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 way 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 also to share this music and their cultural nutrients with our community through the form of quality performances.
Pirin babas sing in the street at Breznica in footage from Annie's travels in Bulgaria.
Thursday Evenings 7 - 9:00
February 6 - June 4
Performance: Friday Evening June 5
$120 - $220
The spring term consists of 14 rehearsal weeks within an 18 week span of time, leaving space for 4 potential weather related cancellations and facilitator absence. Those who join should be prepared to learn with full focus and bodily engagement as we will be engaging in in-depth learning of complex material over time. All prospective members should either identify as strong singers or be committed to enough home practice that holding a part on one's own without the help of other section members is achievable by performance time. Members can miss up to 3 rehearsals without prior arrangements made with the choir leader, are expected to be on time to rehearsals, must be present for performances unless prior arrangements are made, and should expect to practice at home 1-2 times per week between rehearsals. Our first formal performance will be the first Friday in June. The first day of class will consist of an informal 'audition' with a song given by the choir leader prior to start date.
Term dues are an acknowledgement of the time, energy, expense, and work it takes to organize and facilitate a quality course. We operate on a sliding scale basis in order to be as inclusive as possible. To give you an idea of how group finances work, after taxes, venue, and music costs, around 50% of dues covers facilitator prep, time, and teaching. So, for example, if you choose the middle of the sliding scale, $170, your facilitator receives approximately $6 from you for 2 hours of class time, or $3 per hour.
We want this group to be accessible for all, so give where you can to ensure the sustainability of this group. Payment plans are encouraged, or if you need another option surrounding dues in order to be able to join, don't hesitate to reach out! Potential trades and barters for bodywork, farm food, or other wares are also welcome. Just reach out with a proposal!