It’s very difficult to convey to people the joy of group singing and the huge buzz that you feel after a session singing together. Last week it was my pleasure to lead a team building exercise for my company’s retreat at Torquay, which involved a group singing activity pulling together 100 voices of untrained singers to perform our version of the hit song “Roar” by Katy Perry.
Needless to say when the activity was first announced there were several groans and moans from participants but that all changed when they entered the rehearsal space. I started by reminding them that one of our company’s values is “Superior Performance” and that was exactly what I expected from them!
The session started with some simple breathing exercises to relax the group and get them focused on their posture and breathing technique. This was followed by some humming warm-ups and a vowel exercises to get the group warmed up and singing on pitch and matching the tone and volume of those around them.
Amidst the humor and lots of laughs the group was quickly into learning their parts for “Roar” with comments like – I didn’t realize how important the conductor was in a choir – I thought they just stood out the front and flapped their arms. But when I got lost and looked up, I could tell exactly where we were up to.
Well the buzz in the room after the session was electric, everyone without exception left the session on a high with comments like “that was the best team building exercise we have ever done at one of these retreats” and “That was amazing Jason, I don’t know how you got a group of people who have never sung before to come together like that”.
Well that wasn’t the end of the event either, some of the group went off into a separate room and formed a band and rehearsed the musical backing for the song. In the evening the band and choir joined together to record the song live and capture the whole thing on video. With choir risers, colorful banners, lighting and sound engineer the group looked and sounded amazing. The song featured a soloist, Jessica Petracca who also sings with Melbourne Contemporary Choir during the week.
This little exercise just confirmed to me the importance of community singing and what a vital part of our social structure it has played in the past and continues to play. Even if your choir isn’t the best sounding choir around, the social aspects of a choir should not be underestimated. There is a real resurgence in community singing in Australia as people rediscover this vital part of our communities fabric. I would encourage you to find a great choir that you like and give community singing a go – I’m sure you will love it!
Melbourne Contemporary Choir
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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