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The joy of singing

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The Kapiti Chorale conducted by Music Director Eric Sidoti, with soprano Imogen Thirlwall, mezzo Elizabeth Harris and bass Joseph Hadlow.

by Norma McCallum
Come on – you know you do it. Why not take your singing in the shower to the public and join a choir? With over 30 choirs in the Wellington region and over 20,000 choristers in New Zealand, there must be a place for you somewhere.

Don’t want to audition? Well, worry not. There are non-auditioned choirs where, especially if you are tenor or bass and can hold any sort of note, you will be welcomed.

Need to learn to read music? It’s not that hard – the little marks on the page go up and down, the black ones are shorter than the other ones. If there is a space then don’t sing. Simple….

Make a mistake? Your neighbour will nudge you gently. Help is out there.

Can’t imagine doing the whole ‘Messiah’ thing (and you must have had a go at the ‘Hallelujah’ chorus at some stage)? Well, you can sing Barbershop (great uniforms), Gospel (you get to move around a lot) – anything which takes your fancy musically.

I belong to the Kapiti Chorale, an 80 voice un-auditioned choir, which does everything from Handel to Gershwin and of course the Christmas specials. Our challenge this November is singing with the wonderful Kapiti Brass band. We’re a bit worried about our very quiet bits and have had words with the trumpeters not to get too rowdy. We think it will work. Our music director throws us these challenges from time to time. We’ve never let him down.

(And remember when you join a choir it’s no good complaining about what you have to sing – just breathe and get on with it.)

A few tips. Sopranos: you will be welcomed as an alto when your top C days are over. Just don’t keep saying ‘I used to be a soprano’. Tenors: barring actual bodily harm to the Director, you will NEVER be asked to leave.

Singing is good for your health, no doubt about it – especially on a windy wet winter’s night. Someone once said we are all just walking up the mountain and we can sing as we climb or complain about our sore feet. Join us on the mountain walk; you’ll love it.

(Kapiti Chorale and Kapiti Brass will be joining forces in a glorious Christmas special at St. Paul’s Church, Paraparaumu at 7.30p.m. on Friday 24 November and 3p.m. Sunday 26 November. Email: tickets@kapitichorale.org.nz )

(The Wellington Community Choir has three more events scheduled for this year.)

Norma McCallum has been an alto with the Kapiti Chorale for 25 years. Altos are, in her view, the backbone of any choir – though they rarely get the tune…

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