ember
polyphonic inquiry and comradery 
ember is a budding group of singers in Viroqua, WI directed by community choir leader and artist Annie Zylstra. We emerge from the embers of the old time, lively singing cultures of the world which, like so many beautiful and natural things, face extinction in these increasingly industrialized times. Humbly and with good humor, we seek to form a new ecology of polyphonic singing by honoring old traditions of music whilst giving life to songs and sounds inspired from the valleys and ridges of our own home time and place.
 
We are a queer-friendly crew of all genders, orientations, backgrounds, and life stages. We learn through a mixture of oral tradition style call and response, lyric sheets, and traditional sheet music. Our repertoire includes music of Balkan, Scandinavian, Corsican, Georgian, Irish, English, Appalachian, shapenote, homemade, and modern western origin. We sing mostly for the sheer pleasure of quality social time, study, and the timeless sounding of real life harmony and dissonance together, but will share and perform when called upon. Those who join us should be prepared to learn with full (fun) focus and bodily engagement. If you are familiar with Annie's choir leading, this is the advanced edition. No specific musical ability is required, but be aware we will be engaging in in-depth learning of complex material over time.

Pirin babas sing in the street at Breznica in footage from Annie's travels in Bulgaria.

Fall Season
Thursday Evenings  7 - 9:00
October 3 - December 19
PRWS Old Main Building, Viroqua
$65 - $160
You're invited to the first ever, experimental season of ember in Viroqua. We will meet for 12 weeks on Thursday evenings, with 1.5 hours of singing and half an hour of conversation, or more practice time built in if needed. Ember is a teen and adult only space. We may give a small performance at the end of the season, and plan to be available to share our music in other places when requested. We will have an ongoing 'repertoire' throughout our terms. A wide sliding scale is offered in order to make this offering accessible to all, and also to ensure its ability to be sustained deliciously into the future. Dues will cover venue, admin costs, facilitator time, and largely, the music. In the spirit of feeding the ongoing lives of the songs we sing, the group is committed to paying original artists, composers, and teachers our well for the their invaluable contributions.

Heartland Harmony

Viroqua, WI

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