Starting March 13th/15th, DaPoPo will be offering five two-hour sessions, Saturdays 11am-1pm or Monday 7pm-9pm, in person or via Zoom (by arrangement). Cost: sliding scale (recommended minimum $125.- for five sessions).
“Really, it all began over ten years ago,” remembers Williams, teacher of the on-going drop-in Music Theory workshop series Even the Muse Requires Consent, “with the Live-In Festival, or LIFe”.
In 2009, DaPoPo launched what was to become a staple of the Halifax theatre scene, our annual month-long festival in Theatre Nova Scotia’s Living Room, a small space on Agricola. The Live-In Festival (LIFe), as it came to be named, catered to hundreds of artists in Halifax, as well as guest artists from across the country.
“I remember teaching a songwriting workshop,” says Williams. "I suppose this skill-sharing workshop [Even the Muse…] is a continuation of the impulse for the first Live-In Festival.”
Initially, LIFe was a creative way to pay for rehearsal space for DaPoPo’s production of Christopher Hampton's When Did You Last See My Mother, conceived of by Steven Bourque, Bonnie Archibald-Awalt, Jody Reeves, and Sher Clain. The Live-In Festival included skill-sharing workshops; play readings; social events, and performances.
Sharing that passion with the community made sense.
Again, DaPoPo is trying to pay for space.This time, it’s office space. A few years, when TNS gave up the Living Room space, DaPoPo effectively moved to 1313 Hollis, taking an upstairs office there. Since then, DaPoPo has continued to run workshops, play readings, and events in spaces around Halifax.
“Accessibility is everything”, says Williams. Pay scale is PWYC with a suggested minimum donation.
DaPoPo has held a long interest in, and passion for music. The troupe has produced a slew of music theatre pieces, including the original musical revues Broadway Boyz, So… What About Love?, The FEAR Project, and the Sondheim classic Sunday in the Park With George. In addition, Williams has composed scores for Parrsboro’s Ship’s Company Play Building, as well as Shakespeare by the Sea’s productions Pinocchio, Peter Pan, Twelfth Night, and The Wizard Of Oz.
The name for these sessions, covering rudiments of Theory, Sight-Singing, Counterpoint, and Analysis, came from a Dalhousie workshop last year, funded by 2b Theatre, and cancelled due to COVID.
These Music Theory sessions are part lecture, part seminar. Currently, we are running introductory level classes. Using show tunes as examples and case studies, participants will learn how to identify pitch, intervals, major and minor scales, modes, and simple rhythms.
“The sessions are aimed primarily at theatre artists who would like to up their musical skill set”, says Williams. “An actor would never ask a director to read their lines out for them, but many actors need their Musical Directors to do just that!”
The idea for music theory literacy classes was colleague Lindsay Kyte’s, another renter at 1313 Hollis. When Kyte approached Williams about music theory tutorials, they schemed to open these up to the public.
Williams holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Mount Allison University, having also studied at Manhattanville College and the Free University Berlin.
Sessions run Saturdays, 11am-1pm, and Mondays 7pm-9pm, via Zoom or in person (by arrangement). For more information, contact Garry Williams via the FB group.
Instructor Garry Williams, perched atop a stool at 1313 Hollis for virtual lessons. (Photo credit: Eli Gordon.)