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Sing when you’re winning

Date: May 25, 2018
Author: RAMHP Senior Project Officer - Victoria Smyth

My mum has always said that I was singing before I was talking.

Music has always played a huge part in my life, and having been involved with choirs since I was young, I am well aware of the immense joy that you get when a large group of people come together to sing.

Getting together and singing with friends is not a new concept; from Sunday morning hymns to massive stadiums of soccer fans, singing in groups has a unique way of bonding and bringing people together. Over the past year in Australia we have seen Pub Choirs popping up all around the country, with Pub Choir, Brisbane leading the way following on from movements in Canada like Choir! Choir! Choir! that have been running for a number of years.

Vic Smyth leading Pub Choir in Orange

I first heard about the pub choir movement in August 2017, and felt that this was something that we could bring to our community. Music in Orange, NSW has experienced a resurgence over the past few years with regular Open Mic nights, and high quality live music and entertainment being available most nights of the week.

So, together with a group of friends, we launched “The Metrognomes”; Orange’s first pub choir, on 19 March 2017. The turnout was fantastic, with around 70 people coming out on our first Monday night to get together and sing songs.

We try to keep the atmosphere relaxed, so that it is like getting together with a group of friends in your front room when your favourite song comes on. You don’t need to be a good singer to get involved, and no one is singled out. Think group karaoke!

The feedback has been great too…

The best way to sum up Pub Choir is that it is just a great way to feel better about the world”

“It was relaxed and fun… what’s a better stress reliever than having a couple drinks and singing your heart out?”

“Seriously people, you need to come to this… what a fantastic night!”

“Was an awesome night watching and listening from the kitchen while working. Can’t wait for more nights where me and my kitchen team can have a sing while cooking”.

It is easy to find news articles and research that outline the positive impacts of group singing, from the benefits of exercising your brain through learning, your posture and breathing through singing, the endorphin release you get through participating with others, and being able to build new friendships.

Running Orange Pub Choir isn’t something we get paid for, we all volunteer. We each volunteer probably about eight hours a fortnight; meeting up to choose songs and making playlists, learning the songs, putting  slides together, and turning up on the night to run it.

Why do we do it? It’s easy – for the love of it!

I get such a sense of happiness to see so many people turn up each fortnight, coming in maybe after a stressful day, and seeing each one leave with a smile on their face. The chats, the laughter, the friendships and the singing make every hour spent worthwhile.

To listen to the Pub Choir in action below.

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