“I don’t sing because I’m happy; I’m happy because I sing.”
These may have been the words of American philosopher William James, but the School of Music’s Sarah Brittenden couldn’t agree more.
As co-director of the UWA Staff Community Choir, Sarah says the emphasis is on having fun.
“I co-direct the choir with Michael Battersby. It formed in semester two last year and we’ve consistently had 60-80 members which is just fantastic.
“There is so much research that shows singing and participating in music are incredibly good for your wellbeing and that’s certainly our experience.
“We’re a choir of shower singers, but daring to sing in public is very empowering and wonderful for a person’s confidence, so I hope that’s the affect we can have,” Sarah says.
While Sarah may like to sing in the shower, she’s also a trained opera singer and before joining UWA seven years ago she spent 11 years with WA Opera as a Principal Artist.
“My time in the Young Artist’s Program with WA Opera was fantastic and I received training in languages, acting, stage craft and attained a lot of performance experience.
“It’s really wonderful passing on some of these tips to choir members who may be performing for the first time,” she says.
Sarah says the feedback she’s received from choir members has been overwhelmingly positive.
“Some have said that rehearsing on Mondays means it’s no longer the 'worst' day of the week, others still come in to rehearse even if they’re part-time and no longer work that day.
“We’ve also got a great mix of academic and professional staff. We can often get caught working in silos and the choir provides an opportunity to get to know people that otherwise you may not get to meet.
“We’re always ready to welcome new members. If you’re unsure you can always join us at a rehearsal or come to our next concert to see what it’s like,” Sarah says.
The choir’s next performance is this Friday and the concert will be completely dedicated to ABBA’s hits.
“This will be such a fun evening, and really epitomises what the choir is all about.”
The choir will perform at the Callaway Auditorium at 7pm on Friday, 2 December. Tickets are available at the door only - $10 standard and $5 concession.