Not into football? Still lots to do this weekend

Sing out with Choir! Choir! Choir! at the NAC. Enjoy some face time with the portraits at Figureworks 2017, and share your personal experiences with other Ottawa storytellers.

Sing-alongs, art shows and storytelling on the list

Choir! Choir! Choir! creates a joyous noise by blending the voices of audience and choir members. (Choir! Choir! Choir!)

Far from the roar of the crowd and Grey Cup festivities, check out some arts events that invite you to join in on the fun.

Choir! Choir! Choir!

It started out as an informal weekly sing-along in Toronto, but Choir! Choir! Choir! has grown into a national phenomenon by tapping into a need that people share — and have few opportunities to actually do — joining together, opening their hearts and raising their voices in song.

Under the direction of Daveed Goldman and Nobu Adilman, the 50-voice choir joins forces with audience members to deliver beautiful choral renditions of pop songs. The repertoire runs the gamut, from Leonard Cohen and Gordon Lightfoot to Drake and Justin Bieber. 

The group is in town to perform the national anthem at the Grey Cup, but on Saturday night they'll bring their musical love-in to the NAC, with special guest Chris Murphy from Canadian band Sloan.

  • WHEN: Saturday at 8 p.m.
  • WHERE: Southam Hall, National Arts Centre, 1 Elgin St.
  • COST: Tickets range from $14.50 to $44.50, and can be purchased here.

Tell your story

Gather around a fire in a cosy space to share stories and memories about your family.  On Sunday evenings Ottawa StoryTellers hosts (un)told — a chance for seasoned raconteurs and first-time tale tellers to unfurl a personal story or experience in a trusting and welcoming atmosphere. The theme this week is rich with possibilities: You can't choose your family. (Or can you?)

"We wanted to open it up to new interpretations of the word family," said Allison Burns, artistic manager of Ottawa StoryTellers. " Whether it's your biological family or a new family you've found."

Everyone is welcome to drop in and tell a short story (five minutes or less), but it's recommended people email organizers for hints on how to shape the tale for maximum impact. Or, if you'd rather sit there and listen, that's fine too.

  • WHEN: Sunday at 7:30 p.m.
  • WHERE: Heart & Crown Pub, 67 Clarence St.
  • COST: Admission is free.
The Heart & Crown Pub makes for a cosy setting for sharing stories. (Pat Holloway)

Figureworks 2017

'I am everything' from a series of figurative paintings by Sarah Lacy. (Sarah Lacy)

Come face to face with the unforgettable people who fill the canvases at Figureworks 2017. The group show was launched eight years ago by local artists to display portraits and nudes at a time when representational art was out of favour in the art world.

This year, more than 300 artists from around the world applied to be in the show, winnowed down to the 45 on display. Oils, photographs, sculpture and mixed-media art, celebrating the human body and visage in all its unairbrushed glory. 

"Art is about exploring the juiciness of the stories that our bodies tell," said artist Sarah Lacy. "Our bodies record every single experience our bodies have … it's written on the surface of our skin."

  • WHEN:  The show runs until Dec. 2.
  • WHERE: Saint Brigid's Centre for the Arts, 310 St. Patrick St.
  • Admission: Free
'Rangifer tarandus caribou', this photograph by Christine Fitzgerald took home second prize at Figureworks 2017. (Christine Fitzgerald)

About the Author

Sandra Abma


Sandra Abma is a veteran CBC arts journalist. If you have an event or idea you want to share, please do at