Notation Software Community Users' StoriesDave Freeman, Community choir
Dave Freeman is a retired engineering manager, who is devoted to caring for his lovely wife Carole. His musical interests have taken him a variety of places in life, and he currently spends most of his time singing bass and putting together "part CDs" for the Peterborough Singers. Here is Dave in his own words.
My formal introduction to music started at the tender age of 4 years, when I began my first piano lessons. However long before that, I was immersed in music since my father was a very accomplished baritone, and sang in men’s choirs, mixed church choirs, and with the Vancouver Bach Choir in Vancouver British Columbia, Canada. My father was often the soloist in local concerts and on CBC and local radio stations. He was also a self taught pianist, and in his younger days played in dance bands, and served as organist and choir master for a small town church in the interior of BC.
I grew up with music around me; both live and recorded, as my father had some of the highest quality stereo sound equipment available at the time (50 and 60s).
I continued piano lessons until I had achieved the grade 6 level established by the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, Canada. The piano however, wasn’t the instrument I wanted to play at that time in my life. It was my dream to play the violin. Eventually in High School grade 7, I had the opportunity to join the first string instrument class to be offered in the school district and after passing the required ear test, I was invited to become a student in the string program. I expected I would soon be playing the violin! The music teacher however, had a different idea, and suggested that I begin on the cello. I still wanted to play the violin but eventually we reached a compromise and I began to learn to play the viola. During this high school period I did not limit my self to strings but attempted trombone, bass clarinet, percussion. I played percussion for a few years in a small Dixie Land group we called the “The Dixie Six Plus One” and also sang in the school choir. A few years later while playing a viola solo in a Kiwanis Music Festival, I was approached by a professional violinist who offered take me on as her student. I was never sure at the time whether her offer was based on the possibility that she saw a student of promise, or that she wanted prevent a musical disaster from happening. I continued with private lessons for a number of years, playing in festivals, and as the violist in a string quartet, and in various youth orchestras. I eventually reached the grade 8 level of proficiency in viola with the Conservatory of Music in Toronto. It was then that university attendance intervened. I did play with the University of British Columbia orchestra for a year or so, but my engineering curriculum, demanded too much time so I had to discontinue playing until after graduation and with a move to Peterborough, Ontario, I joined the Peterborough Chamber Orchestra. This group later became the Peterborough Symphony and Choir. I continued as principle viola for about 7 years. During that time I played solos, and in trios, and string quartets and piano quintets which kept me fully immersed in instrumental music.
Even though I was heavily involved in instrumental music I managed to continue singing, and was a member of a number of community choirs including church choirs in Peterborough and in Holland. As the result of my work with Siemens Milltronics, I had the opportunity to live and work in Holland for almost 3 years when we acquired a small company in Breda. During this time I joined the Sacramentskoor in Breda. This is the regular choir for the Sacramentskerk in Breda and was made up of about 50 men and boys. I had lots of practice singing in Latin, Dutch, German and even some English while I was with the Sacramentskoor. It is a well known choir around Holland, and while I was with them, Carole and I had the opportunity to travel to Wiesbaden for 4 days on a singing tour with the choir. I am now continuing my singing as a bass in the Peterborough Signers, and the Trinity United Church Choir.
About the same time the Commodore 64 and later the Apple IIe, and other white box computers started to hit the market, I began to work with what music software was available. I added midi interfaces to my early machines, and one machine (8086) which was labeled as portable (small suit case size with a 8” monitor built in and running DOS from a 5 ½” floppy, became the start of my work in digital music. I used an Yamaha FB01 to generate the tones. I remember entering the entire Beethoven’s 6th Symphony part by part one mouse click at a time. During this time my daughter and I sang and recorded a number of duets with synthesizer accompaniment. We also performed some of these live during church services with synthesizer accompaniment. Later in early Windows days, I had Cakewalk, and Finale, and settled for a while on Musicator 1.0 and followed Musicator software right up to Musicator Delta. I also acquired Cubase SX 3 and that became my software of choice until by accident I discovered Notation Composer, which I now use exclusively for my music production work.
I spend a lot of time now producing individual part dominant CDs for the Peterborough Singers covering the repertoire for the four concerts of our yearly season. I’m also involved in producing classical music CDs as fundraisers for local organizations, and recently produced a 2 DVD set recording of Handel’s Messiah, sung by the Peterborough Singers. The Singers do two performances of Messiah each year, and this past year the local cable TV company set up to record our first performance. I did some video and audio post processing to create a 2 DVD packaged set as fund raiser for the choir.
Recently I have been working with a local singing teacher in Peterborough, Ontario and together we have produced a step by step guided vocal warm up exercise CD. We call it Vocal-EASE® by Crane. We set up a partnership company and a corresponding web site www.kizumusic.com to promote the CD. We hope lots of choral singers will take seriously the need to properly warm up their voices before rehearsals and concerts.
You may be wondering how I can find the hours to do all this work, so I should explain that I’m a retired engineering manager since about 2001. I worked for Siemens Milltronics here in Peterborough. I didn’t plan to retire before 65, but my wife Carole, developed a Parkinson’s like condition known as PSP (Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, sometimes referred to as Parkinson’s Plus). So I needed to retire to become a care giver, so I am home most of the time watching over Carole, but in between looking after her (while she’s resting or sleeping) and after I’m caught up on the laundry and house hold chores, I am usually found busily working on some music project or other. I have three machines (two powerful laptops and one Linux machine) often working on different aspects of a project at the same time. I’m set up to be able to produce small runs of CDs and DVDs including developing graphics and packaging and direct to disc printing of labels for the CDs or DVDs.