Wednesday 4 March 2015 – We are very excited to announce that dustyesky, the local Russian male choir, will be performing at the Song Dynasty Music launch. This choir started last year, and performed to rave reviews at the Mullum Music Festival. We are thrilled that they have agreed to join us, and will be a great inspiration, especially for our boy singers.
Tuesday 3 March 2015 – We’re excited to be preparing for the Song Dynasty Music Launch on 29 March here in Mullumbimby – the musical capital of Australia!!
The launch gives us a chance to say hello to the community – and show some of our work, and the work of some other wonderful musicians here in and around Mullumbimby. We are also very happy to be supporting the work of the Mullumbimby Neighbourhood Centre, who do so much to support the community in so many ways. They have been very supportive of the Mullumbimby Midnight Choir, which rehearses every Tuesday morning at the Neighbourhood Centre. people wander in for a coffee or a feed, and sit and listen to us rehearsing – and sometimes they find themselves joining in. It
s a great community feeling.
We are also thrilled to announce the involvement of the Ukuladies – a 7 piece ukulele orchestra based in Mullum – as well as the gorgeous Emilie Lemasson who will sing a couple of opera favourites, with Elizabeth on the piano.
See you there!!!
Wednesday 18 February 2015 – We now have 5 of our choirs up and running – Mullum Midnight Choir, Gold Coast Choir, as well as three kids choirs. Word of mouth is doing it’s magic, as people are starting to talk about our work. Liz has been accompanying the gorgeous Emilie Lemasson, a new singer in town who will be working with Song Dynasty Music in term 2, running kids choirs and Byron and MamaSings! choirs for mums, dads and babies.
We are having a launch concert for Song Dynasty Music on Sunday 29 March at 4pm, at st martin’s Church Hall in Stuart Street, Mullumbimby. All our choirs will be singing, as well as the Ukuladies and other special guests, followed by champagne!
Here are a few photos of the new choirs rehearsing.
Friday 23 January 2015 – Things are cranking up for Song Dynasty Music. We have started publicising our new choirs – this term we are starting community choirs in Mullumbimby and on the Gold Coast as well as our Young Voices programme – girls choirs on Wednesdays and boys choirs on Thursdays.We have been excited and inspired by Michelle Leonard‘s work with Outback choirs, which she has been organising for several years. The ABC made a wonderful film about what she does and how she does it, motivating young singers who don’t normally get the chance to sing in a large group at a high level. We noticed particularly the way that Michelle works with boys and girls separately, and how well it works. Here is a small excerpt from the film.
We are also thrilled to be organising the Byron leg of the African Children’s Choir tour later this year. Janet worked with these kids in Uganda, visiting in 2013 and 2014 with kwaya.org, and Australian organisation led by Marsha Gusti. They will be based at the Cape Byron Steiner School from Saturday 8 June to Sunday 14 June and will be giving workshops in schools – at Byron Bay Public School and at St john’s Primary School in Mullumbimby – and then giving a public workshop and concert on Saturday 13 June. Watch this short video about the story of the African Children’s Choir in Uganda.
Tuesday 13 January 2015 – So we’ve been to the Kodaly Summer School for a couple of days, refreshing our musical skills and being inspired by some really great teachers – especially Dr Laszlo Nemes from the Kodaly Institute of the Liszt Academy in Budapest. What a wonderful choir leader and teacher, who had the whole choir in the palm of his hand with his charm, musicality and mostly his sense of the soul of the music and the group. We spoke to him briefly about music in schools and he emphasised the essential role of the development of the spirit in children through music. His work and his style seems to come from a place of great depth – in rehearsals with both the children’s choir and the adult’s choir he spoke softly and gently, with great humour but at the same time demanding the very best of all participants.
Janet also attended masterclasses with Janice Chapman, a master opera teacher who lives and works in London. She has worked with many singers of all levels and had some wonderful insights into technical faults and strengths of singers.
Another inspiring teacher and musician was Pete Churchill, a jazz singer and pianist who has written a lot of great repertoire for choirs. His style is one that I will use with my community choirs particularly – sitting or standing in a circle, no sheet music, learning each part by rote, memorising as we go. Here is one of his songs:
Wednesday 7 January 2015 – We hope everyone had a beautiful Christmas and New Year!
Liz and Janet have just had our first Song Dynasty Music meeting for 2015, and what an exciting year it is shaping up to be! We are both full of energy and ideas as we plan our new Song Dynasty Young Voices programme, as well as the Mullumbimby Midnight Choir (a local community choir hosted by Mullumbimby Neighbourhood Centre), the new Gold Coast Community Choir in Palm Beach.
Over the next two weeks we will be in Brisbane participating in the Summer School hosted by Sound Thinking Australia. We will be attending the children’s choir sessions, the classical singing master classes with Janice Chapman and the jazz choir sessions directed by the inspirational musician Pete Churchill , so we’ll be returning to Mullumbimby full of new ideas for warm ups and repertoire.
We have also begun preparations for the African Children’s Choir tour to the Northern Rivers, with great schools and public workshops and performances planned for June.
Have a look at our 2015 timetable – we hope to get lots of young people singing this year, and older people who have made ‘singing in a choir’ their new New Year’s Resolution!!!
Wednesday 19 November 2014 – Great workshop, 25 Gold Coasters came to sing for 2 hours in the beautiful Gecko Hall in Currumbin, including some people from Mosaica Choir and Gold Coast City Choir. It was a great opportunity to introduce myself and talk about my projects in 2015.
Science is now agreeing with what many singers already know. Singing in harmony in a group can play a vital role in contributing to our physical and mental health.
In addition to releasing oxytocin, a natural stress reliever found to alleviate feelings of depression and loneliness, singing in a group can boost your immune system as well as your confidence. Researchers at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, found that choristers’ heartbeats synchronise when they sing together, bringing about a calming effect that is as beneficial to our health as yoga. They showed that singing has a dramatic effect on heart rate variability, which is linked to a reduced risk of heart disease.
“Song is a form of regular, controlled breathing, since breathing out occurs on the song phrases and inhaling takes place between these,” says Dr Björn Vickhoff, who led the study. “It gives you pretty much the same effect as yoga breathing. It helps you relax, and there are indications that it does provide a heart benefit.”
Janet Swain has long believed in the healing power of song both for listeners and singers. She began her musical career twenty-five years ago and has led both professional and community choirs all over the world. Her philanthropic endeavours include travelling to Uganda with Kwaya Australia where she led a group of 30 Australian singers to sing and perform for Ugandan VIPs with children from the African Children’s Choir.
Janet is passionate about the mental health of girls and women and has witnessed the positive effect music can have on their abilities to cope with day-to-day life. She has recently relocated to Australia from Singapore where she founded and directed the renowned Janet Swain children’s and women’s choirs.
Her first two projects on the Gold Coast are a day-time and an evening community choir as well as a pioneering girl’s choir for ages twelve to twenty years. “I believe that teenage girls need a safe outlet where they can express their joy, worries or angst in a supportive environment. Singing songs with themes and lyrics to which the girls can relate is an essential component for achieving this successfully,” says Janet.
Janet is holding a short workshop on Saturday 15th November at Gecko House in Currumbin from 2 to 4pm for those who wish to meet her and learn more about her upcoming choirs. The workshop will provide the opportunity to learn some simple harmonies and songs, as well as some fun vocal exercises and rhythm games.
Meet and sing with Janet on Saturday 15 November, 2pm to 4pm.
The cost is $20.
Registration is essential. email firstname.lastname@example.org, or ph 0438 965397