Imagine sitting, enjoying food drinks and singing some cool songs with a bunch of like-minded people! Well, now you can! The Armidale Pub Choir has found a new home at the New England Hotel and FOCUS chats with Brendan and EJ all about it.
What is the Armidale Pub Choir?
The Armidale Pub Choir is a fully inclusive, no experience needed, no commitment required, community music making event … at a pub! What could go wrong!
The basic idea: Pub Choir convenes a couple of times each month to construct large-scale public pop-song performances. It is like a flash mob, live concert and slightly inebriated social experiment mashed up together, blurring the line between audience and performers.
How did the A-Club Choir begin?
The pub choir concept seems to be a bit of a global phenomenon at the moment. All over the world people are turning up to licensed venues to have a bit of a warble with their mates. This particular choir was initially the brain child of Armidale Club managers, Al and Kate. Al was looking for a choir director and thanks to the healthy Armidale muso network, Emily and Al were linked up! Not long afterwards, we witnessed the birth of this beautiful musical baby!
Initially, the choir was directed solely by Emily and accompanied by Louise Nano on piano and crank humour. Brendan’s musical boffin brain and effortless talent saw him come aboard as musical co-director of the project last year. A union to behold!
What sort of songs do you sing?
We like to keep it real, fresh, cutting edge… so anything from the ‘80s really. Seriously though, we take on the classic pop songs that have inspired and shaped our lives. Our repertoire includes songs like Cyndi Lauper’s True Colours, Queen’s Crazy Little Thing Called Love, Prince’s When Doves Cry; we even had a red hot go at Toto’s Africa – legend.
Who can do it?
Anyone and EVERYONE! Anyone who likes to crack out their favourite guilty pleasure ‘80s tune on the way to work. Anyone who belts it out like Beyoncé at a stadium gig. Anyone who secretly dreams of musical stardom but feels life might be holding them back. This choir is for all experience levels – from shower singers to full-time divas. Under 18s accompanied by responsible adults are also welcome. The only real prerequisite is being a lover of good times!
People have told me I don’t have a good singing voice … should I come along?
You know, I hear that almost every time someone asks about singing in a choir. I’ve been teaching choirs for fortyleven hundred years, and I’ve only ever encountered one person in all that time who really couldn’t stay on track. So that’s only one out of 739 people … that’s some seriously good odds!
You should come along if you think you might enjoy singing. Obviously, not everyone is a Stevie Wonder or Christina Aguilera waiting to be discovered, but almost everyone can sing in a choir – trust me. I know. I’m a choir mistress.
Do you do dedicated performances, or is it all in the name of fun?
Fun, fun, and only ever fun! What else is there? We’re definitely a no stress, no performance anxiety kind of deal. It’s about recharging by spending some time with like-minded mates, good pub fare, good humour, and a good old group sing! Like choir karaoke with companions and cocktails.
What can one expect on an average evening?
Rock up to the Newie Brasserie backroom before 7pm; grab a couple of bevies, a light meal if you’re so inclined, catch up with some fellow warblers. By around 7 you might have collected a lyric sheet, got comfy and be led in some warm-up shenanigans by your choir mistress, Emily Jane.
You will join a group of highs, mids, or lows; we’ll teach the group the song and by the end of the night, I think you’ll find that you have nailed three-part harmony singing for a pop song or two – all while enjoying a few quiet bevies and a laugh.
How can the community get involved?
It’s as simple as turning up at the fabulous Pub Choir venue – The New England Hotel! No booking, no planning, no commitment necessary. We meet on the first and third Thursday of each month at 7pm and roll for about one and half hours.
You can also join our Facebook group to keep up to date on all things Armidale Pub Choir: www.facebook.com/groups/armidalepubchoir/
Hosted by the top-notch Newie, the Armidale Pub Choir is on like Donkey Kong! You just have to rock up, grab a drink, and we’ll get singing before you can say “Come on Eileen”!