THE AS IT HAPPENS COMPLAINTS CHOIR
(As transcribed from the Radio Show)
It's February. There are no holidays on the horizon. There's no money for RRSPs, because you overspent at Christmas. It's still dark in the morning and dark at dinnertime. We're mid-flight into flu and cold season. None of your socks match.
Well, socks and sunlight may be scarce this time of year, but complaints are a dime a dozen. And that's why As It Happens is gathering some of the finest amateur singers in the land to put your complaints to music.
And no whinge is too trivial for the As It Happens Complaints Choir. Shoelaces too short? Fingernails chipped and cracked? Want to register an As It Happens-specific complaint? Tell Talkback about it. Or send us a one sentence e-mail complaint. We want to hear you complaining! Our singers are standing by to add choral gravitas to the eensiest, teensiest thing that drives you to everyday distraction.
Wanna know our complaint? This is NOT an original idea. Birmingham, Helsinki, and Hamburg have chorally complained before us.
Talkback asked, and you whinged. You deplored, deprecated and denounced. You snivelled, yammered, groused, groaned, and remonstrated. You carped, griped, fretted and fussed. And all just so we can turn the adverse into verse.
Yesterday, Talkback requested submissions for the new As It Happens Complaints Choir, which will take your grievances and honour them in song with our very own choir. And we had no idea just what a miserable bunch of persnickety malcontents make up the As It Happens audience! Indeed, Talkback was filled with vitriolic indictments of everything from soggy pant cuffs in the winter to the way tourists drive in Collingwood, Ontario.
There was so much gainsaying, in fact, that Talkback itself started to sag under the weight of lament.
But let it not rest that listeners merely have a sharpened tongue; there are plenty among you who possess a poison pen, or keyboard at least. To snit, this e-mail from Ervin Redekop from Kamloops, BC: "Coupons and mail-in cards in magazines don't tear out along the perforated lines. I can't send them in in pieces! If you make a perforation, do it so it can be used!" And Alex Murdoch of Manitoba is upset about this: "President's Choice changed their Earl Grey Tea and now it sucks."
Jeanne Hulstine of Akron, Ohio complained about "that static electricity that makes my cat jump when I pet her." So did Jess Posgate, from Toronto.
And, for now, we'll give the last words -- and there are a lot of them -- to Bob Wiffen in Kitchener, Ontario, who wrote: "I learned that the CBC is soliciting complaints from its listeners that will form the basis for a complaint choir of their own, such complaints, (if submitted by email), being restricted to one sentence, and I could not resist submitting one of my own major pet peeves which is the preponderance, in this day and age, in newspapers, magazines, etc. of sentences that, unnecessarily, inappropriately, and maddeningly are much too long."
The complaints are too long, the complaints are too short, they're too funny, not funny enough. Yikes. Both the composer and the conductor of the The As It Happens Complaints choir have been whining -- about the hundreds of complaints all you poor, hard-done-by listeners have been sending us.
Eric Robertson is a Juno and Gemini award winning composer and performer. You might know his music -- he composed the theme for Canada: A People's History, and also for the series Hockey: A People's History.
Setting your complaints to music is his current task.
Kelly Galbraith is the founder and director of the Cantores Celestes Women's Choir in Toronto. Assembling the choristers who will make up the As it Happens Complaints Choir is her all-consuming occupation at the moment.
They came, they sang, they complained. The first-ever As It Happens Complaints choir had their debut last night. Close to eighty choristers gathered in Glenn Gould theatre here in Toronto to sing the song that was written from your complaints.
Barbara and Carol were there. Watching the energy of a live choir convening for the first time was pretty exciting. You remember the Complaints Choir concept -- it originated with two Finnish artists who were working in Birmingham. They pulled together the first ever Complaints Choir. Then came Helsinki, and then Hamburg.
Now even more city choirs are threatening to break out in whining songs all over the world. How could we resist? We present a Canadian version -- As It Happens style.
Composed by Eric Robertson
Choir conducted by Kelly Galbraith
Performed by 80 volunteer singers
Organized by As It Happens / CBC / Anne Penman