The Joy of community singing

The Joy of Community Singing
August 2018.

A few weeks ago, 12 women from Insingc embarked on our 3rd trip to Festival of Voices in Tassie. We plan this trip 2 years out, and go every second year, and some of us have been 3 times now. FOV is an amazing festival where a singer can be immersed in his/her passion and feed the soul with loads of workshops, performances and concerts all concentrated into 10 days of Tasmanian foodie and wine heaven ! Never mind that it’s Hobart in July ! The chance to wear all those groovy winter clothes and boots and scarves adds a touch of funky glamour as well .

Festival of Voices welcomes choirs from all over Australia, and internationally, ranging from professional auditioned choirs to non auditioned community groups. Everyone is giving their best in song and it’s an inspiring week of performing, supporting and enjoying the performances of others, networking, new friendships and professional relationships and fun.

As a director and voice teacher, for me it’s about observing the transformative nature of what happens for my singers in the process though. All the preparation, rehearsal, working and re-working of the songs brings a new confidence which makes a group strong, and cohesive, and greater than the sum of it’s parts…but the development of each individual singer is also such a joy to witness and support.

To see someone who has struggled with their confidence and worked at their singing lessons and choir particptation for a considerable time now standing up confidently singing a solo full of soul and expression at a public performance fills my heart with happiness. Each one of us, no matter what our level of experience had a special pivotal moment (or more) !!

We performed around Hobart in the FOV Pop Up Program at Hadley’s Orient, The Grand Chancellor, The MacQ1, and at MONA in the Nolan Gallery. This was such a highlight, and to feel our harmonies blending and floating and spiralling up in this incredible building was a pivotal moment for us. We also performed on the MONA ferry, which as casual and fun. We delighted our audiences, our peers and ourselves everywhere we went. People were stopping our girls in the street to comment and thank them ( a bit of rock star status goes a long way)
The feedback : “Wow your choir sounds beautiful and you all look so HAPPY’.

We performed nearly every night at The Singer’s Lounge, which is a favourite highlight of FOV. The Long Gallery at Salamanca is converted into a lively venue complete with cabaret set up and a bar, and choirs converge here every night after various performances and concerts to share their voices in a uniquely casual yet challenging setting that always inspires. MC and Australian composer Paul Jarman brings a level of passion to this venue that creates a warm, supportive and encouraging environment for all of us to shine in !

The Joy of community singing
The Joy of community singing

In the middle of the week Insingc was also invited to participate in the Concert @ Five featuring Queensland choirs, at the Hobart Town Hall. What a joy to sing in such a beautiful venue. An definite highlight for us !

What did we do to make this happen ?

We had a group of people who made the commitment to our goal, some of us 2 years ahead, to enjoy ourselves, step up, and do our best in Tassie ! We agreed we wanted a supportive, no drama agenda. We agreed on the repertoire we all loved, and worked the parts to suit the number and the voices we had. We had long, challenging but wonderfully fulfilling rehearsal days that had time for lovely lunches and champagne ! We had like mindedness and shared vision. We supported and encouraged each other. There was love ! We planned wardrobe, accommodation, flights, meetups, and workshops. We had a colour coded spreadsheet timetable organised down to the minute by our Crackshot Manager Ms Roslyn Freemantle, supported by the planning of our Social Butterfly Coordinator Mrs Robyn Streiner…between these two committed organisers is Yours Truly who is able to focus on the musical directing these days with much gratitude !

The Joy of community singing
The Joy of community singing

We also stepped in the mindest of being a Singer ! We had an affirmation : I am A Singer On Tour ! Sometimes we added Fake It ‘til You Make it …but taking up the role, and taking care of our bodies and voices became a part of our daily routine…as much as late nights and champagne will allow…but we warmed up, steamed our throats twice a day, consciously took care of vocal health, stayed well hydrated and grudgingly avoided cheese.

For me as a voice teacher, it’s so wonderful to see the results of my many years of study and experience of pedagogy and performance being so effective for singers.
It gives me a lot of joy to be working in my area of passion purpose on this
planet !

So a great and transformative time was had by all, and the next tour is July 2020…so put that in your diary, and come join us !!

Kath x