A new community music festival is bringing singing opportunities to country Victoria. Named Vocal Ranges, the one-day event will take place for the first time on Saturday 30 April in Kyneton, a historical township in the Macedon Ranges.
“I moved to the area nine years ago,” said festival director Polly Christie, who’s been leading choirs since 1997. “I felt the area was really bursting with a need for opportunities for singers to come together.”
Workshops, performances and sing-alongs are all on the programme. The day will start at 7am, with “Sacred Singing at Sunrise”, led by ARIA Award-winning singer-songwriter Kavisha Mazzella AM. Ms Mazzella will teach participants a series of simple, spiritual songs, drawn from a variety of faiths. “It’ll be a bit of a meditation,” said Ms Christie. “Between each song, there’ll be space and time to rest in silence.”
Next, at 11am, will be singing workshops led by Ms Christie, whose Pollyphonics Choir performed at the 2016 National Folk Festival, and Stephen Taberner, musical director of the Spooky Men’s Chorale. They’ll be held in Kyneton Town Hall, which Ms Christie described as “an amazing acoustic venue. It’s made of bluestone and was built before amplification was used for everything … Most music we hear now is amplified, but hearing someone’s pure voice is still one of the best ways to connect our hearts and our humanity.”
At 7pm, there’ll be a concert by Kavisha Mazzella, supported by professional storyteller Kate Lawrence. “Even though singing is the main focus of the festival, we also want to explore other important uses of the voice, like spoken word and communication,” said Ms Christie.
Rounding out the day will be a sing-along, starting at 9pm at the Royal George Hotel, and led by Joseph Bromley and Jen Hawley. “It’ll be a lot of fun. We’ll have a list of sixty well-known songs, from many different genres,” said Ms Christie. “And the wine will be flowing freely, for anyone who needs to lubricate their larynx.”
Tickets to the Vocal Ranges Festival are available online. Ms Christie and the Vocal Ranges Inc. committee intend to run the event annually.