Singing – Thursday September 1

Mass Appeal – Singing
Union Station
Thursday September 1
Rehearsal: 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Concert: 7:30 – 8:00 pm

The legendary Ella Fitzgerald once said that the only thing better than singing is more singing, and we could not think of a better way to begin Mass Appeal Winnipeg than with the musical instrument almost everyone receives at birth: the human voice.  Singing is one of the greatest ways to bring people together, and group singing has been proven to have both mental and physical health benefits.

Closer to home, Winnipeg is home to hundreds of choirs from the strictly amateur to the professional and semi-professional.  The number of church choirs is almost impossible to count, and music education including singing is an important part of programs at the University of Manitoba and Canadian Mennonite University.

But Mass Appeal is designed not just for people who want to sing professionally – it’s for anyone who wants to take part in the joy that comes from singing as a group.  So whether you’re a member of the Winnipeg Philharmonic, a karaoke superstar, or just an in-the-shower vocalist, this concert will let you take part in a unique Winnipeg Experience.

Mass Appeal – Singing takes place on Thursday September 1 under the dome at Union Station.  Under the direction of Ben Campbell, this impromptu ensemble will cover a range of easy-to-sing songs that are bound to have your voice raised and your spirit soaring.  Ben is a teacher and choir director with the River East Transcona School Division and a member of Winnipeg’s favourite a cappella group, Those Guys (

Rehearsal will take place between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm, with the concert running from 7:30 – 8:00.  To become a part of this choir, all you need to do is download the songs below and practice them on your own.  Each piece has some notes from Ben to help you discover where your range is, and what parts to learn.  then show up with your music and your instrument on the 25th!

music buttonHere’s what we’ll be singing.  Read on to find the music, sample tracks, and notes on each song from Conductor Ben!  You can download all the music as a single PDF file, or find individual versions of each song in the notes below.

Mass Appeal Choral repertoire:

Immortal Bach
One Great City – The Weakerthans
Barrett’s Privateers – Stan Rogers
Blackbird – The Beatles
Happy – Pharrell Williams

Ben says: Hello singers!

Here you will find instructions on how to choose a part in the choir appropriate to you, so that we can simply rehearse without having to assign parts to each singer. There are also notes on performance and details to mark in for a few of the songs.

First of all, if you have never sung in a choir before, and you are an “occasional singer”, we are happy to have you! You will do best (probably) to sing the melody in whichever octave is comfortable to you. The melody is either clearly labeled in our music, or can be found in the top line of the music. Sometimes it’s the Soprano part; sometimes it’s simply labeled “Voice” or “Melody”.

If you are up for a challenge, and you know which vocal part you normally sing, feel free to self-select that part. We will deal with issues of balance in rehearsal, but we probably won’t ask people to sing different parts than they are accustomed to.


1. Immortal Bach (Come, Sweet Death)

Ben’s sheet music download – Immortal Bach

Ben says: This piece will likely be the most challenging to put together. Please learn your own part ahead of time, if that is possible for you. There are printed instructions that explain how the piece unfolds. Read these carefully as well. Briefly:

We will divide into 5 groups of singers – hopefully each group will have singers from each voice part. (some fine tuning may be necessary here)

  • Last Names beginning with A-E will be Group 1,
  • F-J will be Group 2,
  • K-O will be Group 3,
  • P-S are Group 4, and
  • T-Z will be Group 5

The choir will sing through the hymn as written first. All singers breathe just before Sopranos come in with the second “Komm”. Breathe also at the end of the first four bars. We will try not to breathe during the last four bars (if you need air, breathe when someone else is not breathing)

After the first time through, all the singers begin again at measure 1, but each quarter note is held for different durations of time, based on your Group number. Breathe as necessary.

Group 1 (last names A-E) holds each note 4 seconds,
Group 2 (last names F-J) – 6 seconds
Group 3 (last names K-O) – 8 seconds
Group 4 (last names P-S) – 10 seconds
Group 5 (last names T-Z) – 12 seconds for each note!

Hold the last note of each section until all singers have reached the end of the section (Group 1, this will be a long time). There will be a cutoff gesture-watch for that!

Make your best attempt at the German – we will speak this in rehearsal. If you’re not the best German speaker, don’t worry, it’s only 11 words!

Note the dynamic scheme as well.


All parts together


2. One Great City

Ben’s sheet music download – One Great City

Ben says: Quite simply, if you are singing melodies, or if you are Soprano or Tenor, sing the Melody. If you are Alto or Bass, sing the Low Harmony part.




All parts together



3. Barrett’s Privateers

Ben’s sheet music download – Barrett’s Privateers

Ben says:  Sing your voice part. It goes around 9 times, and the last time, we slow down in the chorus.

Solo: If you would like to sing the solo part, learn all the words as they would fit to the melody. In the additional verses, all the beats have been bolded to give an indication of where to place the stresses. It is best to learn traditional music by ear, however.

If we have only a few soloists, we will sort them out one to a verse, but if we have many, we will choose a small group to sing all the verses.

If all else fails, choose a note that sort of works and belt this one out. It’s meant to be rough around the edges! For an authentic experience, see the live video of Alan Doyle trying to sing this in the Lower Deck Pub on YouTube.

Soprano / Alto
Tenor / Baritone

All parts together



4. Blackbird

Ben’s sheet music download – Blackbird

Ben says:  If you’re interested in singing the Melody, by all means do so! If you feel you want to try a harmony, if you are an Alto probably choose the Harmony part. If you are a Tenor or Bass, probably choose the Baritone part. But if another part calls to you, choose the one you want! We’ll assume that most people will choose a part that’s comfortable for them to sing. Often the melody is doubled anyways.


All parts together 



5. Happy

Ben’s sheet music download – Happy

Ben says:  Similar to the last one, except that the melody moves around and is more often given to the Baritone part than the Sopranos. If you want to sing the parts of the song that you know from listening, go ahead!

Experienced singers, sing your voice part.

There is some clapping to do! Everyone does the claps, even if you’re singing another part. Try to practice the claps whenever you practice the song.


All parts together


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