Common Thread’s repertoire is rooted in secular folk music traditions from around the world. About half of our music is in languages other than English, reflecting the linguistic diversity of Toronto. Learning music in many different languages is challenging but very rewarding because it gives us a unique opportunity to appreciate the language and history of different cultures. Our aim in developing the repertoire is to have a balance of songs that reflect the real lives of ordinary people and speak to the “full cup of life”– birth, death, joy, sorrow, struggle, triumph, work, play, love, community, celebration.
Unlike many other choirs, the repertoire is chosen by a Music Committee in collaboration with the conductor. The Music Selection sub-committee, which is part of the Music Committee, works to find and prepare material for the following season. Each year this group consults choir members to choose themes for future seasons and solicits suggestions for songs to fit the theme(s). Although we cannot choose every song suggested, many of the songs we sing are suggested by members.
- Meaning and context
- Tempo and Mood
- Audience participation
- Special guest artists
Most choirs sing a repertoire that is already arranged and published. Common Thread has a different vision. Some songs that we want to sing have already been arranged in four parts for a choir. Many have not. The music committee works closely with musicians from different communities who help us find and arrange material. This process means a lot more work for us, but we think the result creates something new, exciting, and inclusive.