Having observed over many years the positive changes that happen to people when they sing, Lisa Lanzi and Angela Sharp were driven to create a safe space for anyone and everyone to channel their inner songster, regardless of expertise.
“Group singing has a fabulous, even magical, synergy where ‘the whole is greater than the sum of the parts’. Everyone’s voice is important and welcomed at PUBsing,” Lisa said.
“There have been many who have turned up just for a look, saying that they can’t sing, they’re tone-deaf and have a terrible voice.
“It’s such a pleasure to see people’s reactions when they realise they actually sound pretty fine and it isn’t quite as scary as they thought. By the end of the evening, people are laughing, buoyant and completely uplifted in body, mind and spirit.”
The songs chosen are those of ‘dead legends’ (think David Bowie, Prince, George Michael, Aretha Franklin, Amy Winehouse) and announced on social media prior to the session. An ability to read music is not necessary – lyrics are projected onto a screen, and Lisa and Angela teach the melodies and harmonies. Participants include teens, right through to over sixty-fives like June James.
June has been signing in choirs run by Angela and Lisa for some years, and never misses a PUBsing session, even catching three buses from Elizabeth to get there.
“Lisa and Angie are very good at telling us how to use our voice and they have all the patience in the world. You don’t feel threatened if you mess up – it’s just a really nice atmosphere,” June said.
“I like the singing and the songs, but you also have a really good laugh. And it’s very easy – even I can pick it up!
“People are friendly and happy, laughing and joking, and you don’t feel like everyone is looking at you because you can’t sing. I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”
The philosophy behind both the event and the broader community work Lisa and Angela do is very much in tune with the reasons Adelaide was designated a UNESCO City of Music. The City of Adelaide helped the duo get PUBsing happening in the city through funding provided through a successful application for an Arts & Cultural Quick Response Grant.
Lisa and Angela have a long history of supporting wellbeing with music. Through their BodySONG partnership, they run community choirs with women in prisons, women affected by homelessness, those with mental health issues, older people, and those affected by dementia or with a disability. Angela has also recently begun a choir for staff at the RAH.
“Over the years we have had up to nine community singing groups going at once, so we are very familiar with the benefits of choir singing. With PUBsing, we can share that even further,” said Angela.
The venues hosting PUBsing have been very welcoming and surprised by the attention it attracts.
“Being a participant in a musical sense is quite different to being an observer. It’s another side to the wider musical scene and complements the audience-as-observer gigs,” Lisa said.
“We all feel great when we go out to see a band or an artist but when we actually sing in a group, in harmony and with good direction, there is a level of inclusion that makes a difference to societal well-being.”
Angela challenges people to give it just one red-hot go.
“We are very encouraging and there is no judgement in the room. Loads of people have come to PUBsing with some degree of scepticism but returned in the following months because they had such a great time, felt great, and were surprised and pleased by the sound the group made.”
The final PUBsing event for 2018 is on 21 December at the Duke of Brunswick.
In 2019 – here are some current dates:
January 2019 – no PUBsing event
Tuesday 5 February
March 2019 – no PUBsing event
April 2019 onwards – first Tuesday of the month at The Jade
The Duke of Brunswick:
Second Friday of every month.
For further PUBsing details and latest event updates, visit Lisa and Angela’s Facebook page.
Click here to find out more about the City of Adelaide’s Arts & Cultural Grant opportunities.