A Cappella – it’s all about harmony and sisterhood

Story by Marianne Kresse,  Photos supplied by Armella Pratt

Did you know that Hervey Bay has its own A Cappella Chorus? If not, let me take this opportunity to introduce you to this rather remarkable group of women who are about to represent the Fraser Coast in one of the largest and most exciting endeavours of their Choruses’ singing history.

I recently had the pleasure of meeting this very vibrant and energetic group of ladies as they were  rehearsing at Hervey Bay RSL in preparation for competing in a national A Cappella competition being held in Hobart on May 17 and 18, 2019. The group is associated with the international Sweet Adeline Group of quartets and choruses with Australia being part of its Region 34. The convention in Hobart is a celebration of Region 34’s, thirty years of being part of the larger world group and the event is stacking up to being a big one. The A Cappella Bay Singers will be competing in both the Chorus and Quartet competitions. The group’s quartet name is Attune.

Judges look for showmanship, sound, music and expression.

With 25 quartets and 17 choruses registered to compete, there will be 700 individuals participating in the huge event being held at Hobart’s Wrest Point Casino. It is expected that the in house audience will be as many as a thousand people. The magnitude of the event has naturally got our own girls from The A Cappella Bay Singers both excited and nervous. They will sing two songs and be on stage for around seven minutes. But to get here has been hard work.

“Preparation for this has been two to three years in the making,” Chorus Director Helena said.

A Cappella Bay Singers were previously known as Seabelle Singers who has been going for over 10 years.  The current Group A Cappella Bay Singers is now a collaboration of Seabelle Singers and Soundwave Chorus.  The two choruses have amalgamated into one huge family.

“We’ve become a blended family, a sisterhood of harmony,” they all agreed in unison.

The group is made of 25 singers plus their director Helena, with ages ranging from girls aged 13 to women in their seventies. Songs range from the classical including ‘Where is your Heart’ and ‘Amazing Grace’ to pop hits such as Abba’s ‘Dancing Queen’. A Cappella singing is all about harmony without using musical instruments. To achieve this the chorus is divided into four groups: tenors, leads, baritones and basses with each group needing to learn their own parts. Each week, each group has its own 90-minute rehearsal in preparation before joining the whole group in a demanding but very fulfilling two-and-a-half-hour session every Monday.

“It’s hard work!” new member Betty Kimber said.

“It takes a lot of concentration and focus to learn how to breath the right way especially when holding the long notes.”

Jodie Kimber, Betty’s daughter, who joined the group in January this year said “It’s actually quite a workout and can be exhausting!”

Betty laughed and added, “We all get rather hot!”

“You learn your notes, then your words and then how to breathe.”

The A Cappella Bay Singers currently has three tenors, five baritones, eight basses and the remainder leads which is a good mix, though a few more basses would be welcome.  The group is not made up of experienced singers and openly welcomes anyone who loves to sing and wants to be part of something fun as well as social. To join the group you need only do an audition that consists mainly of singing the scales and from this it is determined which of the four groups you belong.  There is no judgement as to whether you can sing or not. It is a very supportive group that have grown together and spend their time helping the community by doing fundraising and attending social events such as singing in nursing homes and performing at the RSL. They have also been invited by Dean from Café Balaena in Urangan to sing at Christmas or at birthday parties.

You can watch their performances live through webcast at

Http://www.sweetadelines.org.au/convention/

 

You can catch them at :

  • 28/04/19 – Family and Friends Concert  from 1pm to 2pm St John’s Anglican Church Hall, cnr Dooling and Gilston Road
  • 07/05/19 – Biggest Morning Tea and Sing Out.   Hervey Bay RSL
  • 11/05/19 – High Tea Fundraiser from 2pm to 4pm St John’s Anglican Church Hall, cnr Dooling and Gilston Road

If you would like to book them for future events or are interested in joining please contact their team coordinator Christa Leeb on 0414 256 178.

Have you picked up a copy of our magazine?

Available at Hervey Bay Stockland’s, Night Owl, Food n Groove, Maryborough Art Gallery, and various other newsagents throughout the Fraser Coast..

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