Author Archives: may

Holdable Music

My piece. Come by today 6-8pm for our community celebration! #art #communityarts #gardinerCAS #circles

A photo posted by May Chook (@maychookmusic) on

5 days of creative exploration, and no I didn’t find out exactly what is holdable music. I think, it is going to be an evolving definition.

When I truly believe in my mind, my imperfections, my everything, my art and music are holdable.

There are a few common themes that we discovered while engaging with the community: harmony with nature, unity, and memorable moments with loved ones. We would love a better world, and we can express it through creating something. That goes with music too.

The residency did inspire me to write a song. I have the sound in my head, but it is not ready to be presented yet.

As a musician, music is holdable when I truly believe and make things happen.

The Sound of Weaving

Displaying the weaving process. #artresindency #art #thesoundofweaving #hoops #circles

A photo posted by May Chook (@maychookmusic) on

Day 3. Today we started weaving the communal big hoop, and I tried to develop and solidify my ideas for holdable music.

I like that I get to be creative in this space and express myself. I just had the idea as pictured above, to display the “extras” while weaving the hoop. Does placing them on a plinth make them an art piece? What really amazed me was that a lady came in and participated in the weaving, and she went to take some pieces from the “display”. It totally blurred the lines between process and results.

What is holdable music? While creating a physical art piece and thinking of a story, the holdable art process and the artwork makes my story more memorable. The objects associated with the story became more prominent and holdable. It is like…the story matters more now because I created an art piece out of this.

Now I am a little overwhelmed. So many ideas, how to pack into sounds and songs? How many singing pieces can I create?

Maybe I should ask…how is holdable music?


Everything has a sound

Today Pamela and I continued our journey of hoop weaving and idea harvest for the sound poems. It was a busy day with quite a number of visitors and children. I spoke with almost everyone when they were weaving, and listened to their stories and ideas. Everyone is an artist in this residency, everyone is encouraged to be creative.

We have some very poetic hoops…”A Heart Song”, “Peaceful Good”, weaving about unity, centrality, history, legacy, etc. It is such

Everything has a sound, I would love to dig deeper and present my findings this Friday at the celebration.

What does your story sound like?



Ensemble of Circles

First day of residency. Come join us to weave and sing until this Friday! #art #vocalimprov #singing #hoops #circles

A photo posted by May Chook (@maychookmusic) on

First day of residency at the Gardiner Museum. Pamela and I started setting up since 8am, and I kept asking myself, what do circles mean to me?

At this residency / creative exploration / experiment / anything that you can be inspired by, we are weaving hoops and creating sound poems.

From the perspective of vocal improvisation, singing in a circle is close to my heart, body and mind. It just….feels so complete. Being in a circle, I can see and hear everyone. I feel involved, safe, and powerful with the togetherness of people. I am a part of the circle, a part of the community, a part of people’s stories.

I love to bring people together through singing. We all have a voice to do something, including make something beautiful, and that is up to yourself to define what it is.

I think sounds are round. A beautiful sound is an ensemble of circles.

Experience circles, they signify completeness to me.

I will try updating my writing during this residency, and you are welcome to join me physically at the Gardiner Museum from 1-4pm, or online anytime. We also have a celebration on Friday 6-8pm, because life is worth celebrating :)

**”Circles” is a cross-disciplinary project by May Chook and Pamela Schuller at the Gardiner Museum’s Community Arts Space. More info on the Gardiner Museum’s website.

Should I Sing Pop?

110831 GNO opening 1

2011??!! My first “formal” and solo performance at Chalkers Pub, opened for Girls Night Out Jazz Jam. 6 jazz tunes with an amazing band. I know I don’t look like this anymore, but it was definitely me!

Since I graduated from York in 2012, I have been focusing a lot in the community – workshop participants, mentees, peers, coordinators, bosses, other people – most importantly, excluding myself.

I always tell myself, being a community artist, the artist is a part of the community too. That’s why I like to work with newcomers and women – I identify with them, and hopefully they identify with me too. We talk about things that affect us, and we sing them.

When students asked me to sing, I was always not sure what kind of sound I should sing…

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Video interview feature by AVNU!

My first video interview! ūüėČ

Thank you AVNU* for inviting me to be their youth feature of October 2015! AVNU staff Veronica was a great pleasure to work with, we had a lot of laughter and great moments while filming.

Shout out to Girls Night Out Jazz Jam, North York Arts and Arts for Children and Youth!

*AVNU (pronounced “avenue”) is a collaborative effort by 10 arts and community organizations who provide FREE mentorship and training to young artists and arts entrepreneurs. You can check out their work on their website. I suggest all young artists should check them out.


Find ways that work for them…and myself


One thing about running youth programs, it forces me to troubleshoot creatively after every session.

Not that we have had a lot of “troubles”, I call it challenges and learning processes.

I like the challenges, and I’m glad that I am ready for them.

Great opportunities are for those who are ready.

Since early April, I have been conducting “Your Voice is You” creative voice project in partnership with North York Community House. This 6-week project is proudly funded by Toronto Arts Council’s Platform A Microgrant.

I have been working with 8 newcomer youths who are very brilliant in their own ways. What I need to do is to guide them to “find their voice”.

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The CLN Media & Theatre Youth Program

CLN Info Session 2014 Flyer

Mark your date on Saturday, January 18th. RSVP here.

I recently started a partnership with the Casandra London Network (CLN) for their youth program at the Jane-Finch area. I will be guest facilitating or performing or making a cameo (you know the last one is a joke).

CLN LogoThe CLN is a community driven initiative fusing together the art of theatre and journalism for diverse youth ages 19-28 making social and political differences in marginalized areas. Over the course of five months from January to May, eight to ten youth will learn how to collectively create a play, produce an online video news report, and develop an event to showcase their work in the community.

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Connecting the Dots

Yuri Murakami (healing artist) and her husband Luc Bihan (sculpture artist) with their lovely child Am√©tiste, me, and the family of Ralph Davis, Emi Saeki and the very energetic Kaede.Dec 12th marked as one of the greatest moments in 2013 for me. Since I submitted an event proposal to East End Arts two months ago, I hosted this arts networking event called “Connecting the Dots” at Red Rocket Coffee on Danforth. Thanks to the managing director of East End Arts, Cindy Rozeboom, who was very supportive throughout the planning and hosting process,¬†¬†I also had a lot of freedom in planning and decision making.¬†Check out photos on Facebook¬†here and see below, credit to Cindy Rozeboom from East End Arts.

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I am going to pick up blogging again, to share with you festivals / community events / gigs that I care about. I learned one thing from artists self promotion forum: you don’t have to be everywhere and update every single hour. So, I’m still figuring out how often I am going to update this site. Hopefully the next time you come here, this post is not on top again.

Did I say it’s very lovely to meet you in the online world? You’re lovely, please make some great art today, be it just a good-looking-tasting Nutella sandwich. Cheers.