When we received a Sing for Good entry all the way from London we were excited to connect with people from across the globe. Even more inspiring was the song entrants Tus and Natasha wrote titled ‘Border Door’ in support of breaking down barriers and welcoming refugees. The song aims to motivate others to change, act and heal as their message to ‘open up the border door’ plays in the minds of listeners. We asked Tus to share some of the highs and lows of her singing journey, how she came to Sing for Good and her new found confidence in singing every day for a year.
Where did you first hear about our singing project Sing for Good?
I came across Tania de Jong’s talk “How singing together changes the brain” from TedxTalk. I tried to find her contact and sent her a message right away to express how much I was inspired by the talk. Listening to her speech, I felt very motivated to sing with other people more often and to set up a WithOneVoice London. Tania replied to me and also let me know about Sing for Good. I entered right away, such an awesome way to raise awareness and fundraise for people in need.
How long have you been singing?
I have always been singing and humming since I was little. I performed sometimes in special school events. I have always been quite shy about my singing ability though. I went through depression 3 months ago because of many different reasons. During that depression phase I was very critical of myself, I had zero self-esteem and I could not sing, even just for myself. Then I met Melanie Garside (Maple Bee) who is a music therapist, musician. She offered me weekly music therapy sessions which changed my life totally. I was able to overcome depression. I started singing again and enjoying life much more. I now see life full of hopes and possibilities.
What sparked your interest to write the song “Border Door” to raise awareness about the refugee crisis?
Here is what Natasha Gilbert wrote: “After holding a fundraising event for refugee support projects, I became very passionate about the future of those stuck between borders. I wanted to write a song that has a simple calling: ‘open up the border, open up the border door’. We hope that it will echo in the hearts of listeners growing their empathy to the point where they are ready to read more , donate and volunteer for refugee services. Singing has the power to motivate others to change, or to act, as well as to heal. We can do this best as a community, which is why Tus and I came together to sing this.”
You are also singing one song a day for a year and sharing it on social media. How many songs have you recorded so far? And how has this helped you become more confident in your singing?
I have been singing every day for 42 days now! In the first week, I was very shy and nervous when I posted a video, I thought a lot about whether I sang well enough, what people were going to think of me and now I’m not worried anymore! It has been so awesome! Lately, I have also been feeling much more energized and creative every day! I am a full time art student and singing has enabled me to have more ideas in my art practice. My friends have been noticing the changes in me and ask why I am so excited these last few days!
Where can we hear more of your beautiful songs to share with others?
We wish Tus all the best for the year ahead of singing, which will no doubt have a happy, healthy and positive impact.
Watch Tus and Natasha Sing for Good here and support them in their hope for opening the border door and welcoming refugees.
By Aimee Heckel on Daily Camera
Scott Johnson imagines uniting the entire world with a common language: the language of singing.
That’s why the Boulder man started World Singing Day in 2012. It took him a few years to incorporate as a nonprofit and get the momentum rolling. This year, he’s finally bringing his idea public: to the Pearl Street Mall in front of the courthouse.
On Saturday, six local choirs will gather on the mall for two hours of a public, social sing-along of popular songs (ranging from Katy Perry to The Beatles), as well as classics such as “America the Beautiful” and a simple song that Johnson co-wrote titled “We Sing.”
On the same day, people in countries around the world will sing that same song, and others, in honor of the day.
He knows groups will be participating in New Zealand, Australia, Senegal, the Philippines, India, Canada, Europe and the United States.
Creativity Australia is proudly participating in World Singing Day with a community singalong at Federation Square on Friday 23 October. Join us between 1-2pm for an afternoon of music, joy and entertainment. Click here and singalong.
You are invited to…
Star in the next big Aussie Rock Anthem, Legends of the Southern Land.
Legends of the Southern Land is new song by Aussie music legends, John ‘Wonder World’ St. Peeters, John (Swanee) Swan, Marty Rhone, Ray Burgess, Tommy Emmanuel and composed by Michael Yule. They are calling on all Australians to join them in singing this uplifting song.
Think you can’t sing? Don’t fret.
This isn’t a talent quest. We’re seeking people of all ages, cultures, faiths. Professional artists, shower singers… everyone is welcome.
It’s as easy as one, two, three.
Simply enter a video through Sing for Good singing along to the Aussie Rock Anthem. The song will be split into four sections over the month of October with mp3 and lyrics released weekly on Sing for Good. Enter one section, or as many as you like!
You can feel good and do good
We’re seeking 1,000 videos from around Australia and donations raised through Legends of the Southern Land go towards helping people in need through Sing for Good.
But wait there’s more…
Winners will star in the official Legends of the Southern Land music video and appear live on stage during the 2016 national tour.
Are you ready to rock?
Make you mark, make a difference, be the best that you can.
You’re the future of the southern land.
In recognition of Mental Health Week and World Mental Health Day on Saturday 10 October we are asking you to take the next step towards acknowledging your own mental health and wellbeing. #mentalhealthbeginswithyou
As the stigma around mental illness reduces, more people are recognising the benefits of participating in activities which create a more positive psychology. And one of the best ways to feel happier, healthier, smarter and more relaxed is by singing! Whether you sing in your car, sing with friends or in the shower, taking five minutes out of your day to sing it out will put you in a better mood both mentally and physically.
When we sing, we create new neural pathways and release oxytocin, the hormone responsible for love and bonding. Singing also fires up the right temporal lobe of the brain and releases endorphins, “feel good” chemicals that trigger fun, enjoyment, happiness and relaxation.
Not only is singing a great way to improve your mental wellbeing, but singing in a choir or group is proven to be an even more valuable resource for those in need. Regularly singing with others in the community allows you to build strong networks and this is especially beneficial for those who don’t have strong family or community supports in their lives.
World Mental Health Day is a global day to raise awareness and advocacy for mental health issues worldwide.
This year WMHD has three objectives:
By simply having a singalong, encouraging others to sing, connecting with the community and raising awareness about mental health you can help achieve these goals and improve you own mental wellbeing.
De-stress your life and do something good. Do it for you and those around you. Join us in song and enter Sing for Good. #dogood #feelgood #WMHD
A mutual love of karaoke and a background working in mental health inspired our leading Sing for Good entrants The Clinical Notes to take to the stage and have some fun! We decided to find out how this success entry came about, the reason for the (G)love and the hours spent perfecting their love song medley.
The Clinical Notes are truly inspiring and have received an outstanding amount of support and donations. We hope this inspire others to add some spice into their life and give it a go!
Watch their entry here and donate or vote to show your support.
This is a story about a man named Joe and his quest for love.
Joe leaves his hometown, becomes a locomotive, travels to Persia and ends up finding his one true love in the romantic country of Italy.
But this isn’t just a love story…
While Joe travelled far and wide, he was never alone in his search for love as the members of With One Voice Altona Meadows choir at Benetas St. George’s were always there singing by his side.
This musical story and creative Sing for Good entry provided the choir members with more than an afternoon of entertainment.
It allowed the members to embrace the joy of singing, engage with each other and step into a loved fuelled world. It was a fun adventure as they sang, acted and filmed a beautiful love story (with a happy ending).
The entry features a medley of five storytelling songs, opening with “Bye Bye Blackbird” and ending on the popular Italian song, “Arrivederci Roma,” where Joe reunites with his love before saying goodbye to Rome.
Every Wednesday at Benetas St. George’s aged care facility residents look forward to choir practice and other members of the community are invited to sing-along.
Through the choir’s open door policy we are able to engage with a diverse mix of people from the broader community who share the joy of singing and by doing that together with our residents it has the added benefit of providing a great sense of social inclusion.
– Siusan MacKenzie, Manager Community Engagement, Benetas
Singing in a choir is one of the best activities that senior citizens can engage in as it boosts their mood, stimulates their minds and increases social connectedness. The Ballad of Joe Sing for Good entry is a true example of the health benefits of singing and it is joyful to hear the residents singing so enthusiastically together.
The star of this entry, Joe (Giuseppe) also features in Benetas’ Unexpected Heroes film putting on another stellar performance. It’s amazing what you can discover under a few wrinkles.
There are plenty of categories you can enter. Join in the love story and Sing for Good.
Creativity Australia has teamed up with Benetas, a leading aged care provider in Victoria, to bring you With One Voice Altona Meadows.
By Eloise Mahoney
With One Voice Brisbane choir deserves a medal. Conductor Cath Mundy, choir volunteers and members have been working tirelessly over the past month running their #JoinTheChorus crowd-funding campaign to get the everyone in the Brissy choir to Melbourne! Why, you ask?
Nestled on the sunny coast of Queensland they are not just a community choir, they are a family. They show up to weekly rehearsals, sing together, share supper and create a home away from home.
Every year the With One Voice (WOV) choirs from around Australia come together to perform at the Melbourne Town Hall at the With One BIG Voice concert. The event is a celebration of diversity, inclusion, community and joy where more than 400 voices sing together on one stage.
Unfortunately, WOV Brisbane could not join the other choirs on the big stage last year. But this year it will be different. This year they will join fellow WOV singers and experience the exhilaration, joy and sense of achievement gained from performing on stage.
So how do they fulfil this dream of making sure every choir member, regardless of their financial situation can sing in Melbourne?
The With One Voice program is a charity running on donations from choir members, the public, sponsorships and singing events including Sing for Good so it’s often difficult to gain extra funding to cover travel costs.
After the success of many other crowd-funding campaigns which feed off the generosity of strangers WOV Brisbane took the initiative to start their own pledge. The campaign titled #JoinTheChorus tells the story of the choirs dream to sing in Melbourne accompanied by a series of YouTube videos and personal stories from the members.
To fly each member to Melbourne the choir needs to raise $7,500 with the ultimate goal $12,500 to ensure everyone has a bed to sleep in each night.
Raising the set target seemed impossible at first. However, over the last month the pledges have been coming in steadily and finally, we are thrilled to announce they have reached their tipping point of $7,500! This means that they’ll receive the money, but still need more pledges to reach their ultimate goal by the closing date.
The journey is not over but the efforts by WOV Brisbane are outstanding.
Well done team.
Show your support and pledge as every donation big or small helps get Brissy to the Melbourne Town Hall!
By Eloise Mahoney
Imagine what the world would be like if everyone sang when they talked and danced when they walked. A world where we were all united through the pure joy of music. A world where ‘singclusion’ was actually a word and we all sang in perfect harmony.
Imagine waking up every day and instead of saying ‘Good Morning’ you begin belting out a bit of Wham! before you ‘go-go’ on your merry way. Crazy, I know, but one can only dream!
This utopian world where music is the universal language is a far-fetched dream for some. Like many, you may have been told you can’t sing. The reality hurts. Trust me, I can barely sing in tune!
And while we may never sound as dreamy as George Michael, we need to stand up and push past the ‘shushes’ from those demanding silence. Absolutely nothing is stopping you from stretching your vocal chords a little further than your shower or car.
One thing I have discovered from opening up my voice is that it’s good for you! Neuroscience has proven time and time again that singing – especially as a group – makes us happier, healthier, smarter and more creative.
Singing releases those little feel good endorphins you get from eating chocolate, but without the unwanted calories. Sounds like a diet for life if you ask me.
Not convinced yet? Let me introduce you to a group of do-gooders who are making the singclusion dream a reality. Playing for Change is a social movement inspiring and connecting everyone through music. They believe that music and song has the power to break down boundaries and make us more connected globally.
It is the vision of an ideal world, but its working! Just like Michael Jackson sang to Heal the World, Playing for Change are ‘gonna make a change, it feels real good… they’re gonna make a difference, gonna make it right…’
The Playing for Change movement was founded in 2002 by Mark Johnson and Whitney Kroenke when they hit the streets of America to sing with the soul shakers of the suburbs. Since then, the musical team has grown and they have been tirelessly globetrotting to record a series called “Songs Around The World”. Each musician is welcomed with open arms and hearts into the global music family.
A Playing for Change band was also created as a result of this journey, bringing the greatest musicians together through song. The band members come from all different countries and cultures, but the best part is they all speak the same language: music. It’s real life ‘singclusion’ happening right before our eyes.
“With music we are always working together – the musician and the audience create the shared experience. This is a great foundation to build social change”
– Playing for Change
Playing for Change is in tune with the message we hum for Sing for Good so it seemed fitting they enter our community singing challenge. Their video ‘Cotton Fields’ is an oldie by Huddie Ledbetter from the 1940s being played by Blind Boy Paxton, Luke Winslow King, Esther Rose, Takuya Kuroda and the California Feetwarmers.
It’s a toe-tapping folky performance that is bound to leave you with a smile from ear to ear and feel-good goosebumps all over! Watch the Playing for Change video here and donate or vote to show your support.
Playing for Change Day is taking place on 19 September 2015, where musicians and music lovers can gather together for a global day of action to help bring music into the lives of children and promote positive social change.
The day sees 400+ musical events take places in over 60 countries around the world with money raised go towards providing instruments and music inspiration to today’s youth. To support the day and get involved check out playingforchange.org
Are you ready to step out of the shower and master the new universal language?
You can also join us in Sing for Good and help us spread the singclusion movement. Simply enter a video, share it with friends and celebrate the power of the voice.
Last week our lovely ambassadors The Pacific Belles and Neighbours star Alan Fletcher took to the mic to promote Sing for Good on the Melbourne radio station JOY 94.9. The dynamic team sang the popular song ‘Accentuate the Positive’ giving the audience a taste of their delightful harmonies with support from the toe-tapping ukulele. The song was first written by Harold Arlen in 1944 and later performed by The Andrew Sisters and Bing Crosby. The song choice couldn’t be more fitting for Sing for Good with the key lyrics explaining ‘you got to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative’. Watch their radio performance below.
“It’s important to reach out and connect with people and we feel so lucky to do this through our favourite pastime, which is singing”
Betty, Dot & Mabel (The Pacific Belles)
JOY 94.9 is a gay and lesbian volunteer-based community radio station listened to by 329,000 people in Melbourne as well as online, podcasts and blogs. The station is self-funded and committed to enabling freedom of speech and breaking down the barriers of isolation. JOY 94.9 is also joining us as community partners for Sing for Good 2015.
Working together our ambassadors and community partner put on a fantastic show and we can’t thank them enough for their continual support.
It was a normal day at Ritchie’s Mt Eliza. Everyone was strolling around doing their regular supermarket shopping and minding their own business. Then something amazing happened, leaving the customers stunned and cheering for more.
Appearing in disguise as store workers, the singers from acclaimed Australian group Pot-Pourri stopped everyone in their tracks with their Flash Mob style performance singing a beautiful rendition of Bocelli’s ‘Time To Say Goodbye’. Pot-Pourri has performed in over 40 countries and released 7 CDs and share their beautiful voices and interactive style with audiences in major concert halls, outdoor under the stars and at conferences, private and special events. They encourage everyone to find their unique voices and sing together.
Ritchies are proud to partner Sing for Good’s Best Family Sing category. They invite families from all over Australia and globally to video themselves singing a special song together around the dining table, the house, garden or even in the supermarket and submit their entries for Sing for Good. Ritchie’s love to surprise their customers and their Sing for Good entry was an incredible experience for everyone involved.
You can watch their amazing tear jerking performance here and remember to vote, share, donate and #singforgood
Sing for Good singing challenge has been open for nearly two weeks and we have seen an array of amazing entries! Each performance captures the joy and happiness that group singing brings to one another and we are looking forward to seeing many more inspiring sings in the coming weeks. One entry we are loving though comes from our community partner OzHarvest.
The Australian band Air Land Sea has offered the song If You’ve Got Love in support of OzHarvest’s efforts to rescue food, educate and nourish Australians in need. The video captures recipients of OzHarvest food rescue services and features members of With One Voice Sydney and The Sydney Street Choir. You can check it out here.
We are delighted to work with OzHarvest, who provide suppers for several of our inclusive community choirs. Part of the donations raised from this Sing for Good entry will go to support the important work of OzHarvest. So please support this fantastic cause and give generously!
Air Land Sea is a new writing and recording project from songwriters Tony Buchen, Nadav Kahn and Lior. The single of If You’ve Got Love is out now on iTunes.
Watch, donate and vote for OzHarvest: http://singforgood.org/ozharvest-if-youve-got-love
Is your group having trouble deciding what song to sing for Sing for Good? Here’s a quick history of musical genres to get your creative juices flowing!
Music is everywhere, from the singing of birds to the sounds of car radios passing by. Most of us enjoy music daily, yet not many of us will probably ever give too much thought to where it has actually come from.
The origin of music genres date back many years ago meaning today’s music is often a blend of different styles and influences. Some genres borrow from others you may have thought you didn’t like!
The 1940s-50s saw the emergence of rock n roll. Yet core elements of the genre can be traced back to the 1920s. Fittingly, rock n roll music originally came from the southern parts of the United States, which is in many ways synonyms with slavery.
Yet it was in this dark period that African and European music met and fell in love. The rock n roll that you know and love today was created when rhythm and blues came together with country music.
Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richard has credited Chuck Berry as being the man who gave birth to the modern rock riffs we are familiar with today. Berry is said to have achieved this by taking the two-note lead line of jump blues and converting it to electric guitar.
During Sing for Good, a popular genre will most likely be pop music. Pop music originated from the western world during the 1950s – 60s. Pop has been bemoaned for its lack of depth, yet there are many artists who use the structure of verse – chorus – verse to great and powerful affect. Pop music draws on an almost endless supply of influences from other music around it.
Hip hop/rap music is probably the most controversial and polarising genre these days – just like rock n roll was once! Originally it was from West Africa where stories were told with the only accompanying instrument being a beating drum. During this period in the Caribbean stories were being told in rhyme.
Surprisingly rap also has been influenced (ironically) by plays such as My Fair Lady. This is due to what is known as the “patter song”, where the plays text is spoken very quickly and rhythmically and each syllable corresponds to a musical note. Patter song makes up majority of My Fair Lady Rex Harrison’s numbers. Over time it grew to include jazz and African tribal drumming before becoming hip hop.
Reggae and Jamaica seem to go hand in hand thanks to megastars like Bob Marley. But reggae was originally a type of Jamaican dance music. It then became influenced by American jazz, blues and R&B coming out of New Orleans.
As you can see, music has the power to transcend all known boundaries, such as language, race and religion. So as you decide what kind of song you and your group want to explore for Sing for Good be mindful not to rule anything out.
Understanding where the music you love comes from can open you to many new genres. Who knows, maybe you’ll discover brand new musical frontiers!
Inspired? Register now.
Group singing inspires creativity, reactivates weary brains and improves our wellbeing in countless ways – international research is proving it again and again. So why don’t more businesses sing daily?
According to IBM’s CEO Global Study, which polled over 1500 executives across 60 nations and 33 industries, creativity is now regarded as the most important leadership quality for success in business, outweighing integrity and global thinking.
In today’s fast-paced business environment, creativity and innovation are a prerequisite for success, and possibly even survival. Yet in many companies there are no clear pathways for developing personal creativity. In fact, often those with the ideas are ignored or stifled, so that eventually their voices fall silent
To continue reading, click here
Some years ago I went to a corporate breakfast for International Women’s Day. The guest speaker was a life coach for women of power and influence. She referred to herself as a Persuasion Expert. She wore a pale lemon suit and exhorted us to set our goals. She talked about the imperative of women finding their voice.
I imagined all the husbands, at home, rolling their eyes.
“Find your voice? Find the off-button, more likely.”
Read more here
For resident Marg Walker, the With One Voice Altona Meadows community choir at Benetas St George’s is more than just an opportunity to sing along to her favourite tunes. Read more in this great article from DPS News.
A Music Buff’s Guide to Singing… In the Buff
Not only does everybody sing in the shower, everybody also thinks they sound better in the shower. The reason why we sound better is fairly simple, it’s due to your voice bouncing off the smooth hard tiles and glass surfaces, giving it more power. This makes a regular Joe or Joanne sound as powerful as the late Roy Orbison or as soulful as Adele.
Research into shower singing has provided even more reasons to belt it out first thing in the morning. A Swiss study found singing to have a huge effect on your heart rate, so much so that it can even reduce the risk of heart disease. Swedish neurologist Bjorn Vickhoff said that singing “gives you pretty much the same effect as yoga breathing”.
So what other reasons do you need to realize the beauty of shower singing first thing in the morning? Maybe you’re just stuck for ideas on what to sing next? If that’s so, enjoy 10 songs selected to belt out in a hot shower on a cold morning.
10: Tiny Dancer – Elton John
The song is short and sweet. Sweet because it recounts the day Elton’s long time writing partner, Bernie Taupin, first met the woman he would soon make his wife. The hook erupts after three verses and is easily one of the catchiest and most recognizable in Elton’s amazing catalogue. “Only you can hear me/ when I say softly slowly/Hold me closer tiny dancer/count the headlights on the highway”.
9: Sweet Child ‘O Mine – Guns N’ Roses
Wake up with a bang and pull out your best shower air guitar moves. “She’s got a smile that it seems to me/reminds me of childhood memories/where everything was as fresh as the bright blue sky” is one of the catchiest opening lines in modern rock. The song is about lead singer Axel Rose’s future ex-wife in happier times, but let’s remember it for why it was created and not what happened after. Fans of the comedy Step Brothers will understand how the song lends itself to some ‘beautiful’ harmonies and is just as affective a capella.
8: Hey Jude – The Beatles
Paul McCartney was inspired to write the song after consoling Julian Lennon, who had felt neglected by his father John, once he began dating Yoko Ono. That coming from the man who wrote the ultimate song of love and peace, Imagine, shows how greatly complex people are. Yet McCartney stepped up in the role of surrogate uncle and delivered one of the greatest songs of re-assurance, love, and support ever written.
7: Fake Empire – The National
The National, while unknown to many, are the modern masters of understated, ambiguous, and simple lyrics. With three simple verses Fake Empire is perfect song to belt out in a hot shower. The song can be interpreted a number of different ways. The first can be an ode to imagination and reminiscing. The second is a dissection of the United States under the presidency of George W. Bush. And the third is simply forgetting your troubles, and that of the world, it’s time to: “Turn out the light, say goodnight. No thinking for a little while”.
6: You Can’t Always Get What You Want – The Rolling Stones
Wants versus needs is a classic theme of the arts. Its most often found in film and literary characters that often start of a story trying to achieve their need, but walk away more enriched discovering what they truly want. Of course sometimes the opposite occurs. The song is about life not always going the way you think it should, yet somehow at the end of the day more often or not we get by with what we have. You can’t always get what you want/ but if you try sometime/you just might find/you get what you need.
5: Shake It Off – Taylor Swift
A song about being you and not letting what people say get in the way! This is a feel good, high energy, sass-filled tune that can help you launch into the day. The song is fun, filled with attitude and is all about being the person you are meant to be. It deals with perception versus reality in a fun light hearted way, and is just as catchy for men as it is women, just try and shake, shake, shake it off!
4: Rolling In The Deep – Adele
They say “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”, and whoever broke Adele’s heart found out how true that sentiment really can be. Combining her powerful voice with beautiful lyrics, the song is about proving to someone who was meant to have your back what the cost of their betrayal is. Adele proved her point by going on to win the 2012 Grammy for song and record of the year.
3: Wild World – Cat Stevens
This song, about saying goodbye to an ex-lover can be interpreted as goodbye and good luck or goodbye now don’t stuff up. The subtle lyrics beautifully encapsulate the contradictory feelings of a break up, while remaining peaceful, controlled, and quiet.
2: Like A Rolling Stone – Bob Dylan
“Once upon a time you dressed so fine/threw the bums a dime/in your prime/didn’t you?” After the thunderous kick of a snare drum Dylan fires out the first line of the song with an energy that never lets up. The song tells the story of an affluent girl’s lack of concern for the dangerous path she’s walking. It’s a song about high society, wasted opportunity, and karma that contains some of the greatest lyrics ever written.
1: Go Your Own Way – Fleetwood Mac
A song to be belted out any time you’re starting something new, feeling confused, or taking a risk. The song is written by the male lead of the great Fleetwood Mac Lindsay Buckingham and is about the end of his relationship with female lead singer Stevie Nicks. This song is filled with a lot of hope and a wonderful sense of ease, knowing that what has happened did happen and it’s time to move on.
What’s your favourite song to sing in the shower?
It’s National Volunteer Week and Creativity Australia’s With One Voice family wants to say a big thank you to our 100 volunteers who support and contribute to the community every week.
Without their ongoing support, the With One Voice choirs wouldn’t be able to operate as successfully as it does and for that, we are truly grateful.
Together, our volunteers and other wonderful team members are helping change the world… one voice at a time. Creativity Australia’s aim is to bridge the gap between people experiencing disadvantage and those more fortunate through the neuro-scientific benefits of community singing, choirs and singing projects. We build supportive networks that help people connect to brighter futures.
Coinciding with Volunteering Australia’s motto this year, our team members share the same value: Give Happy, Live Happy.
I had no idea what to expect heading into the Sofitel Melbourne on Collins for my first With One Voice choir. I had just landed a gig as an intern for Creativity Australia and assumed I’d be there in an ‘observational’ capacity. That assumption proved to be incorrect. I’d never sung in a choir before, let alone publicly, and was nervous about to be doing so.
As I stood awkwardly wondering what I had got myself into it was suggested I go and join the “boys”. The boys, or the bass section, consisted of six men all much older than me, yet some were years apart from one and other. Summing up the situation I attempted to sneak into the back row unnoticed, but this close knit gang of basses weren’t about to just let anyone in.
“A tall older man turned and looked at me.
He offered me his hand and joyfully asked “do you sing often?” “No, not really,” I said. He smiled before saying,
“You have a voice. That’s a start”.”
The tall man then introduced me to the rest of the boys, each as welcoming as he. After being accepted into the “gang” I noticed how much they enjoyed bouncing off one and other, telling stories, and checking up on other members. As more basses arrived I was continually introduced and made to feel welcomed in their jokes and chit chat.
As Kym, the choir conductor, began to take the warm up I got a chance to see how excited everyone was to start singing. Some focused their breathing to prepare themselves, others joked and smiled, and some just sat there content in the company of others. Yet the fact remained, the most daunting part was coming, and the singing was about to commence.
Kym stood before us with the song lyrics we were about to tackle projected brightly for all to read. As we went through our warm up I tried to sing under my breath, as not to offend anyone with my untried voice. Before we sang the first song together Kym broke it down into sections and helped everyone to understand their role. With each attempt I began to grow with confidence, as if I was catching it from the other choir members by seeing their joy manifest through their singing.
I couldn’t help but feel the sense of anticipation building to start singing as one. Once Kym was satisfied everyone felt comfortable we began our first group rendition. Any nerves or fears I had quickly vanished as the energy, joy, and passion quickly became contagious.
“Before I knew it I was singing as loudly as anyone else,
and dare I say it I think I sounded pretty good!
But my individual performance didn’t matter, as the
sound of so many different and unique voices from people all sorts of backgrounds became one. I couldn’t help but feel camaraderie and a sense of inclusion.”
We went on to sing another two or so songs and by the choirs end not only did I feel a part of it, I felt I had truly enjoyed it. As the singing ended the Sofitel provided supper for the choir members; a chance to move around the room and talk to people in different parts of the choir. I quietly slipped out feeling uplifted, with a sense of enjoyment and accomplishment, with my previous perceptions completely re-shaped.
Never before have I taken a chance to sing in a choir. After my experience at With One Voice I realised what I have been missing out on. There is something so liberating about singing, and when you’re given the chance to be who you are and sing, I highly recommend you take it. You will not regret it, how could you?
Find your local With One Voice choir at www.creativityaustralia.org.au