Pierre Massie has been a stairwell caroller for the past 33
years and the one thing that has remained constant during that time is his passion
for singing Christmas carols.
“Growing up I always loved the singing at midnight mass,”
Massie said. “I guess that is where my love for music and carols comes from.”
The Stairwell Carollers performed a Christmas concert at St.
Columba Anglican Church on Dec. 8, as a thank you to the church. The choir
practices at the church every Wednesday. They even record their CDs in the
“It is a great church, but sometimes it can be difficult,
being so close to the Rockcliffe air base,” said Brian Chapple, a bass singer
in the choir. On those occurrences, the choir does another take or two to get
it right, without the plane taking off in the background.
Massie started singing in a stairwell with his wife, Holly,
while still in University. They began to expand the quartet and play in venues other
than the University
of Ottawa’s stairwells. As
fine arts director at Glebe High School and a music teacher, Massie surrounds
himself with music and wouldn’t have it any other way.
“It is normal and natural to do music all day long every day
for me,” Massie said.
Directing is where he is comfortable and over the years the
Stairwell Carollers has had members come and go, but the interest of the choir
has always remained the same.
“It’s about the music. This choir is passionate about the
music,” Massie said.
There are 20 choir members in the choir now. One of those
members who has been there since the beginning is Massie’s wife, Holly. Massie
met Holly on the first day of his first year at University in 1976. Holly never
wanted to sing, but being dragged out over 33 years ago changed her life.
“There was a time where we moved away and did not have the
choir and it was like there was a hole in our lives,” Holly said.
Massie seeks out talent wherever he can find it and, as a
music teacher at Glebe
High School, he found
another recruit for the choir. A student of Massie’s, Morgan Hassall, has been
singing since he was seven.
“I was singing in school choirs and now this and this choir
is a lot of fun,” Hassall said. Hassall isn’t picky about what music he
performs, just as long as he can sing.
“Whatever people tell me to sing, I will sing, I love
everything,” he said.
The Stairwell Carollers sell the CDs they produce to raise money
for charity. Since 1986 they have raised over $41,000. They have an upcoming
concert on Dec. 18, at Église Marie-Médiatrice at 7:30 p.m.