Voices on Fire choir members Anne McRitchie (left), Greg Barnes and Jenny James find a musical connection.
Voices on Fire choir members Anne McRitchie (left), Greg Barnes and Jenny James find a musical connection. Yvonne Gardiner

Natural voices help make up community choirs

SING high, sing low, sweet people.

Anyone wanting to sing with the Voices on Fire community choirs in Lismore and Ballina need not worry about auditions.

Choir conductor, internationally renowned musician Chris James, says a central tenet of the choir is that everyone has a natural voice.

"The voice with which we were born is naturally in tune, free-flowing and clear of emotional restrictions," Chris said.

"Only when our bodies are relaxed, will our natural voices flow.

"The choir is accompanied by a group of dedicated and highly accomplished musicians. This adds immensely to the fun and the amazing sound produced.

"Each week is an adventure and exploration into the use of voice.

"The result is nothing short of amazing. From a seemingly rag-tag group of individuals explodes music of range, power and warmth."

Anne McRitchie, aged in her 70s, says the choir is "a very joyful experience".

"It's true community.

"You have the whole choir supporting you," she said.

"You connect with everyone without trying to connect."

Singers of all ages are invited to join the choir, which currently has 60 to 70 members.

Choir member Jenny James has just launched her first CD, Shining On - for which she wrote all the songs.

"The tunes are light and easy and quite a few of them we do sing in the choir," Jenny said.

"We like songs that are positive and uplifting.

"We encourage movement so your body's more relaxed."

Jenny says the choir's repertoire is wide, with an Elvis number, Amazing Grace, country songs, bluesy jazz and songs written especially for the choir.

The choir meets once a fortnight in St Paul's Church hall, Keen St, Lismore, starting at 7pm, and once a fortnight in the CWA Hall in Ballina.

For further information please contact Jenny James on 0416 192 782 or email jenny@jennyjames.com.au.

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