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Montreal’s Sing Song! meet-up

by Ian Down January 12, 2017
Montreal’s Sing Song! meet-up

A place where everyone is welcome to sing their hearts out

Patrons enjoying after-work drinks in Ace Grill and Bar on Monday may have been perplexed by a dozen loud, enthusiastic voices belting out George Michael’s “Faith” from the back room. This is Sing Song!, a group founded on the social media site Meetup. Sing Song! welcomes singers of all levels and abilities who just want to have fun without judgement.

The group’s founder, who identifies herself only as Vikie, knows that hearing yourself sing can sometimes be unsettling. “We feel totally naked when performing in front of others, given that our voice is a sound that comes from the deepest part of our souls,” she said. After participating in many amateur choirs and finding the repertoire unappealing, she decided to start her own pop and folk-oriented group.

Sing Song! has met three times since forming in December. At each meet-up, there is one song to rehearse. Anthony Lovison, the group’s hired musician, has an hour and a half to guide them through the week’s song with just his acoustic guitar and his voice. Michael’s “Faith” is no easy tune, with its virtuosic leaps and flourishes.

However, Lovison, 28, said patience is key. “It’s like [how] when you stress before an exam, you don’t succeed. So if people are very relaxed I think [the singing is] more powerful,” Lovison said. Lovison, a UQAM student from France, does not put too much pressure on the group to be in tune. “I think it’s the experience. I prefer to enjoy [it], and if it’s out of tune that’s OK.”

Rachel Joseph, a participant in the group concurred. Although she sings professionally, she enjoys Sing Song! for its low-pressure environment. “I came here just to have fun, so I guess [intonation] doesn’t matter,” she said.

Maria Hoseni wanted to try singing in a language other than her native Farsi. “It’s really different,” she said. “Sometimes I was forgetting some parts, but I would listen to the others and it would remind me of what was going on.” Simikka Leung, a McGill marketing student, agreed that the group setting was helpful. “In a group, I don’t have to focus on my pitch, and I can just focus on projecting my voice,” said Leung.

The benefits of singing in a group go beyond staying in tune. Sing Song!’s Meetup page mentions group singing is proven to “lower stress, relieve anxiety, and elevate endorphins” and “lessons feelings of depression and loneliness.” This is based on research from the book Imperfect Harmony: Finding Happiness Singing with Others by Stacey Horn.

Anyone interested can join Sing Song!’s Meetup page to find meeting times and locations.

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