Free singing lessons for Macksville and Kempsey

Choir leader Ruth Nolan conducts a Yarrapinni Community Choir performance at the Uniting Church in Macksville.

FREE weekly choir classes in Macksville and Kempsey are available now, and a large number of tickets for individual workshops and full scholarships for a three-day singing festival at Grassy Head are set to be released soon, thanks to a Covid-19 Community Connection and Wellbeing Program grant from Resilience NSW.

The choir classes, designed to be fun and inspiring for beginners and experienced singers alike, take place during school terms from 6pm to 8pm on Tuesdays in Macksville and Thursdays in Kempsey.

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Both choirs focus on acapella world music, covering everything from African freedom songs and chants to mediaeval French, gospel and gypsy pieces, with the occasional sea shanty, country tune and old English drinking song thrown in.

There is no need for new members to audition or be able to read music, and there are optional performance opportunities available for active choir members.

Choir sessions are usually $20 per adult, with teens and supervised children invited to join for free, but will be free to all newcomers and returning members until December 6.

The three-day Power of Song Festival is set to take place at the Yarrahapinni Adventist Youth Centre in Grassy Head from October 21 to 23, with live performances and singing workshops from acclaimed artists and teachers such as Parissa Bouas and Kirsten Mackenzie.

Details about additional teachers, workshops, tickets and scholarships, which will include food and accommodation, will be released soon.

Choir leader and festival organiser Ruth Nolan applied for the Resilience NSW grant to help bring the community together, provide opportunities for everyone to enjoy the benefits of singing and ensure the survival of the choirs, which have been running for 28 years, but have seen a drop off in members as a result of Covid disruptions.

“This is for the whole community – we want to make this as accessible and inclusive as possible,” she said, noting that choir members have ranged in age from seven to 88.

“Singing together is a great way to form new friendships or strengthen existing relationships. Studies have shown it’s uplifting and energising, and very good for mental and physical health.”

For more information and to book a free choir session or to find out more about the Power of Song Festival, phone Ruth Nolan on 0431 868 149 or email [email protected]

Free choir sessions can also be booked via eventbrite.

By Brooke LEWIS

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