Do something joyful! Gather your friends and colleagues and celebrate the holiday season at the Figgy Pudding Caroling Competition:
Friday, December 5
6:00 – 8:30 p.m.
The event will draw choirs from around the region in a playful competition that supports the Pike Market Senior Center and Food Bank. And The Whole U Singing group will be competing! Read on to learn how we’ve been preparing.
We first met in a crowded classroom on a lovely September evening after work, when the sun was still shining brightly. More than 30 of us attempted to harmonize and sing a call-and-response Husky chant. The Whole U Singing Group has since met every Tuesday from 5 – 6 p.m. in preparation for the December Figgy Pudding Caroling Competition.
“It’s a miracle!” said our director, Linda Callecod, a senior consultant with UW Professional & Organizational Development, explaining how if we each took a breath at different moments, the whole group would sound like it was holding the note for a long time. Turns out that was just the start of the techniques that Linda would share with us in her attempts to turn us into a winning choir, or at least an entertaining one, in just seven practices before the competition.
Linda’s past choirs–when she worked at the Bon Marche–had won the competition twice. It was clear from the get-go that Linda was expecting us to step right up to the plate. “Pop right out if you want to solo,” she said. “If there’s more than one, do it together.” Her method was to throw us into the proverbial pot with the hope that we would blend to make delicious soup to warm the winter night ahead.
“I learned when I was teaching piano that if I did both hands from the start, there was never a learning curve that happens when people have to add a second hand,” Linda told us.
Building on that model, we tapped rhythms, performed solos, danced around canes, and learned some sign language. I can feel the soul of the group. We believe.
“It’s a kind of play, a type of teambuilding that is intuitive rather than purposeful or instructive, which makes it more lasting.” Those were Linda’s words about the process and why people sing together. And dance. And do anything musical.
“Singing! I never realized how much I have missed music in my life,” said Angela Garza, a mental health practitioner in UW Rehabilitation Medicine and a fellow participant in the Figgy Pudding group. “It’s great to get together with people who are passionate about the same thing.”
So, on what promises to be a dark night, and likely a cold one, come help create warmth by enjoying al the carolers and cheering on The Whole U singing group.
Visit The Whole U Singing Group’s fundraising page to help them meet their goal of $1,000 for the Pike Market Senior Center and Food Bank.
Liz Wimmer is a curriculum writer with the National Center on Quality Teaching and Learning in the College of Education. The last time she sang in public was in middle and high school as an alto member of the choir.