Choir – Thursday September 21

Mass Appeal – Choir
Manitoba Legislature
Thursday September 21
Rehearsal: 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Concert: 7:30 – 8:00 pm

Choir at the Manitoba Legislature

When we introduced Mass Appeal to Winnipeg in 2016, the choir was the first event we held. We had no idea how it would turn out, but we were beyond thrilled with the reception and the participation at Winnipeg’s Union Station. In keeping with the idea of singing in signature Winnipeg buildings, we’ve decided to stage this year’s Mass Appeal choir at the Manitoba Legislature building – we can’t think of a nicer place (or one with better acoustics!) to sing this year.

The wonderful thing about this event is that you don’t need anything more than your voice to participate. Last year we had a wonderful mix of first-timers singing alongside seasoned pros, and it was truly a marvel. Watch the video on our Photos page to see and hear some of what happened at Mass Appeal in 2016.

If you’re intimidated by the idea of choral singing, never fear! Our conductor, Ben Campbell, is a fantastic conductor and educator. This is the perfect opportunity to learn how choirs work, or to join in and sing with friends and friends-to-be. In addition to the music, videos, and sound clips below, Ben suggests that you have a look at this page if you want to learn to read a choral score. It’s geared to beginners and will help set your mind at ease.

The Mass Appeal Choir will gather on Thursday September 21 at the Manitoba Legislature. Ben and his accompanists will lead you through covering a range of easy-to-sing songs that are bound to have your voice raised and your spirit soaring. We’ll be singing some well-known songs from the likes of Sting and Justin Timberlake, as well as some homegrown Winnipeg numbers from Red Moon Road and Juno Award winners, The Wailin’ Jennys.

Rehearsal will take place between 6:00 and 7:00 pm, with the concert running from 7:30 – 8:00 pm. To participate as a player, 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. All you need to bring is the music and your instrument!

Mass Appeal Choir repertoire:

One Voice – The Wailin’ Jennys
Woodsmoke and Oranges – Ian Tamblyn
Fields of Gold – Sting
Beauty in These Broken Bones – Red Moon Road
Can’t Stop The Feelin’ – Justin Timberlake

One Voice – The Wailin’ Jennys

Ben says: This is a song which celebrates the voice, for all it can do for us as people. It is written by local band The Wailin’ Jennys.

First some general notes: 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 can usually be found in the top line of the music. Sometimes it’s the Soprano part; while sometimes it moves between parts, but if you listen to the popular or suggested recording, you will hear the melody over everything else.

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.

For One Voice in particular, Soprano/Melody singers should follow the top Soprano line. Altos will sing the second Soprano part (on the middle line) and Tenors/Baritones/Basses will sing “Alto” (the bottom line of the music). The melody repeats several times with different words.

Be aware of the time signature changes – the top number indicates the number of steady beats I will give per bar, so count that many for each bar. I will clearly indicate when you should sing. Try to practice counting the beats and especially rests while listening to the recording.

There is a piano accompaniment to this – it is not sung “a cappella,” or just voices.


Woodsmoke and Oranges – Ian Tamblyn

Ben says: This song is based in the area of Lake Superior, and celebrates the call of home in a wild, mysterious country. There is danger on the lake, but there’s something about it that has a hold on the writer. For anyone who’s been on a canoe, there is something primal and very Canadian about it. Canadian songwriter Ian Tamblyn gives us this song, and it is arranged in the style of the “a cappella” band Three Sheets to the Wind (but will not be sung a cappella!).

For this song, voice parts are as indicated – Sopranos have the melody for the entire song. Altos and “Baritones” have harmony parts. Listen to the individual practice recordings to hear your part emphasized. Everyone has the same rhythm all together – you may find it useful in your practice to simply talk the rhythm at first, rather than matching the notes and rhythms right away.

There are a couple of words which may require pronunciation help. They have been placed overtop of the music in their original form, and I have replaced them with phonetic equivalents within the music. For example, Pukaskwa becomes (Puck-a-saw). Also, a note – a wanigan is a trunk designed to fit in a canoe. It’s pronounced like it looks – WAN-i-gən.

If there is anyone who can manage a loon call convincingly, you are welcome to insert them at appropriate moments.

Woodsmoke and Oranges Listening Tracks:





Fields of Gold – Sting

Ben Says: When I hear this song I am transported to waving fields of grain – there was never a pop song that gave such an image of “Prairies”. In Woodsmoke and Oranges, home is rugged shores and silver birch; here it is golden barley. The main character of this story promises to come home to their love, and once again walk in fields of “gold.” Together the two lovers defy time itself.

Once again, the parts are divided into Soprano, Alto, and Baritone. If you choose, you may simply follow the words and sing the melody of the song through all the verses – simply be aware that the melody jumps between parts in this arrangement. Watch out for when the music changes in the chorus!

There are Soprano divisi, which means that the Soprano singers may choose either of two parts written on their line. We will listen to these to be sure we have balance between those parts in rehearsal. If you are capable, perhaps learn both parts in order to be flexible.

Fields of Gold Listening Tracks:





Beauty in these Broken Bones – Red Moon Road

Here is another song by local band Red Moon Road, which is establishing itself on the folk festival circuit and playing across the country. It honours the tradition of southern gospel and spiritual music, while carrying its own meaning for the band. They cancelled a tour because of a broken leg, and out of the time spent recovering came their newest album, Sorrows and Glories. This song celebrates the power of the voice to pull us through difficult times.

A soloist (male or female) will be required to improvise a solo over eight bars of music. It need not be the most brilliant solo ever, but it should use some of the notes given in the score, and should come from the heart. Bonus points if you hit some of the stylistic elements of blues singing. You don’t need to use the ending written in.

If you are a beginner singer, feel free to sing one of the Alto or Bass Parts, or the melody throughout. It is all repetitive, and as long as you can stick to one part or another, you will contribute a great amount. For those with experience, this song will also require Soprano divisi. Go ahead and choose your part based on the range you are most comfortable singing in – but we will need some sopranos to take the high part. Bonus points if you can do some belting in the medium high range.

Practice the stomp-clap along with your singing of the song – it continues throughout the entire song. If you are able to bring a friend who can hold your music and sing along, more’s the better! If you can memorize this one, you’ll have it made. All ability levels are welcome, however.

Beauty in these Broken Bones listening Tracks:





Can’t Stop The Feelin’ – Justin Timberlake

By this point we’ll have stomp-clapped, loved and lost, called loons, and sung in harmony. We won’t yet have danced, however! This is certainly a fun song to sing, and it’ll let us leave in style. You are encouraged to let loose and dance while singing this one, within reason – keep watching your conductor!

There are four parts required throughout this – Sopranos divide and take the top two lines, while Altos take the third line and the Tenors/Basses take the fourth line – you will have to divide on this line as well, so choose the part you are most comfortable with! If you find one part is out of range, feel free to jump to another part as you need. The melody is frequently traded between parts (to give you a chance to breathe!) but feel free to follow it all the way to the end if necessary, or to find another comfortable part.

There are some repeats in the music – from measure 48, go back to page 2 and sing again until measure 39, then jump to measure 49.

There are snaps that come in and out, and then claps at the end. Try to practice starting and stopping the snaps and claps at the right time.

The end is indeterminate, because we may simply loop the end of the song until we feel like we’ve had enough dancing!

Can’t Stop The Feeling Listening Tracks:

Soprano 1:

Soprano 2:


Tenor / Bass: