Feral Choir Was a Wild Ride

This weekend I had the privilege and joy of participating in a Feral Choir led by Phil Minton, a British vocal improviser and leader of community improvisational singing. Max Middle brought him to town and organized three workshops in which we learned how to follow Phil’s hand signs and create wonderful, noisy and expressive vocal music for a performance on Saturday night. It was fun, and those who sat in the audience (mostly our friends and relations, I think) also enjoyed it, for the most part.

As someone who loves vocal improvisation and has attempted several times to get groups going to do it, I was ispired and learned a great deal from the experience. I am also excited to learn that some of the folks who participated in the choir would like to continue in some way to do vocal improvisation. I think we may get something together to play with this form. I don’t know whether it will be performance-oriented or striclty for itself, but I hope we do gather to express ourselves occasionally in Music of the Moment.


About Maura Volante

Maura Volante is a talented and experienced performer. Although she has written many songs over the years, her main focus these days is traditional folk songs. These are songs that have stood the test of time and have an enduring quality that speaks directly and clearly to the human experience. They also tell us about our history. Because these songs are not commonly sung in these post-folk-revival times in which folk music generally means singer-songwriter material, Maura has taken on the project of helping to keep this valuable material alive. Her specialty is Canadian folk songs, but she knows many songs from the British Isles and the USA as well. All her concerts and other programs are designed with group singing in mind. Whether in a concert, a tour, a social gathering, a classroom, a festival or a conference hall, Maura creates an encouraging atmosphere, relaxed and inclusive. She uses her strong voice and facilitation techniques to bring out the best possible music with these voices in this moment. Maura firmly believes that everyone can sing and, moreover, that everyone has a right to sing and be part of group singing activities, without judgement or criticism. No matter what the various skill levels of participants may be in any group singing activity, it always sounds good in a group, because the voices naturally attune with each other. 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.
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