Everybody can sing

Stonefields & Howick Choir members supporting first-time performance members. (From left) Co-founder of The Choir and membership director Melonie Roberts , Bobbie-Jo Moss Howick member, Andy Bolt Stonefields member, Karina Sue Stonefields member, Dawn Elliott Howick member, Kate Bell co-founder and musical director, Sarah McNabb Howick Choir leader. Photo Matt Maingay.

The Choir in Howick, a local community initiative, is performing its first concert on Saturday, May 19.

What makes the choir so special is that it’s made up of local residents who can sing, or want to sing, but haven’t had the confidence to do so in the past.

Musical director Kate Bell believes everybody can sing.

“It’s like learning to drive, you just need to practice. Everyone can get a licence to sing, the singing part is easy, we actually spend most of our time helping people with their confidence and finding their voice, because we believe everyone has one,” she said.

Kate and her choir leaders from the other branches (Stonefields, Newmarket, Mt Eden and, coming soon, Hobsonville Point and Titirangi), help build members’ confidence through singing visualisation workshops to help prepare before a performance event.

Roberts, The Choir membership director, hears all the time about some of the transformation members go through, after joining. “One member nearly didn’t join, and sat outside the hall in his car, frozen with nerves. A year later, he has tenor potential,” said Melonie.

The Choir tries to make it as easy as possible for people to join in.

They have a no-auditions policy, and set list that works for everyone’s voice range.

The May 19 performance at All Saints Church in Howick includes songs from Coldplay, African songs, Maori Waiata, Finnish songs, gospel and even some 17th century tunes to round it all up.

Kate said members – there are 50 – of The Choir from Howick branch are feeling a bit nervous with their upcoming concert. For many of them it’s a first time performing in public. To ease their nerves, The Choir Stonefields members – all 100 of them – are joining in on May 19 to provide support to the new group and perform a few numbers as a mass choir.

“The Choir folk who join come from all walks of life, and ages and they tend to bond quickly,” said Kate.

“They enjoy the sense of community and confidence they build over time. Initially people think it’s only for good singers, they soon realise it’s a place for everybody to sing.”