Flash Mob Chorale

Sometimes I go down a YouTube rabbit hole and find cool stuff.

I like music when I work. In the olden days, I had a boom box next to my typewriter. Then it became a CD player set up next to the computer. Eventually that evolved into music on the hard drive itself. Currently, I have one of several YouTube playlists running in the background while I’m writing.

But there’s always music. I think it’s because most of my work habits were crystallized in college, when I was living in the dorm and there was ALWAYS noise, usually loud rock-n-roll. Somehow I do better if my brain has some distraction to push against in order to concentrate.

The point is, a side effect of the current system is that YouTube’s algorithm generally has something new to suggest when I log on there. Almost always it’s something about superhero comics or Star Trek or a music video the widget thinks I’ll like. It was no great feat for the YouTube program to suss out that I like Patti Smith, and so it pointed me at this.

I watched it and naturally that led me to other videos, not of Patti, but the choir. That is to say, the Choir!Choir!Choir! choir. Part choral performance, part flash mob.

It turns out they have lots of cool stuff online. Here’s the short version of how they describe themselves, from their web page:

Daveed Goldman and Nobu Adilman (AKA “DaBu”) started Choir! Choir! Choir! as a weekly drop-in singing event in February 2011. Equal parts singing, comedy, and community-building, the night unfolds like a dream: you get a lyric sheet at the door, DaBu teach you the vocal arrangement, and a video is recorded. Everyone has a ball and goes home feeling great!

Now, my bride loves to sing and in our church-going days, she loved being part of the choir; it’s really the only thing we miss. Unfortunately, this secular sing-along shindig is all happening in Toronto so she can’t really get in on it, but as a consolation prize I put together a playlist for her.

And I thought I’d share some of the cool bits with you as well.

Here’s the TED talk that turns into a performance of “Because the Night.” This probably gives you the best idea of how it goes at the weekly session.

They’ve gotten some really cool guests too. I mentioned Patti Smith already, and here they are with David Byrne.

This one tickles me beyond all reason; probably because of the why-not?, game-for-anything attitude of this particular guest. Rickrollin’ Rick Astley.

But they do fine on their own. Here’s the memorial they did for Prince…

Here’s how to find out more, if you are in the Toronto area and feel like singing. Or you just want to keep up on new videos as they come out.

I can’t carry a tune in a bucket, singing is strictly my wife’s thing. But I love the whole DIY garage-band spirit of this. It’s the same vibe I get from zine culture and underground comics and Hello Earth’s Outdoor Wars. I’m always a sucker for any artists that say screw tradition, let’s just make something cool! Part of the mission statement here at the Junk Shop is to celebrate that sort of effort.

So there you go. We’ll let them take us out with a classic from R.E.M….

Back next week with something cool.


  1. Rob Allen

    Toronto does not have a monopoly on this kind of singing. I just did a google search for “drop-in singing seattle” and found Crowdsource Choir, Singing with Friends, and several other resources. I hope Julie can find one that fits her schedule!

  2. Terrible-D

    Watched their video for Total Eclipse of the Heart. I was waiting for the one voice to drop an f-bomb.
    Seriously thought, after an hour of these, it’s time to move on. I accuse you, Mr. Hatcher, of providing me another way to procrastinate.

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