If you thought a cappella singing groups only existed in American comedies and reality shows then think again. It turns out a cappella groups exist in the north shore’s backyard.
In Gordon, all female a cappella choir, Senisuara, has gained 72 members since it was founded by director Anna Humberstone at the beginning of last year.
Anna attributes many of the hit films and singing focused television shows, like Pitch Perfect and The Voice to the interest in her choir.
“They have blown out of the water the old fashioned idea of singing in a choir. Previously you would change the name of your group so it didn’t have the word ‘choir’ in it as it had connotations of being frigid, whereas now it’s much more hip and modern,” says Anna.
But what is so different about an a cappella choir?
There is no backing music which means group members are responsible for making all of the music themselves. As Anna puts it “voices do all the work”.
This is one reason Pymble resident, Justine Whiting, loves being part of the Gordon choir, Senisuara. “It really increases the challenge level because there’s no music to fall back on,” she says.
The ladies of Senisuara only meet to practise one night a week, which could prove challenging considering there are 72 women with parts to learn. However Anna has implemented a modern way of rehearsing to ensure everyone is prepared before practice.
“I give everyone recordings of their parts on MP3 files so they can put it on in the car, and learn the music when they are on the move.”
Justine says she listens to the recordings and practises in the kitchen while she is cooking dinner. Doing so speeds up rehearsals, as it means the ladies can get straight into singing instead of going through the process of teaching everybody their individual parts.
The group has kept its appeal by welcoming everybody regardless of skill level. It doesn’t compete in competitions which Anna says allows it to keep the “inclusive community feel”.
While there are ten music teachers within Senisuara, there are also people like Justine who have joined simply because they love to sing and meet new people.
Along with Senisuara, Anna also directs an a cappella choir in Mosman, and has just started a new group in Mona Vale to keep up with demand. The first rehearsal for Mona Vale was on April 29, however it’s not too late to join now and be part of the mid-year concert.
All of the funds raised by the group will go towards helping Delvena, a women’s and children’s refuge in Lane Cove.