LAVA putting on singing workshop

You are invited to a workshop – or should we say a Playshop – of joyful group singing with LAVA on Wednesday, May 4 at 7 p.m. at Studio A.

Grand Forks native Vanya Popov (a.k.a Johnny Popoff) was in town with LAVA for a performance on April 21.

You are invited to a workshop – or should we say a Playshop – of joyful group singing with LAVA on Wednesday, May 4 at 7 p.m. at Studio A.

Participants will learn new songs and arrangements by LAVA. Some songs will be in Maori, (the indigenous language of New Zealand), some in English and some in both.

Don’t worry about any language barrier – the Maori lyrics are simple and the focus is on making easy but fun and beautiful music.

The workshop will also provide challenge and interest for the chorally experienced, as LAVA will teach some songs with complex and interesting rhythms and harmonies.

The individual parts of these songs are not too difficult but the combined effect will be very satisfying to be part of.

The lyrics are generally of an uplifting spiritual quality, though not necessarily of a particular religion.

Here’s a bit about a few songs you might learn: a big hit with audiences and learners has been Singing is Like Praying Twice – an African proverb sometimes seen in churches where singing is a favourite method of prayer.

This upbeat and joyous LAVA song affirms that singing itself is uplifting and prayerful.

Similarly, the meditative and almost Gregorian Inner Peace is a beautiful four-part piece using lyrics attributed to St. Teresa of Avila.

With Mother’s Day coming up, LAVA might treat you to Mother and Wife – a fun and mischievous song comparing the two most important women in many men’s lives.

Between them, LAVA is a talented and creative group of musicians, songwriters, composers and directors.

The workshop will be jointly led by Sean O’Connor, Amanda O’Connor and Vanya (Johnny) Popov.

Sean is an informally taught singer/songwriter and has arranged many original and cover songs for ensembles and choirs.

He currently directs Natural High choir in Wellington, New Zealand.

Amanda is a gifted singer and songwriter, singing in Welsh Eistedfodds since six and performing professionally for 20 years with husband Sean.

She also has a lot of experience leading music and singing with mothers, babies, children and people with intellectual disabilities.

Amanda has real warmth as a teacher of all ages and her musical grace and fluency spills over to all she works with.

Grand Forks native Vanya, or Johnny, Popoff’s natural ear for music was influenced by the a capella singing tradition of his Doukhobor ancestors and present day community.

He has sung, recorded and toured with many choral ensembles, including the UVic Chamber Singers and was the founder/director of both the Victoria Doukhobor Choir and the 80-member All-Canadian Doukhobor Choir.

In summary, the workshop promises to be fun, musically rich, energizing and uplifting.

Most of the learning will be by ear with some written music and CDs  will be available to take home.

Please come along and learn a little about New Zealand’s Maori culture and celebrate life with LAVA’s beautiful and enriching music.

Adults: $10, children under 12: $5.