I love to sing. It’s a relatively new found passion, but I’ve sung like no one was listening all my life; in the car, in the shower, in the garden, at the supermarket or mall to accompany the piped music… I’ve just stepped it up a notch or two in the last couple of years, by getting involved in the lively and thriving Christchurch singing and music scene.
When I joined my first group singing class aimed at people who think they can’t sing, I wasn’t aware of all the great classes and groups that were out there. There are workshops, choirs and ensembles all over town and where ever I have gone, I have found everyone to be welcoming and supportive.
You can sing virtually anything from world music and gospel to waiata, show tunes, contemporary songs and barbershop. Whatever you fancy, there’s a group for you. If you are 5 or 105, you’ll find kindred spirits to sing with. You can also go to open mike nights at a variety of venues around town when you get braver, take individual lessons to improve or even join an organised rock band course.
“But I can’t sing”, I hear you say? After thinking I couldn’t either, I now believe everyone can sing. So many of us were told we couldn’t by parents, teachers or siblings and often build up a fear or a belief that we are terrible singers. While we all may not be able to be or indeed want to be a Te Kanawa or a Pavarotti, we can all enjoy singing. It’s wonderful to be in a large group where you can hide in the crowd while you practice and gain confidence.
You can choose to just sing casually at practice each week, or join groups that also perform at events and concerts around the town and even overseas.
I’m sure it’s good for my brain as I age, as I now retain dozens of songs in my head from the different groups and activities I do each week in a variety of languages and styles, and have learnt to sing harmonies.
I’ve found it to be a wonderful mood lifter. On my choir practice night, I sometimes force myself to go after a long work day because I know I will leave feeling happier and invigorated.
I’ve met a whole new group of wonderful people, and we get together socially as well as support each other’s solo efforts. You also find out about live music events, workshops run by internationally renowned musicians and singers and spend time with positive, happy people.
I’ve discovered new artists and songs when hunting for songs to work on and the library has a huge collection of music on CD to borrow, so you can search for songs you’d love to try and you can download your favourites on Freegal. Musical scores are available too for those who can read music, which, by the way, is not essential to be involved in singing.
The Christchurch City Library CINCH Community Information site has a wide range of choirs, singing teachers and classes listed, and the library catalogue has books to help you on your singing journey.
My journey has led to so much fun and laughter, while gaining skills and confidence and great new friends. I can’t recommend a good warble enough for you mental well being and sheer joy!