Maura Volante is a talented and experienced singer, with a broad range of performance experiences. She has written many songs and also enjoys improvisational singing, but her focus is folk songs. Maura sings mostly traditional songs from Canada, the British Isles and the U.S.A. She often sings unaccompanied but also collaborates from time to time with other musicians.
Even more than filling a hall with her own voice, Maura loves to hear many voices. Her specialty is providing groups large and small with the opportunity to sing together. In her concerts and workshops, Maura creates an encouraging atmosphere, relaxed and inclusive.
Maura and partner Ranald Thurgood started up a folk coffeehouse in 2012, called The Log Drive Café at the Abbotsford House Recreation Centre at 905 Bank Street. This occasional Friday evening gathering features a variety of local performers doing traditional and contemporary songs. All shows welcome audience participation. The Log Drive Café now has its own website: http://logdrivecafe.wordpress.ca. Check it out for coming events.
Maura also teaches and calls contra dancing and simpler forms of traditional dancing suitable for all ages, often incorporating group singing into the dancing through the use of play party songs, which are sung by the whole group as they dance.
Here are some highlights of work she has done in the past few years:
Maura & Daphne Volante, Canadian Folk Songs, Colonel By Day, 4.08.14
Annual celebration of early Ottawa history. Sang Canadian folk songs and called a traditional dance with the accompaniment of Sens Unique, a Quebecois string band.
Private Concert, Val des Monts, 29.05.14
Solo performance of Canadian folk songs for a birthday party.
Maura & Daphne Volante, Ranald Thurgood & Bob Hatfield, Log Drive Café, 23.05.14
Collaborative production with Abbotsford House, singalong concert of folk music on a broad range of themes, with Ranald Thurgood, Daphne Volante and Bob Hatfield.
Songs of Love & Lust, Old Town HalI 14.02.14
Produced and performed in a concert of folk songs on the themes of love and lust, ranging from ancient British ballads to naughty blues, with Ranald Thurgood and Daphne Volante.
Traditional Carolling, D’Arcy McGee’s Pub, 15.12.13
Produced and facilitated group carolling session at D’Arcy’s, a downtown pub, on a Sunday afternoon. Provided lyric booklets and encouraged each participant to choose carols in a songcircle format.
Good Times & Hard Times, Log Drive Café, 27.09.13
Collaborative production with Abbotsford House, singalong concert of folk music about happy times and sad times, with Ranald Thurgood, Neville Miller, Gail Anglin, Rodney Norman and Carol Michalyna.
Canadian Folk Songs, Old Town Hall, 08.06.13
Produced and performed singalong concert of traditional Canadian folk songs, with Ranald Thurgood and Daphne Volante.
Songs of Work, Log Drive Café, 25.01.13
Collaborative production with Abbotsford House, singalong concert of folk music on the topic of work, with Ranald Thurgood, Bob Hatfield and Neville Miller
Ballads & Sea Songs, Gigspace, 23.11.12
Produced and performed singalong concert of traditional folk music including ballads and sea songs (shanties & other sea songs), with Ranald Thurgood, Dale Morland and Neville Miller
Canadian Folk Songs, Colonel By Day, 6.08.12
Performed singalong concert at CHOO/COPO’s annual event.
Chamber Elements, Chamberfest, 4 & 5.08.12
Participated in improvised choir performance of a piece by Scott Thompson, under the direction of Christine Duncan
Canadian Folk Songs, Log Drive Café, (Abbotsford House Recreation Centre), 22.06.12
Collaborative production with Abbotsford House, singalong concert of Canadian folk songs with guitar and vocal accompaniment by Daphne Volante
Feral Choir, AB Productions, 12.05.12
Participated in improvised choir performance directed by Phil Minton.
Hank Williams Birthday Bash, Elmdale Tavern, 17.09.11, 09, 08 & 07
Sang in an annual multi-artist celebration of the music of Hank Williams
Songs of the Sea, Blue Skies Music Festival, 30.07.11
Led participatory workshop focusing on sea shanties and other folk songs relating to the sea, with Ranald Thurgood, giving information about the songs and folk singing as well as teaching songs.
Songcircle, Ooh-La-La Dance Weekend, 03.07.11
Led participatory singing session at annual dance camp in Richmond, Quebec.
Christmas Carolling, Billings Estate Museum, 20 & 21.12.08, 19 & 20.12.09, 18 & 19.12.10
Performed and led Christmas carols with the Holly & Ivy Carollers, a group Maura formed and directed
Pub Christmas Carolling, Elmdale Tavern, 15.12.10
Organized, promoted and led a participatory carolling session
Singing Our Heritage: Canadian Folk Songs, Blue Skies Music Festival, 2.08.10
Led participatory workshop focusing on Canadian folk songs, giving information about the songs and folk singing as well as teaching songs.
Singing for Justice, Organizing 4 Justice Conference, 01.05.10
Led participatory workshop in songs of political activism.
Singing for Ourselves Workshop, Governor’s Walk Retirement Residence, 09.04.10
Led group of residents and visitors from the community in group singing, with brief technique lesson included.
Christmas Carolling, Sandy Hill Retirement Residence, 23.12.09
Performed and led community singing of Christmas carols with the Holly & Ivy Carollers.
Songcircle, Quartier Vanier Market, 17.10.09
Led participatory singing at ArtsFest, closing celebration of Quartier Vanier Market.
Songcircle, Atomic Rooster, Organizing for Justice, 16.10.09
Led participatory singing at a performance event associated with Organizing for Justice, an annual conference on social justice issues.
Singing Our Heritage, Billings Estate Museum, 19.07 & 1.07.09
With Ranald Thurgood, presented two participatory workshops on Canadian folk songs
Songcircle, Mystical Music Festival, Lanark County, 27.06.09
Led participatory singing at two-day music festival
Songcircle, Springboard, Ottawa Folk Festival, 18.04.09 & 08
Led a Participatory Songcircle, part of a “taste of the fest” all day event
Christmas Carolling, Jack Purcell Community Centre, 12.12.08
Led Participatory Carolling at a lunch for people with disabilities
Christmas Carolling, Schizophrenia Support Group, 13.11.08
Led a Participatory Carolling session for the Schizophrenia Support Group
Songcircles, Ottawa Folk Festival, 16 & 17.08.08
Led two songcircles over the weekend, clearing the microphones off the daytime stages and inviting enthusiastic festival goers to the stage.
Music of the Moment, Canadian Unitarian Council Annual Conference and Meeting, 17.05.08
Introduced improvisational singing to multigenerational group at this large annual conference.
Music of the Moment, Blue Skies Festival, 4.08.07
Taught an improvisational singing workshop for adults
All Together Now, a multigenerational choir, 2007-2008
Organized and directed weekly multigenerational choir, with seniors, home-schooled children and their parents, and adults of other ages. Performed twice at the Abbotsford House for celebratory luncheons
Capital City Workers’ Choir, a labour choir, 2006-2008
Took over this new group from its founder, Mike MacDonald, and worked with the group for a couple of years. Numerous performances for union meetings and conferences.
Oya, an improvisational vocal ensemble, 2005-2007
Organized and directed weekly improvisational practice for small ensemble of talented singers. Oya performed at
various many? conferences and community gatherings.
Classes and Series
Singing for Ourselves, various locations including ArtsCourt, Bronson Centre, Alcorn Music Studios, Old Town Hall and the Shenkman Arts Centre, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011
Organizing, promoting and teaching basic singing course for beginners and more advanced singers, including songs and playful exercises, to gain confidence and skills.
WoodsWalk Singing, Mud Lake Conservation Area, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011
Organizing and leading walking/singing experiences for small groups, in which we sing as we walk and stop at particularly beautiful places for special songs and playful exercises.
Contra Basics, at the Ottawa Contra Dances, twice-monthly, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011
Teaching the class before each dance, for beginners to learn the basic steps and patterns.
Many private students in home, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009
Ranging from 8-year-olds to senior citizens and new singers to professional performers; guided each student to achieve personal goals in singing through private lessons involving unaccompanied singing, mostly through oral learning.
Ottawa Contra Dances, 2006-2014;
Anniversary Party, 17.08.13
FRP National Conference, Hilton Lac Leamy, 25.04.13
Montreal Contra Dance, 7.09.12
Anniversary Party, 12.08.12
Toronto Contra Dance 10.10.09
Canton, New York, 19.06.09.
Called and taught dances suitable for the occasions, mostly working with live bands.
St. Timothy’s Academy, 29.10.11
Fiddle Fest, 4.06.11
Ottawa Folk Festival, 15.08.10
Long Bay Arts Camp, 15.07.10
Suzuki Play-In, 28.02.09
York Street Elementary School, 20.01.09
Glebe Community Centre, 2.05.08 & 17.01.09
Fourth Avenue Baptist Church, 29.11.08.
Called, taught and sang Community/Family Dances suitable for the occasions; in some cases worked with new musicians, teaching necessary skills to play for dancing