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Singers step out of the shower in community choirs

The Peninsula Villages Aged (PVL) Choir is open to anyone retired in the Umina/Woy Woy area who enjoys belting out a tune.
The Peninsula Villages Aged (PVL) Choir is open to anyone retired in the Umina/Woy Woy area who enjoys belting out a tune.

SANDY Bigara has a dream ... to create the biggest community choir in Australia, the Central Coast Community Choir.

"It will be made up of a number of choirs, creating unity and community - friendships across cultural, age and demographic divides," Sandy enthused.

It's a vision she has already taken the first steps towards, forming the Gosford and Wyong Community Choirs in the past couple of months.

Her hope is to ultimately have a community choir in each suburb - 10-15 choirs in all - which will practice and perform separately but join together a few times each year in mass choir events.

"The choirs will sing at fundraisers and special events and really activate our communities with singing," Sandy said.

And it appears she has struck a chord with others.

Having bought 25 music books for the start of her Gosford choir, 50 people turned up for the first day of rehearsals.

That has settled into an active membership of 44, with about 20 people taking part each week according to their own lifestyles and schedules.

This isn't about auditions, formalities or pressure, it's all about enjoying the music and loving to sing, with Sandy saying there are as many "shower singers" as those who have sung in choirs or performed previously - some not since school days.

With a little voice training each week, Sandy said everyone was improving.

"They give me goosebumps each week, and we get to the end of the hour and feel like we've had a party," she said. "The positive reinforcement and encouragement works wonders; seeing strangers becoming friends who sing and laugh together each week is hard to describe - It's joyful."

Both the Gosford and Wyong choirs will also join with the Peninsula Villages Aged (PVL) Choir for their annual matinee on October 20 at St John the Baptist Woy Woy.

The songs, which the community choirs themselves have helped to choose, are the popular tunes that everyone knows, including "a ripper" Beach Boys Medley.

The PVL aged choir, which is open to anyone retired in the Umina/Woy Woy area, sings a slightly different range of more classic and jazz songs, as well as a range of children's songs which they perform at schools.

Sandy, originally from South Africa, has a 24-year choral history, both as a member and conductor of choirs which toured nationally and internationally, including conducting the famous Durban Boys Choir and the Danville Girls High Choir before moving to Australia.

The Gosford Choir meets at 6.45pm Mondays at The Rhythm Hut, the Wyong Choir at 6.30pm Tuesdays at the Wyong Neighbourhood Centre and the PVL Aged Choir at 10am Wednesdays at Peninsula Village Tea House.

The cost is $10 per person per session, including vocal and repertoire training and all printed lyrics. For details, call Sandy on 0422 548 770 or go to www.sandybigara.com/communitychoirs.

Topics:  active ageing central coast central coast community choir choirs singing


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