COVID 19 can’t stop Kiama singing

The resilience of us all has been tested by the restrictions of COVID 19. The experiences of the Kiama branch of Sing Australia show the importance of staying connected and doing things you enjoy.

Back in March they sang to several hundred locals and visitors at a Gospel Service conducted as part of the Kiama Jazz & Blues Festival.

By the end of March the group, no long able to practice in person, were meeting via Zoom each week.

Video conferencing was new to all the group, but the desire to stay connected was strong. Through perseverance and some hardware purchases their new way of singing took shape.

Maree Shepherd, conductor and leader of the group, says, “Initially we had to work out which members had computers with cameras/mics, which had ipads, smart phones etc. and then we had to learn the basics of connecting, by turning on audio and video and so on.

“At our first meetings I would play backing tracks of our more that 400 songs and lead them in singing whilst the choir remained on mute.

“We would also sing along to videos of us singing at previous performances, such as the folk festival or festival of choirs.

“It was actually an inspiration to see just how we looked and sounded!”

As time went on they linked up with the weekly singalongs via Facebook organised by the Head Office of Sing Australia, and started having sectional rehearsals for their part singing.

“We’ve celebrated our 10th birthday online, eulogised on the passing of one of our former members, streamed an ANZAC service, introduced we introduced a segment called ‘Spotlight on a

Member’ to get to know people in more depth, joined in a national Sing Australia Christmas in July singalong and Celtic night, and were featured in Sing Australia’s national spotlight on a group in the network,” says Maree.

“Not all of our members have made the jump to this new format but those that have continue to say they feel an even closer bond to one another.

“We’ve even had a new member join since COVID started who shared with the group last week how energised she felt after being with us and that it lasted for days and days.

“That comment alone keeps me energised to keep going with our sessions.”

To be part of Sing Australia Kiama’s zoom sessions you need to sign up with Sing Australia Australia –

“It costs less than $2.50 per week and you also have access to all the singing resources provided by the national body,” says Marie.

“People are welcome to contact me if they would like additional information on 0414 752 982.”

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