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Redlands Sings with Jonathon Welch

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by Gillian Ching (subscribe)
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Sing out loud with your community
Join together in voice as Australian choral conductor, opera singer and voice teacher, Jonathon Welch, leads a community massed singing experience at Redlands Sings from August 2022.

Jonathon's name may be familiar, particularly since the 2006 ABC documentary, Choir of Hard Knocks for people experiencing homelessness and disadvantage.

Redlands Sings is a free event and will be held at the Redland s Performing Arts Centre (RPAC) Concert Hall from 6 pm to 7 pm one night a month from August to November.

What do think is the exceptional power of a massed singing experience?

There is something so wonderful and almost primal about hearing a group of humans sharing their voices together at the same time, whether that's singing in unison or creating harmonies.

Our voices are the very first 'instrument' to have been created, other than banging some rocks or sticks together, and it brings us back to the core of our being I think.

Singing as a group can be transformative. When have you seen this at its most significant?

There are not many times in life that we get to share our voices together at the same time that also allow us to be 'in the moment' and forget everything else that has happened in the past or might happen in the future.

I've seen many people who never show or share their emotions, really open up when singing with others, and there's lots of research to prove why now.

The hormones that are released when we sing make us feel happy (Serotonin) and help us to connect and bond (Oxytocin) with each other, and of course, music connects us automatically to the right/dominant hemisphere of the brain where our emotions are. Pretty cool, hey!

What are some of the songs that members of the Redlands community will have the chance to sing?

Now, you're just going to have to come along and find out! We will be doing fun popular songs that you will all know - I promise I won't inflict any opera or classical music on you - this time lol! But I guarantee you will have fun and there will be lots of laughter as well.

Some people will say "I can't sing" What would you say to them as a singer and conductor?

My philosophy has always been simply - if you can speak - you can sing!

Of course, there are times when people have medical issues with their voice or hearing, but learning to sing is just like learning to walk.

You start with one step, or note, then try another and another - and voila! It takes practice and determination though to improve, just like any other physical activity. So you have to be patient with yourself and give yourself time to learn how to coordinate everything. It's like learning how to drive a car - but safer lol!

But every voice is unique, like your fingerprints, and not every voice is built the same. Some can sing high, some low, some are born to sing pop and some others, opera. That's the great thing about our voice and finding confidence in it as well, that can help us in other aspects of our lives.

What impact do you hope the Redlands community will take from Redland Sings?

I'm really hoping that people of all ages and backgrounds will come, regardless of whether they've sung before or not.

We will be creating a new 'musical village' in the Redlands, where people feel they can leave their worries at the theatre door and enjoy themselves in a very safe and respectful environment. We also have some other exciting singing projects in the pipeline for 2023 that will help us to stay connected and having even more fun!

Doors at 5pm. If you are keen to find or bring your voice, then get involved. Registrations is now open for the events on:

  • Wednesday 24 August, 6pm

  • Thursday 15 September, 6pm (registrations open 24 Aug)

  • Wednesday 5 October, 6pm (registrations open 15 Sep)

  • Wednesday 23 November, 6pm (registrations open 5 Oct)

    Duration: 1hr, no interval (subject to change)

    So be a part of something special as Redland Sings.
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    Why? Find your voice and share it with others
    When: 6pm
    Where: Redlands Performing Arts Centre
    Cost: Free
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