush of awe and pride at just how good they sound.

Please come to hear our Farewell Concert, 7pm, June 8 at Weber Music Hall. Until then, cheer yourself up by watching our music video.

Sing! A Women’s Chorus – Carolyn Sue Olson

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Catch us while you can

Things are going very quickly as we prepare for our final months together. Make sure to come out to a performance or two before the chorus wraps up our 20 years and performs our final concert. See our list of upcoming events, and don’t forget to join us for our fabulous Farewell Concert on June 8th at Weber Music Hall.

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Class Canceled January 30

Duluth Public Schools are closed Tuesday 1/29 and Wednesday 1/30 due to cold weather. Sing! will not rehearse Wednesday, January 30. See everyone on February 6!

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Playing Out

The chorus is about to start singing again after our winter break. I’m working on details for performances between now and June. Performing is so much fun for me, I love to connect with the audience and honestly enjoy the bit of adrenaline that comes along with it.

Getting used to the nerves, the anticipation, the rush of singing through something while everyone is watching can take a while to get used to. I find that the focus of an upcoming performance also leads us to up our game. With each time out we get a little stronger. For many of our performances not all the singers are able to be present. Those small group shows add another element of challenge; two or three singers on a part is very different than five or six or more. But eventually we all come to a point of enjoying the opportunity to take on a song in a more personal way.

Our Farewell Concert will be on June 8 at Weber Music Hall. I am really looking forward to this. The Weber is a great venue for us – so much space on the stage! We’ll have some guests to add to the music, and will sing absolutely everything we can. Save the date, you don’t want to miss this show!

The thought of my last performance with the chorus is hard for me to grasp. I know one thing. I’m gonna cry. These bonds we form when singing together are strong and powerful. The knowledge that we come together to sing on a regular basis provides grounding for our lives. We are not just a group of people who sing together, we are a community.

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Time to savor – this is our final year

Friends, this school year, 2018-2019, will be my 20th year with Sing! In that time I estimate I’ve lead upwards of 550 rehearsals or performances. 20 years feels like a good run and I’ve decided to make this our final year. We plan to finish up with a big performance next June.

I still absolutely love this group. I love our sound, I love looking at the faces of women concentrating, trying hard, lighting up with joy or delight, busting out with laughter, or clouding with tears and emotion. It seems like a good idea to fold things up before I feel weary or wish I were done.

So many emotions in this time. The chorus is a community, my community, and it is so difficult to imagine my life without that weekly shot of singing with the women I know and love.

In the fall of 1999 I had a vision of teaching women to sing, offering a place for adults to learn to make music that was fun and included interacting with others rather than practicing alone. I also had an idea about a choral sound that was earthy, textured, natural; that just sounded like people singing, not like polished “singers.” I feel confident that I have accomplished both of these things. I didn’t anticipate everything else we would build in the meantime. Because this is very much a joint effort.

One of the most important things we have built, which is most dependent on the women in the chorus, is a welcoming environment. There is so much good feeling and goodwill when we are all in a room, it is ridiculous. (Want a taste? Just watch our video.)

We’ll be out and about this year, so make sure to catch up with us. Check this page or follow us on Facebook. I’m calling this year our “Farewell Tour.” We may even make it out of Duluth for a show or two.

I will definitely be savoring our time together and the music we make. I’m also certain that the women in this group will continue to make music. As for me? I’m learning to play the trumpet.


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A little rest and relaxation

Sing! takes the summers off. We all need a little break, and summer schedules mean we’re not available at the same times. We’ll have some performance dates and some news to share with you in late summer.

Meanwhile, have you watched our video lately? And, did you know that you can get free streaming and free downloads of our EP on Bandcamp?

Singers, keep our eyes on our For Chorus Members page for details of summer get-togethers.

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Number Nine

This year will be Sing!’s 9th performance at the Homegrown Music Festival. It never gets old. Homegrown really gives me a boost, it is so great to feel we are a part of Duluth’s music community. It is so awe-inspiring to see all of these people who commit themselves to making music. It is amazing to recognize that most of the musicians do this in their spare time, to bring all of the benefits of music to themselves, their bandmates, and the community. That’s a movement.

Come out to see our show on Friday, May 4, 6:30pm, at AICHO’s Dr. Robert Powless Cultural Center, 212 West 2nd St, Duluth. This is a free and all-ages event! No reason to miss it. Plus, there is a great lineup: Sing! opens at 6:30pm, followed by Lyz Jaakola’s family rock band #theindianheadband at 7:30pm, rounded out the great horn section from A Band Called Truman at 8:30pm.

Can’t wait to take in all the shows!

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Everything old is new again

I first met Kathy McTavish more than 30 years ago. We were part of a group of women musicians talking, listening, and thinking about feminism in relationship to classical music. She played cello in a performance of my college honors project. In those days I was very engaged with the music and ideas of lesbian and gay experimental composers like Pauline Oliveros, John Cage, Lou Harrison, and Harry Partch.

Kathy has always had a mind that incorporates innovation, thought, experimentation, and lesbian representation. Lately she is working with multi-media art in collision with computer programming. Her current installation Chance at Duluth’s Tweed Museum of Art, is a powerful testament to an artist’s careful attention to the voice within.

Chance is a synergetic installation that combines code, image, and sound to create a cross-sensory, polyphonic experience. A landscape of painted walls and multi-channel sound encloses the viewer. Choreographed by code, a circle of machine quartets investigate chance, emergence, friction, resonance and change.”

When Kathy approached me about bringing Sing! to this piece, I knew immediately that I wanted to do it. It has been a wonderful gift to hear what Kathy is thinking and how it is expressed in her art.

The chorus recorded some tones that will be incorporated into the soundscape of the installation. Then we’ll show up to sing live in the space. Expect a dreamy, atmospheric, flow of song fragments in response to the sound and sights of the room. We’ll be performing Tuesday, March 13 at 6:30pm at the Tweed Museum.

These days experimental music composition is very far from my normal means of expression. And this has certainly been a new experience for the singers; we’re working quite outside of our usual mode of music-making. It feels good to stitch together some of my past with a piece of my present.

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Putting it to bed

Our EP release concert has come and gone, the video is finished and the chorus is taking a deep breath. We worked really hard to put all of this together, and we were so lucky to have so many friends to help us with the recording, the concert and the video. Thank you all! We had the best time at the concert. Not to mention the singers got a little time before the show to hang out with each other – that feels good! Still, for all of the fun we had, I’ll always feel that just sitting down to sing with each other feels the best.

Thanks to Daniel Oyinloye for this truly awesome video! It expresses all of the fun and excitement the chorus has experienced as we keep moving forward toward new musical and community experiences.

Also don’t miss our streaming and download access to the EP on Bandcamp.

Thank you singers, for giving it your all!

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