One of the ways that Melbourne Contemporary Choir (MCCHOIR) is different from most choirs out there is that we are truley creative and we believe that music needs to be shared - that’s why we write and record our own original songs. Sure we love singing covers of songs from artists and bands like Justin Timberlake, Queen, FRANCES, P!NK and more but our members really resonate with the songs that have been home grown from within the group.
As a creative I love teaming up with other like minded people with similar passions and creating music that touches singers and audiences alike. Way back in 2015, I reached out to a very talented song writer, musician, recording artist and arranger, Jared Haschek who I knew through a family member who played in the band ‘Compliments of Gus’ with Jared. Well the timing was perfect and a collaborative partnership between Jarred and the newly established MCCHOIR began. I guess the reason I was initially interested in collabing with Jared was an album release for ‘The Black and White of It’ which in my opinion is Compliments if Gus’s best album amongst their discography. Here’s a little clip from that album with Jarred on Keys.
Anyway with a new Contemporary Choir to launch I had in mind to work with Jarred, who is also a brilliant pianist to work with the choir and I have learnt so much from this talented musician since that day. It was in the second year of the choir after a very successful sold out debut concert that we started talking about writing together. Being primarily a lyricist myself, I thought that the partnership would be a winning combination. Jared has a way of taking my lyrical ideas and forming contemporary tunes that are catchy, singable and bring out the best in our singers. So the “Time To Shine” project was initiated and our first EP was produced and released. Our choir members really rose to the challenge of learning and refining the pieces to a point where we were ready to hit the studio. Being all original music of course we drew on some of Melbourne’s top musicians to record the music beds for the two tunes. We had masterclasses with the amazingly takented Marty Visser, Music Director at Wantirna College and Creative Director of the CHIME Choir in Melbourne to help us take our singing up a notch. Here’s a lyric video of the title song on that EP “Time to Shine” from that project available on iTunes and Spotify.
We started getting some interest in our music from choirs around the world who wanted to use the songs and so we decided we wanted to make the charts and backing tracks available to choirs who resonated with our music. I love the idea of instant access, so I’ve made all of our charts including piano, SATB, horn charts and lead sheets available on our online shop. Sales from the music go towards helping us produce more original Australian, truley contemporary works. Both of our first original songs are available now for download and your purchase entitles you to unlimited copies of the music for the life of your choir.
Other resources include high quality backing tracks as well as demo tracks of individual SATB parts so you can teach your choir the parts - this is really useful for singers who learn aurally. For those of us who work with live bands we offer the original horn charts (Trumpet, Trombone, Tenor Sax and Alto Sax) as well as individual stems of all instruments recorded on the album. This means you can suppliment your live band or accomopanist with instruments on the recording and muting instruments you are playing live. This gives you huge power to get a very full sound like the recording, but with that ‘live’ feel. Many popular groups and bands use this technology for live performances. All you need is a program like Garage Band, Logic Pro X, Pro Tools or Ableton and your set. This resource is also great for musician who want to rehearse their isolated part at home. Want to replicate that soaring guitar solo by Glenn Cannon? Have a listen to his isolated part and you’ll sound just like him.
Glenn Cannon at our Time To Shine EP Launch
But wait ... there’s more! At MCCHOIR this year our theme is Ready for More #R4M2018. Every year the choir likes to run with a theme which informs our repertoire selection, our focus and our annual Concert Event. “Ready for More” is also the title of a new song that Jared and I have been working on. I’d let you have a listen to the demo, but that will be a members only benefit for the time being. But before that, MCCHOIR has three original tunes we will be recording in 2018 - “Others”, “Watch Me Fly” and “Friends”. Jared and I have been hard at work in the studio, together with our featured artist Rod Davies who will appear in the track “Others”.
Jared Haschek, Jason Simmonds and Rod Davies at The Bass Recording Studios, South Melbourne.
So Jared has been really busy with Phil Threlfall from The Bass Recording Studio comping an amazing 8 piece string section and some highly talented musicians to produce the backing tracks for the next EP. We thought about using synth strings or horns but there’s nothing quite like the rich tones of authentic strings. We are so excited about this new project and can’t wait to hit the studio’s in the early part if the year.
Our 8 piece string section tracking “Others”
But wait ... There’s more. You too can have the opportunity to be a part of this unique and exciting recording project. The choir will be hitting Oaklands Production Studio’s Saturday 17th March 2018
We’re looking for talented contemporary singers (particularly Tenors and Bases) to be part of our Studio Recording Session Event and photo/Video shoot.
Participants will receive a day in a world-class studio, recording 3 original tunes and recieve two physical copies of the EP with your name on the credits, which will be released worldwide.
This informally auditioned opportunity is open to 2018 members and it’s not too late to get on board with our launch dates this year: Jan 29 (Carlton) and FEB 1st (Macleod). Just click on the button below to reserve your spot at the studio recording.
Hope to see you at one of our kick-off sessions in Macleod or Carlton!
The Greatest Showman starring Australia's own Acadamy Award winner Hugh Jackman is a spectacular original musical that celebrates the birth of show bizz. MCCHOIR resonates with the sense of wonder when dreams come to life and our focus on creating a space where singers can realise their creative potential is at the center of everything we do. Our weekly sessions, powerful performances and studio recording experiences help to release the artist that is within each of us.
Jared Haschek and I have been working on an original tune called "The Artist in Me" and picks up on the underlying themes of performance in the movie the greatest showman. The lyric we have penned for this Chorus of this song is so powerful.
"The artist in me will
Create a sound
As we join here in song
Hear our voices unite
We are one,
We are safe and alive
The artist in me."
The chorus speaks of the priority we place on group performance over the individual contributions of any one member. What we can create as a group goes far beyond anything that any one person could achieve on their own. This collaborative approach to singing has seen MCCHOIRs reputation and commercial appeal explode.
At MCCHOIR over the Christmas break we have been overwhelmed with the response to our invitation to check out the choir for a first free tryout session and maybe get involved with our next studio recording, so you won't be alone if you register this year. A lot of the singers that have expressed an interest are people who have had some sort of musical experience, they have sung in a choir at school or they have learned an instrument or sung in a band. They tell us that they are ready to reignite that passion for music and reintroduce song back into their life.
“The Greatest Showman” tells the story of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a mesmerizing spectacle that became a worldwide sensation." MCCHOIR shares a similar humble beginning with a group of people who share a love of song joining together to create some very memorable moments both in a live setting and in the studio.
Just this week, I have been in the studio working with the incredibly talented Rod Davies who works with names like John Farnham, Olivia Newton John and Delta Goodrum. It was such a privilege to produce an original track "Others" that Rod features in with Jared Haschek. Rods command of the studio space, creative edge and ability to deliver take after take of absolute gold was amazing. In the early part of this year the choir will be hitting the studio to lay down the vocals for this and other original tunes written just for the choir. We are planning an EP launch latter in the year and are really excited about releasing more of our original songs to the market.
MCCHOIR may not be a world wide sensation just yet but we are very excited about our 2018 repertoire which is fresh contemporary and a mixture of the types of songs we love singing. One of those songs which is gaining a lot of traction is from the movie #greatestshowman called "This is Me". The choir will learn this pop anthem at our kick-off on MON JAN 29 (Carlton) and THU FEB 1 (Macleod). The great part about the choir is that the music is very accessible, so every day Aussies can pick up the melodies and sing with confidence within the ensemble. We provide our members with guide vocals of every part right from the get go so that singers have everything they need at their fingertips to be the best version of themselves they can be.
The movie is truley spectacular and I'd encourage you to check it out if you haven't already done so. And if you want to discover the performer inside you - get along to one of our MCCHOIR sessions this year an release your full creative potential.
Creative Director MCCHOIR
The MCCHOIR Empire is about to break new ground on our Carlton campus in 2018 which will give busy people who work in and around the city an opportunity to release their creative potential. The new Campus will rehearse at the Kathleen Syme library and Community Centre in Carlton on a Monday night at the earlier time of 6.45PM.
A $15.5 million restoration has transformed the 1870s Kathleen Syme building in into the area’s newest creative, learning and community space. The building is home to some great community activity spaces, Wild Timor Cafe and also equiped with its own recording studio. Behind the stunning Victorian-era facade is a modern welcoming and accessible centre where the choir will be able to connect, learn and create.
Each Monday night during school terms session will run at the earlier time of 6.30PM to catch the after work crowd - 251 Faraday Street, Carlton. Located a short walk from Melbourne University/ Swanston Street tram stop (routes 1, 3, 4, 5, 16 and 72) and the Rathdowne Street/ Elgin Street bus stop (routes 200 and 207) and with ample free off-street parking around, there a plenty of options for getting to our rehearsal venue.
The MCCHOIR Empire will work like a gym membership where membership at one Campus will give you access to all campus rehearsals. You may have a home base where you attend most of your rehearsals but because the same program will be repeated each week at the different Campuses - if you miss a week you can attend at the other location - if you’re really keen and need a bit extra love you can go to both rehearsal all for the same price as a single session.
Members of the new Carlton Campus will also have the opportunity to join the Macleod Campus and MCYOUTH to be involved in our 2018 Studio Recording Sessions. We will be tracking at the beautifully appointed state of the art Oaklands Productions Studio A. This is the main tracking space and is purpose designed for recording large ensembles. The kitchen and lounge areas will make for a fun and relaxing experience and produce a product that is world-class. The studio also has a permanent video lighting set-up, a boom crane jib and green screen for video compositing. This will be great for our music video planned.
The Recording Project is already underway with backing tracks for three original tunes now ready to go. On two of the tunes “Friends" and "Others" we have 24 piece string section. Already the tracks are sounding amazing and we have guest artist Rod Davies coming into the studio shortly who will feature on one of the songs.
At MCCHOIR we’re all about re-connecting people with their Creative Best - in fact MCCHOIR members tell us that they leave rehearsal and events on a "musical high”. All those tired, worn out after work feelings, are soon replaced with fun times and a sense of achievement when we create musical experiences together that are influencing audiences across Melbourne and now around the globe. With all of these great options - MON 6.30PM in Carlton from 2018, THUR 7.30PM in Macleod and THUR 6.30PM for teenagers interested in MCYOUTH, there’s never been a better time to claim your first free try-out session with MCC and check out the choir behind the scenes. We’re so sure that you’ll just love it, meeting new friendly people who will actually talk to you and involve you in their conversation. People who share a passion for singing and have formed such a great bond. From day one we have always welcomed new members at any time throughout the year and I think this is key to the culture we have nurtured. There are no exclusive groups - you’ll find a place to belong and people that genuinely care about you as a person outside of rehearsal time. If you want to know more about what to expect at a first session with MCCHOIR check out our frequently asked question page.
Just this week some of our members participated in the MCG Boxing Day Cricket match as part of the Barbie Army, a collaboration between sporting satirist Denis Carnahan, Mastercard and Cricket Australia. It was heaps of fun joining with competition winners, cheering on the Australian Cricketers. This is just one of the many opportunities open to our members. Free tickets to the Cricket on both days, Prepaid Mastercard vouchers for food and fun times - what more could you ask for?
As a member of MCCHOIR there are many benefits apart from the social and emotional benefits that group singing brings. Our singers do not need to auditions, at your first rehearsal you’ll be buddied up with someone who sings your part and if your not sure what part you should sing we’ll help you there too. You’ll get access to our members only Facebook page to keep up with all the latest internal happenings of the choir and keep you informed as to what’s coming up. You’ll also be given access to the members only resource page - this is a brilliant resource for members to help them learn songs at home before rehearsal and to lock in songs to their memory as they become part of the repertoire of the choir. Each part is individually highlighted so you can listen and follow along with the music or lyric sheets to learn the songs. Most of our music is split into three or four parts and printed music generally has your part on one line and works from the start of the music to the end with no jumping back and forth through the music. You’ll also be able to hear the backing tracks with no vocals and the mix of all the parts so you can practice singing your part in the context of other parts. Then there’s the studio sessions of original tunes, music video production, live events like Run Melbourne, MCG Cricket Event and Manningham Carols by Candlelight. We also have one or two performances that we put on as a choir which are always sold-out, high energy, electrifying experiences for the choir and audience alike.
Our last recording project "Time 2 Shine" has already picked up a lot of interest from other choirs who want to perform our original music. Our original tunes are fresh, contemporary, uplifting and have a real story that people can relate to. The arrangements are beautifully constructed by Jared Haschek who is a founding collaborator with the choir and musical director at our live events. He has also orchestrated all of the musical charts including string and horn section which will all be available on this new project for other contemporary choirs. We are also going to make available the individual stems and loops for the backing tracks so that you can get the same vibe as the album when your choir or ensemble performs the songs and drop out the individual tracks where you have a live player. For example a choir with an accompanist can play along with the studio track minus the piano part for a live feel but with the atmosphere of a live recording.
MCCHOIR is truly Melbourne’s Choir of Choice. Maybe you’ve sung in a choir before at school or done back up vocals in a band and found that life got in the way of your creative side. I see this all the time - people have kids, careers and the business of life squeezes out their creative selves. For me personally - singing and creating music is intrinsically who I am and brings me such joy - I would never substitute it for anything. It’s always been my philosophy that a musical outlet, reduces stress, gets the feel-good hormones pumping and means that I function better as a person. That small investment of time in me, means that I function better the rest of the time. A stressed out tense Jason is of no use to anyone, but give me some music in my week and I’m a happy camper. My mum loves to tell the story of how much pleasure it bought her to hear me playing the family piano in the morning before school. I have always and will always love music, as a listener, audience member, performer or part of MCCHOIR - I decided a long time ago that it’s too important for me as a person to loose.
If you're ready to give yourself some time to nurture your creative best contact us at MCCHOIR for a free tryout session at our Macleod or Carlton campus and see what a difference music can make to your week.
Melbourne Contemporary Choir
MCCHOIR may be in recess for the Spring School Holidays but it's all systems go on the back of our very successful live concert to a packed audience - it was a spectacular show featuring some great music. Some of our guests made a point of mentioning that our soloists from the choir were exceptional and without sounding biased, I think our soloists this year really raised the bar in terms of musical performance and their stage presence.
The show was recorded in multitrack digital and is now in the hands of producer Jared Haschek and Mix Engineer Phil Threlfall from the Base Recording Studio, South Melbourne - to mix down our first ever live album of popular songs and original tunes entitled "Watch me Fly". You're just going to be thrilled to re-live all the magic of that electrifying event including three original songs. One showstopper was the inspired new song by Jared, Jason and Melody entitled "Others" featuring the ridiculously talented Rod Davies.
The Base Recording Studios, Melbourne, Australia
Look out for the album expected to be released later this year in time for Christmas featuring songs made popular by artists like Justin Timberlake, Michael Jackson, FRANCES, Cold Play and Survivor to name a few.
Speaking of Christmas, MCCHOIR is delighted to be invited back by the City of Manningham to perform at the annual Carols by Candelight again this year at Ruffey Park Friday Dec 15, 6-10PM. Last year was an amazing experience - performing in front of 10,000 carolers. This year is set to be bigger and better with new repertoire as well as some old favourites. It was a joy working with Musical Director Michael Thompson and the band last year and the choir is really looking forward to seeing the year out with a bang (literally - the fireworks are amazing).
MCCHOIR will celebrate the festive season at Manningham Carols by Candlelight with traditional carols and musical entertainment for the whole family. You can enjoy this family festival with free children’s activities, stage entertainment with a special visit from Santa and the grand finale fireworks display.
The MCC can offer you one better however - as you can experience all of the festive celebrations right on the stage as part of the MCCHRISTMASCHOIR!
Just click on the Elf Panda below to register your interest in joining the Christmas choir and join in all of the festive celebrations from this very unique viewpoint.
elf PANDA i want a first free mcchristmaschoir session
Jason or (Jase) as he likes to be called is Founder & Creative Director of Melbourne Contemporary Choir (MCCHOIR) and is a passionate musician who wants to bring his love for music to a broader audience.
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