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SING! Toronto to Host 9th Annual School Workshop Day

SING! The Toronto Vocal Arts Festival is set to host its 9th annual School Workshop Day for high-school and middle-school students on Friday, May 22nd, 2020 from 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. at Young People's Theatre (165 Front St. East, Toronto). The event will be part of SING!'s 2020 edition, running from May 22-31, and will offer plenty of opportuninty for students to actively participate and sing.

The host headlining group for the School Workshop Day is Accent. Inspired by the jazz harmonies of The Hi-Lo's and TAKE 6, the six men of Accent - all accomplished arrangers and instrumentalists in their own right - decided to take their love of close-harmony a cappella jazz as far as it could go.

The group will present the following workshops for participating students:

A History of Vocal Groups: Early Influences from Jazz to Pop & Beyond
Using familiar songs as examples, Accent demonstrates many of the influences in vocal music that led directly to their own sound and those of other contemporary groups. Through this exercise, participants will learn approaches to harmony, arranging devices, vocal technique, performance characteristics, and production conventions in many contrasting styles.

A Cappella Success: Intonation, Listening, Blending
What makes a cappella singing special and different? Why do jazz chords sound “jazzy”? Accent presents a workshop delving into the rich ingredients of their close-harmony trademark sound. Whether an amateur singer, an experienced musician, or an arranging enthusiast, participants will be challenged to see what they can achieve through vocal harmony and performance. Participants will practice tone matching and listening and learn important aspects of intonation that aren’t often given enough attention by musicians.

Learn to Create Multitrack Music Videos
Have you ever seen a YouTube video with one person singing many harmonies? Or collaborative videos where the singers aren't actually in the same place when they're recording? From solo multitrackers like Peter Hollens to massive “virtual” choirs like Eric Whitacre's, these types of projects have earned a special distinction on the Internet. Accent specializes in close-harmony jazz singing, producing most of their projects at a distance, and their members were some of the first multitrackers on YouTube. Viewers all over the world often ask them how to get involved in musical projects online and how they construct their recordings. In this workshop, the members of Accent will take students through the process. Participants will learn about recording methods, audio and video equipment, editing and mixing techniques, and polishing the final product. Accent will also discuss how they approach arranging and managing projects for this group and how it differs from other live acts. Participants will have a chance to ask questions about how to make their own recordings and videos.

The day will also feature a special lunchtime presentation by the Speech Appeal Clinic entitled "Speech Appeal Clinic on Vocal Health." Registered Speech-Language Pathologists Alyssa McCarthy and Daniel Boyle will talk with students about how to take care of the voice, preventing voice disorders, and establishing optimal vocal health for long-term success. Get more information at www.speechappealclinic.com.

Participating students will experience all of the workshops, which together cover many of the expectations as outlined in the Ministry of Education of Ontario Curriculum document "The Arts," revised edition.

Speaking to her and her students' experiences at a previous edition of SING!, Abby Pierce, a music teacher at Duke of Connaught School, says: "The SING! School Workshop Day was a great experience for the students. They had the opportunity to learn from world-class artists as they took part in the workshops. The workshops were very engaging, interactive, and the students thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Some even stepped out of their comfort zone to sing in front of the workshop participants. The afternoon concert was inspiring. The performance was fantastic and the Q&A was a great chance for students to learn more about the music industry.”

The cost to participate is $30/student, with a limited number of subsidized seats available for classes, choirs, and singing ensembles from schools located in designated priority areas. Students should bring a packed lunch. For more information or to register, visit www.singtoronto.com/education/, or reach out to info@singtoronto.com with any questions.

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Andrew King is the Editor-in-Chief at Canadian Musician. He is also a co-host of Canadian Musician Radio and NWC Webinars’ series of free music and entertainment industry webinars.