Urban Voices, finalists in the 2017 Australian Choral Grand Prix. Photo: WinkiPoP Media
In 2017, Urban Voices were finalists in the Australian Choral Grand Prix For Any Age & Youth (19/U) Choirs for the third sequential year. They were also awarded 2nd in The John Lamble Foundation Australasian Open Choral Championship and Community Choir (Any Age) event.
Darryl Roberts from Urban Voices spoke to Sydney Eisteddfod about what types of music he enjoys performing most with the choir and what they are hoping to achieve next.
Describe choral singing in five words.
Like ‘shower singing’ with friends
Tell us how you became involved in your first choir?
I’ve always loved music, but I had never ‘sung’ in front of anyone. It had never occurred to me to join a choir until I was fortunate enough to trial it at ‘Camp Creative’ in Bellingen where I randomly enrolled in a ‘Joy of Singing’ course which, from the first day was ‘wow’. When I returned home I started searching for choirs in my local area. I finally found one after searching on and off for months. I was quite anxious about the prospect of ‘rocking up’ and I really had no idea what to expect. After the first night, I came home and stayed awake for hours with beautiful harmonies floating through my head. I knew from that moment on, I was hooked.
Why do you love being a chorister?
I love the friendships. The harmony comes a close second and I love the feeling of being connected with ‘like minded’ people.
What has been a highlight of performing with Urban Voices?
Coming second in the Open Choral championship was for us remarkable. One of the other choirs said they had never seen anyone so excited to come second before!
What styles of music do you like singing with Urban Voices most?
I love singing anything that invokes an emotional response in me. Chills, Goosebumps, Warm fuzzy feelings. Urban Voices do overly emotional love songs very, very well and what’s not to love about a love song?
What is Urban Voices hoping to achieve next as an ensemble?
We are a ‘non audition community choir’. We get together weekly simply for the love of singing. As a group we don’t aspire to greatness or to excel in competitions and we have no lofty goals. But we do strive to sing well. Every time we practise, or perform, we always try to sing better. That is the what gives us joy.
Do you have any tips for somebody thinking of joining a choir?
What happens if you don’t take a chance? Nothing! So be brave, be yourself, and if you are thinking of joining a choir, you already have the desire so indulge yourself. View it as a ‘day spa’ for your soul.
What do you believe the future holds for choral singing in Australia?
Choral singing is going strong and getting stronger in Australia. Harmony is the key to bringing people together from all walks of life and with the wonderful support from organisations such as The Sydney Eisteddfod I’m sure it will continue to grow and prosper.