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Mixtape Chorus: Canberra’s newest indie pop choir

Anna Riddel

If you could only do one thing in life, what would you do?

What would be your answer?

When Alex Tolmie was asked this by her life coach, she replied without skipping a beat.

“Singing.”

I sat down over a hot chocolate with Alex as she enchanted me with the tale of how she came to found Mixtape Chorus, Canberra’s newest choir for singers of all abilities, specialising in indie pop.

Alex continues, “As soon as I’d answered ‘singing’ I added ‘that’s not practical though’. Then my coach said, ‘It doesn’t have to be practical, now let’s find a way to include singing in your life’.”

Alex had grown up singing in the Canberra Children’s Choir (later the Canberra Youth Singers), so she knew that joining a choir was an avenue she might enjoy. Alex went away to research the many local choirs, but was unable to find one that suited her interest area. Since childhood, Alex’s interest shifted from classical across to indie pop, a change that Alex credits to her time spent time singing in a band after her school years.

She returned to her life-coach who simply suggested, “then start your own choir”.

“I laughed at the idea,” Alex recalls, “but it lodged in my brain.”

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With a bit more research, Alex googled “choirs that do cool indie pop”, and came across the Perth choir Menagerie. She reached out to the director of the choir, Claire Coleman (now residing in Berlin), and Claire became a second mentor, encouraging Alex to really make Mixtape Chorus happen.

Over the next few months, Alex put the idea out to as many people as she could and gathered a key group of supporters. It is Alex’s “beautiful friend” Kellie Hermes (pictured in feature image) who has been invaluable in helping work out arrangements of indie pop tunes for the choir and accompanying on guitar.

One of the most important aspects of Mixtape Chorus is that it is an enjoyable group of like-minded people, who appreciate a similar style of music and who just, above all else, love to sing. It is a choir for adults of all singing and musical abilities, and you don’t even need to know how to read music.

“It is a choir for anyone who ever wanted to sing in a choir, but not traditional choir. It is a choir for people who love singing but may have been told ‘you can’t sing’, and it is especially for people who love indie pop,” Alex enthuses. Alex further describes Mixtape Chorus as a choir for not just lovers of indie pop music, but also for “Canberra’s finest shower singers”.

The choir will meet weekly on Thursday nights to sing choral arrangements of songs from artists such as Bat For Lashes, Daft Punk, Everything Everything, Fleetwood Mac, Lorde and Grizzly Bear. So if you think you might want to join Mixtape Chorus, or if your interest has been piqued and you simply want to know more, check out the links below or get along to a Thursday rehearsal from 7.30 pm at the Griffin Centre.

the essentials

What: Mixtape Chorus (indie pop choir)
Where: The Griffin Centre, 20 Genge St, Canberra
When: 7.30 – 9 pm, Thursday 23 July – Thursday 24 September inclusive (ten week term)
Web: Find Mixtape Chorus on Facebook or visit mixtapechorus.wordpress.com

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Anna Riddel

Anna Riddel is a singer, director, keynote speaker and a passionate teacher. In 2012, her song Breathe, received a runner up position in the USA International Song Of The Year Songwriting Contest. Anna is currently a Voice tutor at NIDA, as well as a tutor in Music Pedagogy at UNSW. Her company Speak Don’t Talk consults on voice and communication across a range of industries. Anna is an avid Brumbies fan and a self professed coffee snob. Follow her on twitter @annariddel More about the Author

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