At last I have put all that we do in Song Dynasty Music into one place, on the brand spanking new Song Dynasty Music website! All the information you need to know about choirs, Big Sing, events and workshops plus a regular blog and vlog with loads of inspiring links and suggestions, the latest research into the power of singing and choirs, and lots more. So, to put this grand moment into the larger picture, I thought I’d write a quick overview of the history of SDM.
I started Song Dynasty Music about 30 years ago, when I lived in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney. I had done a year’s training in transpersonal Breathwork (a form of rebirthing) and I felt a strong urge to share my love of singing with others. The first community choir was called Crowd Around, a huge and rowdy experiment! I began offering singing, rhythm and sound workshops to my local community, and creating singing events in all kinds of interesting venues in and around Katoomba. I moved down to Sydney and started a few choirs – the BBC – Bondi Beach Choir – and Cantorian in North Sydney. I began to compose and arrange songs for choirs and small ensembles. I created Camp A Cappella – a singing retreat – and Vocal Chocolate – a project where soloists were invited to work with a small ensemble and perform at The Basement Jazz Club in Sydney. I also worked on several small and large scale community music projects with local councils and businesses.
Moving to Singapore in 2008, I started a women’s choir, Gorgeous, and a large kids choir – Asia Pacific Choir for Peace. I lived in Singapore and Kuwait for a total of six years.
I moved to the Byron Shire in 2014, and launched Song Dynasty Music. After five years of creating choirs, performing and getting to know my local community, I created the inaugural Festival of the Voice in Brunswick Heads – a beautiful seaside holiday town north of Byron Bay – a co production with Brunswick Picture House.
After years of creating and directing community choirs, and singing in classical ensembles (Coro Innominata), Belacappella) I have begun to work much more in vocal improvisation. I discovered the work of Bobby McFerrin and Rhiannon, and many other inspiring vocal teachers around the world. My current work is very much inspired by these people, and I have begun incorporating much more improv into my classes.
I really love teaching the Big Sing classes – in the moment, responding to the energy of a group, making things up together. It’s a tremendously exciting and energising way to work, and I am looking forward to developing Circle Song groups where improvising is at the core of what we do.
Through Circle Song I am reaching out to a wider world of vocal music teachers around Australia and across Europe and the US, where singing is deeply appreciated and popular, and where there is so much activity, many new ideas, and many deep connections across cultures and communities.
So I hope you will go check out the website – have a look around – listen to some songs, check out what we are doing in Song Dynasty Music!