Countermeasure’s new video has just been released!
After wowing audiences at the Big Burns Supper in Dumfries and at Europe’s most prestigious a cappella event, the London A Cappella Festival, in 2015, Countermeasure returned to Scotland in 2016 to make their Edinburgh Festival Fringe debut, performing their show 14 Characters at theSpace @ Surgeons Hall (5-6th, 8-13th August) and Space Triplex (15-20th August).
Featuring 14 members of Canada’s top young vocal talent, Countermeasure are renowned in their native Canada for their sophisticated arrangements, seamless harmonies, lively performances and infectious energy. Their dramatically choreographed show, where every song tells a story, received standing ovations worldwide.
We launched our UK tour to rave reviews:
“12 Stars! Extraordinary group, breathtaking talent, unmissable concert. Superlatives abound and mine is the first of many.” Andy Bungay, Wandsworth Radio, UK
★★★★★55 minutes of pure gold! East Coast 107.6 FM (2016)
“Spellbinding group with perfect harmonies, a pleasure to work with. The audience loved it and wanted more.” Theatre Utopia, Croydon, England
“★★★★Impressive stuff. This really is a show with everything.” Edinburgh49+3
Formed in 2010, Countermeasure are led by award-winning composer/arranger Aaron Jensen and perform original compositions and re-imagined standards by the likes of Cole Porter to the Beatles, with a strong accent on pop and jazz arrangements The group displays unaccompanied singing at its best, incorporating innovative live looping, vocal percussion, and instrument sounds made by the voice. Their musical aesthetic is sufficiently eclectic for the group to headline international contemporary choral concerts, play the main stage at jazz festivals, coerce club-goers onto dance floors and collaborate in esoteric interdisciplinary art projects. They have shared stages with vocal heavy hitters from Naturally 7 and The Swingle Singers to Corey Hart and Blue Rodeo.
During their Fringe run, they dipped into tracks from their second album, Made To Measure, which was released in Canada on 14th July, 2016, and has been enjoying strong airplay in Canada and the UK; its predecessor, 14 Characters, won one of the two spots in the Best Jazz Album category from the Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards in the USA.
When Countermeasure singer Steve Cole decided to propose to his girlfriend, Dawne Shonfield, he knew it would be during her visit to Edinburgh but was looking for the perfect moment. And he found it – in the middle of a Countermeasure performance on Wednesday at The Space at Edinburgh Festival Fringe! He picked Dawne to go on stage for their regular Copacabana song routine, which has audience members trying their hand at singing, dancing, and beat boxing. To the surprise of cast and crew, Steve stopped the show and gave a heartfelt speech about Dawne being the song in his heart. And then he got down on one knee, proposed marriage, and she said “yes”! Tears flowed on stage and in the audience – and then a choked-up Countermeasure had to finish the show with their signature “Takin’ It Home”. Expect the unexpected at a Countermeasure show!
“Such a fantastic show… fabulous and beautifully sung songs”. ***** – East Coast FM 107.6 (Edinburgh)
“I have seen 100s of a cappella shows but what these Canadians are doing here at #LACF2015 (London A Cappella Festival) is unheard of. What a joy and a pleasure.”- Florian Statdler, VocalBlog, Germany
Aaron Jensen and J-M – Countermeasure: 14 Characters Interview on Broadway Baby Radio
Here are some great thoughts (and encouragement to pay back) from our very own Great Ape, Chris The Story Reading Ape! Are you following through after you read a great blog post and sharing that post in every way you can? This is how you can help all bloggers get their messages out in front of, and reach, many more interested and engaged readers.
Is that what YOU do?
Of the 200+ authors I’ve had the honour and pleasure to host at my treehouse blog and the (literally) thousands of visitors, only a few have actually used more than one of the many share buttons available under the articles to send them into the ethers of the Internet …..
The most used button?
This I can understand because you don’t have to think up any catchy phrases or do any thinking about what to say – all you need to do is click it and the article heading is sent out to all your Twitterati (SHOULD be a word)
(My little Twittersphere currently has 1800+ followers who receive notification of all my blog and re-blog posts!)
The second most used button?
This is usually an author who wants to share their article, but only to their own Timeline – they tend to forget…
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An excellent post on reviews and reviewing written by roughseasinthemed for the KC Books and Music Blog (Kevin Cooper).
Good Sunday afternoon/morning/evening to readers of Kev’s blog with my monthly editor’s post. As promised, it’s the hot topic of reviews and stars.
I started writing (professional ie paid-for) reviews on my first newspaper.
The local Am-Dram, school plays, concerts, musicals, as well as books.
The most important point, was that the review had to be interesting. Don’t retell the story, whether it was Midsummer Night’s Dream or Showboat.
Say what was good, what was poor and why you liked it/didn’t like it. Preferably with a large spoonful of tact thrown in, as every person under the sun, and their families and friends, would be reading the review.
And, I pretty much follow those principles many years later when writing book reviews.
I see no point in giving a summary of the story when there is, or should be, an adequate one on the Goodreads or Amazon or Smashwords etc…
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I had originally queued up this post with the thought of
talking railing on about the seeming lack of compassion, sensitivity, concern – for their fellow human beings and the world at large – I’ve been witnessing for some time now from people everywhere (and not just politicians but also those close to home) who should definitely know better.
I decided instead to give you some examples of the ways average people, no matter what their income or expertise, can help others – even if it’s just a matter of including those others in our lives and making them feel welcome and wanted. I also added a video among these examples about helping the animals of the world, because we do share this planet, you know.
Personally, here are ways I have helped others …
For some years, I have promoted other authors free on my blogs. I’ve given them exposure on social media and encouraged sales of their books, all for no charge. I’ve beta-read, done some pro bono editing, and offered free advice and contact information to those authors who I consider to be good enough to deserve that help. I have also volunteered teaching literacy.
I have donated print books to libraries and those groups that supply reading materials for people who can’t afford to buy books or do not have library access.
I pledge to do more, however, and am considering other ways I can Do the Right Thing that will make a difference in the lives of others around me and elsewhere.
Here are a few examples I’ve gleaned from social media recently (and, yes, two of these videos are commercials for large corporations) that offer ideas of ways in which anyone can help the world become a better place.
From The New York Times, Home Is Where the Resistance Is
Or maybe it’s just a small matter of Paying It Forward …
And this story is about a friend who is an avid gardener as well as someone who constantly looks for ways to help others and contribute to her community, just because that’s the kind of person she is … Last summer, when her own garden was in full bloom, she began cutting the flowers to create bouquets then knocked on doors of houses on her street and gave those neighbours the gift of her flowers. Such a simple act, but one which I’m sure the neighbours, many of whom she’d never actually met prior to doing this, very much appreciated.
I know there are hundreds more examples of people Doing the Right Thing, and some other examples I have are friends of mine. I want to “up” my own personal game though and, as I said above, will pledge to do more. As I think of other ways I can personally make a difference I will add them to my blog.
So, what about you? Do you know of other examples in which people Do the Right Thing? If you are already helping the world in whatever way you can – for free, without an agenda or opportunity for personal financial gain, and not just by donating cash to causes in need, but by actually offering personal help, a hand up, or even simply showing compassion and understanding to your neighbours, colleagues, animals … Please post those examples and ideas below. I would love to hear from you!
And, like me, please consider pledging to do more – even if it’s just a small act of kindness a day. If enough people do the same, we can make a difference in this world. That’s the kind of world in which I, and I’m sure you, as well, would prefer to live.
Thanks to Sally Cronin for inviting me to Blogsit by publishing this story I wrote about my older sister, Betty!
A very special family photograph and story now of two sisters. Author Susan Toy has many reasons to be thankful for her supportive older sister, not least for home-baked oatmeal cookies.
About Susan M. Toy
Susan M. Toy has been a bookseller, an award-winning publishing sales representative, a literacy teacher, and is a tireless promoter of fellow authors and their books. She’s also an author and publisher, under the imprints, IslandCatEditions and IslandShorts, and has published eBooks written by other authors, as well as two novels and a novella of her own. Susan shares her time between a verandah on the island of Bequia in the Caribbean and the deck of a trailer near the eastern shore of Lake Huron in Canada.
Two sisters at Barry’s Farm near South Lake at Minden, ON by Susan M. Toy
This is a photo of me with my older sister, Betty, taken in…
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Thought it was time to reblog this post full of “expert” advice, for all of you out there who may be wondering about my …
OR … How I Nearly Became an Overnight Success After My Forty-Year Apprenticeship in the Book Business!
If you read my bio you’ll realize I have worked with books and authors in one way or another for most of my life. I have experience as a bookseller, a publishers’ sales rep, a promoter (a self-styled Author Impresario!), a speaker, a student of writing, editing and publishing, a published author, and a publisher of my own and other authors’ work. I’ve been writing this blog on-and-off for almost ten years, and have discussed the book business here, made friends with like-minded authors and readers, networked and reached many other people in the business, made many friends and connected with even more colleagues, have shared a great deal of information I discovered over the years on the topics of Publishing, Reading, and Writing (hence the name of this blog …), followed and…
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A year later and this is still very much the case! There must be a new batch of writing students out there, because the hits for “Writing about meeting my best friend” have recently increased 10-fold. Also popular in searches have been the lines “pain from Chikungunya” that lead readers to my series of blog posts concerning the virus. So much so, again just lately, have people been searching for information that I’ll be writing a separate post about the virus and Zika.
For the longest time now, since about 5 or 6 years ago, the two most popular phrases used on search engines that have brought people to my blog are “baking bread in a pizza oven” followed closely by “meeting my best friend for the first time”. Here are the two posts that those searchers click on: Baking Bread in the Pizza Oven and I met my best friend for the first time.
The first search always made sense to me, because home pizza ovens are becoming popular among foodies, Dennis had built one here on Bequia, and I had written a number of blog posts featuring our experiments in using it, both for making pizza and baking bread.
The second search I always took as being very flattering. There seemed to be a lot of people out there on the internet who were nostalgic for that first meeting with…
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