A small group singing to the turtles at Mud Lake

WoodsWalk Singing

I like to sing while walking in the woods, for a variety of reasons:

  • Singing enhances the aerobic quality of the walking by demanding deeper breathing.
  • The rhythm of walking helps me keep a regular pace in my singing and helps me structure music I am making up in that moment.
  • I can sing loud, knowing the sound is dispersed to the winds.
  • I can enjoy looking at the trees, the turtles, the water and the sky, bringing this inspiration to the music.
  • Because I enjoy both singing and walking, the two activities together  bring me a greater sense of joy.

In the past several years I have occasionally taken groups of people on guided singing walks around Mud Lake in the Britannia area, and I would love to offer the WoodsWalk Singing program if there are people who want to do it. I do not have any dates scheduled at the moment, but please get in touch  if you are interested and if enough people want to do it we will schedule it.

First we meet at the entrance to the park, and gather in a circle for initial warmups. Then we walk, and explore the voice as it emerges, noticing the effect of walking on our voices and the rest of our bodies. We stop and sing an easy song. We walk along, through the woods, doing some call-and-response phrases, repeating riffs and other vocal explorations. We reach a “stage” jutting out into the lake, and we rehearse and perform (for the ducks and frogs) a song we can sing with harmonies and special flourishes. We walk on, singing a combination of songs and music of the moment, stopping here and there to check out particular spots on the way and to sing in circle. I teach some of the songs, and there are opportunities for participants to teach the group as well. It is amazing the songs that can come back to mind while walking! All the learning is done by ear. We finish back where we started, refreshed and relaxed and full of good music. The whole thing takes between 1 ½  to 2 hours.

If you are concerned about being heard by strangers, I can tell you that I have walked this trail hundreds of times and rarely encounter more than one or two other people while on a walk. None has complained or looked in any way offended by the existence of singing people passing by. The animals don’t seem to mind either.

Bring WoodsWalk Singing to Your Group

Another way in which I would like to offer WoodsWalk Singing is with groups that already exist. I would be happy to come lead this program for your group either in Mud Lake or in any other wild area of your choosing. Contact me to work out the details.

This music class in the woods is suitable for many kinds of groups including the following:

  • Recreational programming for adults and children
  • Camps
  • Birthday parties
  • Workplace retreats
  • Seasonal celebrations

Cross-training for arts or fitness groups

Old Ottawa Folk Walk

A historical walking tour featuring traditional folk songs, led by Maura Volante

This is a historical walking tour with a difference: instead of simply hearing stories or facts about old Ottawa, this tour offers you traditional Canadian folk songs. Maura Volante takes you through the downtown core utilizing a variety of routes including the Byward Market, the Rideau Canal, Sparks Street, Parliament Hill and other points of interest. At each stop, Maura sketches out some historical context and then sings a relevant folk song. Some songs tell stories of the log drives and the shantyboys who worked the woods in the Gatineau Hills. Others relate to various historical events such as the War of 1812. There are dark ballads of tragic accidents and even murder, and others that celebrate life in early Canada with humour and romance. Many of the songs have a chorus, so there is ample opportunity for you to sing along with Maura if you like.

This tour is suitable for all ages and abilities, and the route can be adjusted if necessary for any special needs such as mobility issues. It is available for any group wishing to provide participants with an interesting and engaging window into the history of Ottawa and of Canada. Suitable for visiting school groups, tour groups of all kinds, conferences and other gatherings.

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