By Renee Wood
Yarra Valley Singers have enjoyed the first live performance together following months of zooming in for community choir rehearsals and meet ups during the lockdowns.
The group performed at the Montrose Market on Saturday 20 November and president Geoff Steventon said it followed two weeks of face to face rehearsals preparing for their return.
“By all accounts everybody received it well, so that was really good and we thoroughly enjoyed it,” Mr Steventon said.
The performance was part of a ‘flash mob’ pop up performance project the Yarra Valley Singers have organised to reconnect with the community and reactivate public spaces.
The group will also be performing at the Chirnside Twilight Market on the 3 December, Tudor Village 6 December, Chirnside Bunnings 9 December and in Millgrove 18 December.
The pop ups were supported by the Yarra Ranges Council community grants program, the group received $10,000 to invest in new equipment and to support their sound engineer.
“Battery operated speakers and the backing tracks we needed, but also the cost to pay one of our members to be an IT coordinator, because there’s a lot of skill needed to make everything work properly.”
Council grants also helped the group switch to online rehearsals using new equipment during the lockdown.
“Choirs changed significantly during the lockdown because we obviously had to cater for people not being able to sing together.
“With some help from Yarra Ranges Council, by way of grants, we’ve been able to significantly improve the quality of what we offer for people that can or cannot rehearse face to face.”
The group formed in 1988 however, members numbers have declined due to the pandemic – in 2019 there was 100 members but that has now halved.
“We were at the stage where we couldn’t fit people into the evening session, because we couldn’t get any more people in the venue.”
Mr Steventon hopes now we are entering a new Covid normal, new members will join for either the day and night gatherings.
No singing skills are necessary, with some teachings to happen throughout the meetings and all song tastes are welcomed.
“We sing a whole range of music sort of from classical through to pop to mix it up because we realise, not everybody has the same taste in music, and we try to cater for as many as we can.
“Anybody can join, they don’t need to be necessarily a good singer. we are open to anybody at whatever level of ability they have.”
The group hosts two sessions, Tuesday mornings and Wednesday evenings.