Think you can’t sing? This Port Macquarie choir wants to prove you wrong
Anyone can sing — that’s the philosophy behind a singing event in regional New South Wales.
“If you can sing in the shower you can sing in the pub,” said organiser Ruth Allen.
“You just have to be able to open your mouth and sing.”
BarCappella, organised by Ms Allen, Adam Kennedy and Marie van Gend, is held at a pub in Port Macquarie, on the state’s mid-north coast.
Those who attend rave about how good it makes them feel.
“[The people who come] just find it really uplifting and different and just a fun, feel-good night,” Ms Allen said.
“There’s some really good research now that suggests singing is great to de-stress people, it aids with depression, it’s great for lung capacity, it just makes you feel good all round really.”
Trish Davis, the Mid North Coast Local Health District’s health promotion coordinator, said the benefits of singing in a group were both physical and mental.
“[It] gives your lungs a great workout, because you learn to breathe of course. You have a much stronger diaphragm and a much better, stimulated, circulation,” she said.
“You’re using more oxygen while you’re singing.
“That’s what you do with all other forms of exercise, so you can think of it as a form of exercise.
“It’s a natural anti-depressant and it’s a bit like people who are involved in physical activity.
“They like the endorphin high and singing does that as well. It does release endorphins and they’re the feel good brain chemicals that make you feel uplifted and happy.
“It’s quite remarkable what it does in elevating your mood.”
Bringing people together
Organisers Adam Kennedy, Ruth Allen and Marie van Gend with the crowd at BarCappella. (ABC News: Kerrin Thomas)
The event is also giving back to the community.
“We donate our profits to a charity each time, our motto is ‘sing responsibly’ and that’s partly a play on the ‘drink responsibly’ thing but it’s also because we want to give back to the community.”
Leeanne Cagnacci drives an hour each way from South West Rocks to Port Macquarie to take part.
“I haven’t really sung for probably over 20 years with other people, so this was just a wonderful opportunity to come and sing with other people. It’s a real community feeling,” she said.
Leeanne Cagnacci (right) likes to be front and centre at BarCappella. (ABC News: Kerrin Thomas)
She thinks it is bringing people back together.
“It’s really good to actually connect with people in person, because we do sit too much with our social media and we don’t really know the other people,” she said.
“To be able to connect with other people in real life is a wonderful thing.”
Ms Cagnacci drifted away from music as she grew up.
“I was quite musical in high school, I was in the orchestra, the choir, in folk group and recorder group in high school, and then life happened,” she said.
“I went away to study and worked and had a family, and that all took a back step, so it’s lovely to be able to sing but not have that every-day commitment to sing — that’s the good thing about BarCappella.
“You come, you sing with other people, you have a fabulous time, and then it’s finished, but then you can’t wait for the next one. I couldn’t wait until this one happened.
“It encourages people who think they can’t sing to find their voice,” Ms Allen said.
“It’s absolutely fantastic to see the look of joy and achievement on people’s faces and I know I won’t sleep until 1:00am or 2:00am.”