Northern kids choir hits the stage

Sam Singh break into song with fellow North Children’s Choir member Holly James.

By Luke Voogt

Nine-year-old Sam Singh’s pursuit of singing stardom will continue when he joins his North Children’s Choir comrades for their first performance in almost a year.

“I can’t wait to perform in the live stream,” the Corio local said.

“Mostly because I’ll have fun and I might become famous!”

Singing has been Sam’s passion since age two and he joined the choir last July after a co-ordinator held a singalong for his class.

“I’ve had a passion for it since I was very young and I was very happy to have my passion being used,” he said.

He also made new friends in the choir, which features children from Geelong’s northern suburbs singing in Italian, Karen, Sudanese, Polish, Maori, Hindi, Tagalog, Wadawurrung and English.

“They have the same passion for singing as me,” Sam said.

The kids returned to practice together in October, after several months unable to sing in unison.

“It’s much better singing together,” Sam said.

“It’s kind of difficult to sing together over Zoom.”

An avid fan of Bollywood and Punjabi culture, Sam looked forward to singing a few Indian hits in The Gathering live stream concert at Geelong Arts Centre on December 19.

“My mum and I chose some songs to sing,” he said.

“Most of [the choir’s] songs are peaceful. You might even hear a song in a language you speak.”

Sam’s passion for music also extends into pop, rock and rap, which he demonstrated by reeling off names like Ed Shearan, Imagine Dragons and Post Malone from his Spotify list.

“I have lots of singers in my life on Spotify,” he said.

Although if his singing career fails to take off, he says he is quite happy to be a firefighter, an archaeologist, a cop, a mathematician, a footy player, an electronic engineer or a scientist instead.

Sam and the other choir members will sing in groups of up to seven at a time during the live stream, due to COVID-19 precautions.

The performance will weave together songs, stories, film and animation according to Bluebird Foundation’s Bron Lawson, who helps run the choir.

“The choir families represent the diverse cultural landscape that shapes the northern suburbs of Geelong,” she said.

The choir members struggled to practice during lockdowns, Lawson admitted.

“It was really challenging for the kids and their families,” she said.

“You can’t all sing at the same time because of the delay on Zoom.

“Everyone can sing in their own home but only one person can have their mic on at once, or else it just becomes this hodgepodge of noise.”

The kids were “delighted” to return to outdoor rehearsals in groups of five, and later of 10, at North Shore Football Club in October, Lawson said.

“It was wonderful when we could finally all be together – albeit outdoors and in small groups.

“They were singing on the veranda with all the locals wandering past and enjoying music.”

She encouraged locals to tune in at 4pm next Saturday to hear Hindi and Karen lullabies, Filipino and Australian folk music and Sudanese call-and-response songs.

“The songs have all been collected from the families,” she said.

“In a year like no other, celebrate with this group of six- to 11-year-olds who, against all odds, have stayed connected with each other and with the joy of music.”