There is now a veritable swathe of research on how moods and emotions can be positively influenced by group singing – we actually catch positive emotions off others in our immediate circles. In other words, community-based singing is really good for you, physically, emotionally and spiritually – it’s part of a holistic approach to wellbeing.
In Australian culture, singing publicly is a foreign concept – we feel vulnerable and exposed when we put ourselves out of our comfort zone. But the only way to overcome that fear – and that’s what it is, fear – is to face it head on. Fortunately there are many community based singing groups that are springing up all over Melbourne. I recently heard about another group Melbourne Indie Voices who are doing a brilliant job of connecting a new generation with their musical heritage and seeing tremendous growth.
In my day job, I’m a research scientist, which involves a lot of public presentations to varied audiences. If you ask most people their number one fear – it would have to be public speaking. Ever been in a workshop or a room of strangers and been asked to introduce yourself and tell the crowd something about yourself? We’ve all been there, the heart starts racing, the cold sweats start and the words just can’t seem to form in your mouth. In performance we call this ‘stage fright’. But every actor, musician and singer have to deal with this at some point and overcome that adrenaline rush.
Personally I’ve found that stretching myself to perform publicly, whether that be leading a church congregation in singing, performing a solo at a concert or conducting Melbourne Contemporary Choir (MCCHOIR). Right from a young age I was trained in a youth choir to perform in front of crowds of strangers, so it doesn’t seem quite so daunting getting up in front of my colleagues to present a research finding as part of my job. I recently returned to study to do a Master of Teaching at Melbourne Uni and again I found that getting up in front of a group of students is another place I have to ‘perform’. I can’t tell you the difference it makes in public presentation to have this sort of experience behind you. It gets to the point where you can switch on the ‘performance’ button when you need it. Not that its contrived or disingenuous, conversely, having that ‘performance mentality’ means your audience are relaxed and have a level of trust in your confidence and authority. I often get tremendous feedback after a presentation and often people a quite surprised to hear me speak – I can thank my music and singing background for that confidence which comes quite unnaturally to me.
At MCCHOIR we are developing our singers to build confidence through performance. Some have even taken the brave step of preparing and performing a solo with the choir. Most however, are enjoying ‘safety in numbers’ and creating music together which is enjoyable not only for themselves but for their audiences. Right at the moment we are busy preparing songs by artists like Adele, Beyonce, Katy Perry, Sam Smith and Phil Collins – all amazing arrangements which ignite a real joy and expressiveness that only comes through a shared musical experience like group singing. At our last sold-out concert the show really cemented our relationships as a group. The fact that we faced this challenge together meant that no one felt intimidated and our audience responded accordingly. We had exploding confetti cannons and giant balloons bouncing around the crowd during one song, which became a powerful moment for us as a choir to know that we had genuinely entertained our audience - young and old alike.
MCCHOIR is pretty unique in the North of Melbourne in that we have a current repertoire of popular songs that most people will know. Radio tunes and classic rock anthems that everyone loves to sing along with. In our upcoming Concert Event and EP launch “TIME TO SHINE” we have a few surprises up our sleeve to wow our audience. This is the perfect opportunity to check out this amazing group of performers for yourself, who knows, one day you might even be performing with us on stage. At MCCHOIR we have an ‘open door’ philosophy, all our rehearsals are open for new prospective members to engage with the group and check it out. Your first rehearsal is free and obligation free – so it’s a fantastic opportunity to bring a friend along and experience the ‘group singing vibe’ together.
If you haven’t got your tickets to the #TIMETOSHINE concert you’ll want to get onto that pretty quickly as tickets are selling fast. With a live band backing us up and guest soloist Melody Crystal – a seasoned performer herself, you’ll not be disappointed. Just visit the Events & Tickets page on our website to secure your seats today.
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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