One of my resolutions at the beginning of this year was to actively seek out more experiences that will feed my soul with inspiration and joy.
In order to create, one needs to fuel the creative well.
After my Christmas carol experience in December (Remembering Song), I joined a local community choir called, most appropriately, SoulSong. It’s an informal (and fluid) a cappella group of 20-40 singers, who meet once a week to simply celebrate the joy of singing. We sing gospel and folk and popular and blues and just about anything in between — so long as there are harmonies and we can make beautiful music.
It’s been very therapeutic for me this year, with everything else that’s been going on, and it’s made me a bunch of new friends as well.
This week we participated in Melbourne’s ‘Light in Winter’ festival at Federation Square by Singing up the Helix Tree. The Helix Tree is a temporary construct fitted with hundreds of LEDs and a sophisticated system of microphones and electronics that causes the LEDs to light up in response to the pitch and volume of the human voice. (See this news article from The Age.)
The tree is located in the centre of a major public square, surrounded by restaurants and bars; for about half an hour by arrangement, about 20 of us SoulSongsters stood around it and sang, making the lights bloom and change colour.
We attracted a small audience, and although I’m not sure the sound carried all that well (we weren’t amplified), the onlookers were certainly treated to a spectacular light display. Because it was a casual performance, and the visual focus was on the tree (it being dark besides), I didn’t feel as though we were on show at all. It was more an organic merging of voice and light and beauty and was really quite magical.
I’ve come to the realisation this year that the true joy I gain from singing is from singing with other people. It’s not about my voice — which is competent but not spectacular, although I have reasonable pitch.
It’s about the blend of voices, the harmonies, the sharing of the experience. Sometimes after our weekly session is finished, a few of us will just stand around and keep going, practising a few harmonies or simply not ready to stop…
The pleasure of community or group singing — and especially up the Helix Tree — is my inspiration of the week. Any other singers out there?