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This course is all about discovering the joy of singing together with other people.

This course will benefit people who have sung before in choirs, but equally we welcome those who have yet to experience group singing, or who have been unable to participate in music-making since school days. We believe that singing is everyone’s birth-right and is a natural and important human activity. There are many ways that people sing together and for different reasons, and we will aim to help participants find their own voice so that they feel confident to express themselves within a vocal ensemble.

Julian and Laura are highly experienced song-leaders and together we can teach songs in different parts in an efficient and friendly way. We can make the act of learning a fun experience and you will be amazed at how quickly you can be singing in harmony and in different parts. Much of our music will come from different cultures around the world and we will also draw upon historical and contemporary songs.

Daily sessions will be structured in 4 parts to give variety and progression to the programme. The course is cumulative as each day adds new songs and the chance to refine learnt songs.

Session 1  Social Singing

This is the start of the singing day, and we will help people warm up their minds and voices with songs that are light-hearted and easy to learn by ear. Here we encourage people to explore their vocal qualities and try new things.

Session 2  Singing with Percussion

What might sound scary on paper is really such a lot of fun and games and we will sneakily get in some musical theory and nuts and bolts about ensemble performance and stylistic elements of music from different cultures.

Session 3  Gender Groups

Here we invite the group to divide into men and women singers to explore some wonderful repertoire and special sounds produced by male and female voices.

Session 4  Singing in Harmony

We conclude each day with singing in 4 parts (soprano, alto, tenor and bass) as we revel in the classic a cappella sound with some gospel, soul and popular song arrangements.

The course concludes with a performance of selected songs at Friday lunchtime.

Julian (B.Mus, M.Phil, PTCS) is a highly experienced community musician, music educator, composer and performer who works alongside children and grown-ups with a philosophy and teaching style that is influenced and informed by music-making of the world's cultures. He is director of Community Music Junction which operated in Wellington for fourteen years, enabling both children and adults to sing together and learn a variety of musical instruments. Julian founded the Wellington Community Choir, the men’s vocal ensemble MaleVocale as well as several daytime social-singing groups. The organisation relocated to Taranaki in January 2020, where it has established a community choir and marimba and drumming classes. Julian also works with several schools in the area offering guitar tuition and leading social singing sessions. As a song-leader Julian works nationally running choir workshops for mixed voices and is spear-heading a movement to get more men involved in group singing in a social environment. Since 2012 Julian has worked with Chamber Music NZ facilitating the IHC-funded relaxed concert projects around New Zealand.

Laura is a nurse and an educator, and takes part in leading community music because she is passionate about it, and loves being part of musical communities. She joined a community choir just under ten years ago and has been learning how to lead them ever since. She has been working with Julian and Community Music Junction for over five years in music groups including the Wellington Community Choir, social singing, marimba and mbira classes, and establishing the Taranaki Singing Venture. She strongly believes that participating in music makes your life better!