New group seeks perfect harmony

By David Schout

Ever wanted to sing in a group, but never plucked up the courage? Do you shyly save your serenading for the car or shower?

Then the newly-formed Flinders Lane Community Choir, an inclusive, no-experience-needed group, might just be for you.

Meeting at Ross House during workday lunchtimes, the new initiative will welcome everyone from city dwellers, workers or those simply keen on loosening their vocal chords with other music-lovers. 

Project manager Sarah Mandie said the new Community Music Victoria (CMVic) initiative was all about no-barriers participation.

“We’re really hoping to get a diverse range of people,” she said.

“The hope is to get that mix so people can support each other in singing, and just in having fun really.”

While music is the glue that will bind the new group together, Ms Mandie hopes the choir’s remit will extend beyond the melodies.

“We want to do something that’s stress relieving and fun, but that also connects people.”

Ms Mandie, a singer-songwriter and voice teacher, said the group would focus on accessible, relatable music for all participants.

This was one of many ways the group was trying to break down barriers to involvement. 

“I think it’s also a communication thing and the concept that the leader’s not above the group. Even calling it a choir might appear a bit daunting … but we just want to make it welcoming.”

There was one final requirement, too. 

“Oh and food. Any group that meets needs food to bring everything together,” she said with a smile.

Having led various singing groups before, Ms Mandie said a community choir’s “model” relied on members contributing in various ways.

This could be a collaborative effort where one member may volunteer to take care of communications and where another with available means might take care of photocopying.

“It’s really good to establish a network of people who have different roles. The hope is that it becomes sustainable.”

Flinders Lane Community Choir is a free initiative funded by the City of Melbourne.

It is just one of several projects facilitated by CMVic, a not-for-profit, membership-based association that promotes music making among Victorian communities.

The group is based at Ross House on Flinders Lane, home to a diverse range of not-for-profit community groups.

After taster sessions in March, CMVic plans to announce the choir’s launch in the coming months.

For more info, contact Community Music Victoria on 9662 1162 or visit cmvic.org.au

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