I’ve never been what you would call a singer, I never joined a choir, I never sang in public. I was one of those people who used to lip sync ‘happy birthday’ for fear someone would hear me actually singing and tell me ‘that I was singing off key.’ I never sang around the house, not even in the shower. As I got older, I could see how others were really enjoying singing, particularly in a group.
Chris James lives in the local area and years ago he started the Big Sings where he would show up in a crowd and within minutes he would have the whole crowd singing in harmony. It was amazing. I used to stand in the back and lip sync.
I eventually organised a private session with Chris and much to my surprise discovered that I didn’t sing off key. Still it was such an unfamiliar experience – to be singing – I can’t say I actually enjoyed it. But there was something in me that really wanted to break through this belief that I couldn’t sing.
As I got older, it became more important to me that I not die with the belief I couldn’t sing still in my body.
I eventually built up the courage to start attending the Community Choir that Chris and his wife, Jenny, were offering in the Northern Rivers. I was still lip syncing. However, one of the beautiful things about the community choir is that we hum and oooooo and ahhhhhh along to the melody so there is no pressure to get the words right. As an evening progresses, we move into singing the lyrics of lovely songs of praise that Chris and Jenny write. And I eventually found myself giving voice to the words. I don’t think I was singing loud enough for anyone else to hear me BUT I could hear me.
Depending on the size of the group, we often sit in a circle - which means there is no hiding in the back row! No more lip syncing. Nowadays you’ll find me front and centre singing with an open heart. I finally realised that opening myself up to the joy of singing created a much better sound than when I was contracted in fear, and worried about judgment from others.
At last, I am having the experience I used to admire from afar. I am now singing with a group of people and we are here for the purpose of being open within ourselves which makes us open to the joy of community singing.
Gayle C., Australia