The Element Choir draws singers from a broad spectrum of styles, from concert sopranos to singer songwriters to sound poets to Japanese folk singers, composers and musicians. Thanks to a Canada Council Arts (study, research) Grant, Christine has had workshops/concerts with over 180 different singers in the past 2 years, further developing her technique for conduction and choir improvising. Christine Duncan and the Element choir have developed quite a language of sound to draw from for improvisation. This is a group that works with both structured and non-structured elements, based primarily on a system of conduction cues. As an ensemble they explore textural and timbral sound qualities, soundscapes, rhythmic patterns, sound poetry, musical genre interplay and extended voice techniques. This cinematic approach to group vocalizing presents both tonal and non-tonal material in a constantly evolving and 'in the moment' sonic environment. Through various conduction cues and signals Christine has developed, she's able to convey great emotion and drama through sound and vocal energy.
The Element Choir has recorded a completely improvised CD of music for Barnyard Records. This is the first recording of Christine Duncan's conduction of the Element Choir. The recording features:
The wondrous and beautiful Casavant Organ of Rosedale United was played by Mr. Eric Robertson. He has been musical director and Organist at St Pauls United for many years now and has been improvising on this instrument for over 25 years.
The additional instruments/musicians for this recording are Jesse Zubot - violin, Jean Martin - percussion, and Jim Lewis - trumpet. The addition of the percussion/Violin and Trumpet used with this group will enhance the orchestral and ghostly ambience. The combination of organ brass and the solo improvised trumpet in the church acoustic make for an eerie and wonderful sound. The combination of the various improvisers with the addition of the choir, Organ and the tremendous acoustics will create a truly unique and unforgettable experience for everyone involved.
The combination of all these elements explores a musical expression that is an amalgamation of all of our influences and musical history. We see this project as a path to crossing the boundaries between different genres, using all our resources to create something new from our collective experience and knowledge.
We all feel very privileged to be able to improvise with such a sound. The combination of 51 human voices with this organ in Rosedale United is a sound we will never forget.
Christine Duncan w/ The Element choir. Photos byAlisdair Jones@ Rosedale United / Recording session Feb 17-18,2009