Choir! Choir! Choir!

As I mentioned briefly last week, Toronto has a drop-in choir that runs twice a week at Clinton’s on Bloor St W. called Choir! Choir! Choir! (Or C!C!C!). So you pay $5 to sing a song for a couple of hours, typically a pop song, in a pub with a bunch of people. It is not your traditional church choir, that is for sure. More like a hipster choir. It’s run by two guys, Daveed and Nobu, who started doing this a few years ago and it has been increasing in popularity since.

Increasing in popularity, but somehow I had never heard of it until a couple weeks ago. My new coworker friend Rachel moved here from Australia a few months ago and back home she had been singing in professional choirs. One of her Aussie friends alerted her to Choir! Choir! Choir! in Toronto so she went for the first time a few weeks ago and loved it. They sang Sorry by Justin Bieber (and I can’t say I’m sorry to have missed that, although they did it really well).

I don’t know what it says when people in Australia know about things happening in the city I live when I don’t. But even if I had heard of it, it’s possible it just wasn’t on my radar. Without a recommendation I’m not sure I would have gone anyway. I mean, I was in the choir in high school and I do LOVE to sing, but usually I love to sing when I’m alone in my car and can properly release my feelings. Singing with strangers…I don’t know. But I have to tell you, it was amazing. They were doing a David Bowie tribute last Wednesday and that totally lured me in. It was so cool, and Rachel and I had such a good time!

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Clinton’s was absolutely packed with people ready to sing.

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So packed that I nearly didn’t get in. I think it was more popular than usual because David Bowie. We each received a lyric sheet with three parts, low, mid and high. Rachel and I were in the high section. Normally I would go with mid but the song was “The Man Who Sold The World” by David Bowie and it’s a pretty low song in general.

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I love that this takes place in a pub and there is beer. I was actually surprised how easy it was to get a beer with the amount of people there. It was extremely well-operated.

Over the next couple hours, Daveed and Nobu went through each section with each group so we could all learn our parts, and then we all practiced together a few times before recording.

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It was a really, really cool experience. Just before I left, Evan asked me if I was disappointed he wasn’t coming with me. I believe my response was “Um, I didn’t invite you…” because I didn’t really, it’s not his thing! I know sometimes musicals make him feel uncomfortable, so I didn’t think he’d be in for choir singing. He then said to me “I don’t want this to go to your head but I’ve heard you singing in the car and I think you’re really good, so don’t feel shy about singing. Be proud.” That made me feel nice. It totally went straight to my head and I sang loud and proud. Maybe too loud. I took my own video of us and all I can hear is myself.

But here is the official audio of us. I think it’s magical!

We (well, Daveed) messed up halfway through because there was a very cute and distracting baby on stage. Evelyn.

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She was super into it. Just mesmerized.

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Afterwards we sang more Bowie songs karaoke style. I enjoyed myself so much that I’m going again tonight. We’re singing Space Oddity, which I am pumped about because I missed the sold-out AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario) edition on Saturday with C!C!C! This video seems to be going viral so you may have seen this already. It’s pretty awesome.

There is just something about a group (of strangers!) singing together like this. It gives me goosebumps. Also, Daveed and Nobu have some serious talent. Their arrangements are perfect.

I have been listening to some other amazing songs they’ve done and here are my favourites.

Africa by Toto (I think it’s freakin amazing):

Hello by Adele:

Sweet Child O’ Mine – Guns N’ Roses

Linger by the Cranberries:

and Rhiannon by Fleetwood Mac:

They have tons of others on their YouTube channel if you want to check them out.

So that was my Choir! Choir! Choir! experience. I am so glad this exists! If you happen to be going tonight let me know 🙂

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14 responses to “Choir! Choir! Choir!

  1. This is so cool. I want to come visit you and do this. Even though I am not a super great or confident singer. I have some choir experience from childhood though!

  2. this sounds like so much fun! I’m a car singer myself…not sure i’d be brave enough to do it in public!

  3. blondewithdogAmy

    I work at Niagara College and C!C!C! was hired back in August to be at our annual before-the-year-starts staff shindig. Hundreds of staff singing Sweet Caroline is a good time! Getting paid for it is even better! I would totally go if I lived in Toronto.

  4. I’ll also mention that they do weddings. You loved the wedding bonfire singing, so this would be up your alley should you have a wedding in your future 🙂

  5. OMG!! I am seriously obsessed with this. I need to find something like this in NYC! How is possible that we dont have this?

  6. I’ve heard of C!C!C! but never fully new what it was. This sounds like such a fun experience! If you ever go again, I would love to join you! I don’t have the balls to show up on my own like your friend Rachel did 🙂

  7. Erin @ A Flimsy Plan

    This is so incredible – between this and the Paint Nites that have been popping up in bars all over (if you haven’t done one yet, you would LOVE it), I adore that there are so many ways to build community and nourish creativity.

    And also drink beer. I had to add that last one because this comment was getting a little overwrought..

  8. I have been attending CCC’s Wednesday night choir for 3 years now … and my first time out, I came alone. Fight the fear, you won’t regret it.

  9. Ahh this gave me chills. It sounds incredible. The kind of thing I’d never think I was brave enough to do but would thoroughly enjoy if I talked myself into it. I wonder if they do something similar in London!