Sisterhood: Sing Sisters get together for the joy of it
HAVE fun, meet new friends and sing, without any pressure to perform.
That's what Sing Sisters is all about.
There's no audition, no need to "be a singer" or read music, no star egos, and no commitment, just the chance for women to get together in a warm, inclusive environment once or twice a month and join in the singalongs.
Its originator, singing teacher Andrea Szabo, said the group began in her Palm Beach lounge room 13 years ago to "give a voice to the mums of the students I was teaching".
As time has moved on, so have Andrea and the mums.
The group, now comprising women 40-70 years old (including some of the originals), meets at Mudgeeraba Music Centre at 7pm on the first Tuesday of the month and 10.30am on the third Thursday.
You can go to one session or both.
"Its success is because it is just for fun; there's no formalities, it's just about networking and friendship, which is sometimes difficult as you get older," Andrea said of what she calls her "stress-busting" group.
Reading the testimonials and Facebook comments, she said, "my heart is just so filled ... what they are coming away with is exactly what I wanted to achieve".
"I arrived feeling nervous and unsure of what to expect (and) left with a smile on my face I could not take away!" newcomer Chantal enthused.
"I always come away feeling so lifted in spirits and on a high; singing is so good for the soul," another participant, Janelle said.
Certainly, there has been significant research showing the benefits of singing for breathing, social connection, exercising the brain and building confidence.
But for those who are "closet performers", there is now a second group, the Round Table Singers - so-called because their first meeting was in a council room after the music centre was flooded out.
They meet at 2pm for rehearsals each Saturday, based on commitment for a term, and perform throughout the year, with terms 3 and 4 focused on Christmas carol performances.
Existing members are also taking part in the Queensland Music Festival's 3000-strong Help Is On Its Way choir project with Glenn Shorrock to raise funds and awareness about mental health, particularly for males.
Two years ago, they took part in a similar 1000-voice choir with John Farnham based around domestic violence.
"It's something pretty magic to be part of a mass choir," Andrea said, recalling one breathless participant who told her it had been better than sex.
"It's awe-inspiring, awesome in the true sense of the word, looking around at all these people who are sharing this moment."
The choir is conducted by Johnathan Welsh, of the Choir of Hard Knocks, with choirs across the state learning their parts and coming together for one rehearsal and one Brisbane performance on Saturday, July 27.
To find out more about either of the choirs, or workshops to improve your singing skills, go to singsisters.com.au or phone Andrea on 0412 485 640.