The inaugural Cessnock Sings event has been hailed a success, and plans are underway for three more events this year.
More than 80 people attended the community singalong in the Cessnock Performing Arts Centre foyer on Friday night.
Organiser Emmie Hallett said the crowd was a perfect example of an inclusive and welcoming community – babies, children, teenagers, adults and seniors (including several families with three generations participating).
“Experienced singers and people who had never sung before stood side by side and filled the space with a wonderful sound,” Ms Hallett said.
The night began with some simple and fun warm-ups, and within 20 minutes the group was singing in three parts.
“The energy in the room was amazing,” Ms Hallett said.
“One of the lovely surprises of the evening was when eight-year-old Leo stepped forward and led the crowd in a spontaneous counting activity that had everyone smiling and cheering.”
After a quick break for some of the half-time oranges, the crowd got working on the Rain Song by Mark Growden, filling the foyer with the sound of four harmonies working together and adding some body percussion.
“It was one of those moments were I wondered if I had picked something a little too complicated for the first event, and then suddenly it all just came together and sounded incredible and looking around the room it was obvious everyone felt something wonderful was happening,” Ms Hallett said.
The singers then formed one big group and looked at the screen that the Cessnock Performing Arts Centre staff had set up with the lyrics to The Foundations’ Build Me Up Buttercup.
After a few practice runs singing along to the original version, the singers were burst into their own version to a backing track.
“The atmosphere was just incredible and you could feel the joy and the sense of community pulsing in the room – and the sound everyone created when singing together was seriously brilliant!” Ms Hallett said.
“The song choice is so important to get right for an event like this and I'm delighted with the song we chose, it sounded fabulous and it was so much fun to sing!”
Nicole Spears filmed the final ‘big sing’ of the night and the video will be soon published to Youtube.
Ms Hallett said she was humbled and grateful for the community support this event has had, thanking the volunteers, CPAC staff and all of the singers who took part.
She said Wild Learning is planning three more Cessnock Sings events for 2017 – including a special kids and families event, plus some pop-up singing activities that will fill spaces all over Cessnock with the sounds of people singing “just for the fun of it”.