Sing hallelujah: find your voice in Sydney

By Jay Chabon

Above: Singing at the House.
Above: Singing at the Opera House.

We’re always singing Sydney’s praises.

And now we’re giving voice to some sensational singing in Sydney!

Yep, the city now has the honour of a new and exclusive festival of song – 11 days to celebrate singing in all its forms.

Then there’s the community of voices that won the nation’s heart a decade ago, back for a 10th anniversary tour.

Plus places to give volume to your voice too. Cue music…

Sydney Sings

Sydney’s always been loud and proud and now the city’s well and truly found its voice with a new festival devoted to sensational singing.

Sydney Sings showcases vocal performance in many and varied forms, from musical theatre, to jazz and classical in choirs, concerts and solo performances.

About 700 performers are set for more than 40 shows from July 28 to August 7.

Here are some choice picks from the program:

Sydney Sings in the shower

Everyone’s a star when singing in the shower.

And our Y Hotels bathrooms provide quality acoustics!

Get some practise in before heading to Martin Place where a specially installed shower will be set up from August 1 to 5 for bathroom baritones, shower sopranos and tub tenors to belt out a tune.

Amateur vocalists willing to have their voice heard outside the privacy of their own bathroom can compete for the title of Sydney’s No.1 Shower Singer.

An applause meter will measure performers’  popularity with a sing-off day to declare the title holder.

The prize (apart from the honour of course): a kitchen! We’re thinking a new stage for pots and pan percussion perhaps…

Sounds of Broadway

We’re suckers for big musical numbers.

And these days Sydney has so many great venues to see musical theatre that we’re really spoilt for choice.

Move over Broadway and the West End!

That said, we love taking the best New York and London shows and adding a local flavour for staging here in Sydney.

The Sounds of Broadway mega musical spectacular at the State Theatre (August 7) brings together all the big numbers from blockbuster musicals with stars of Broadway, the West End and Aussie stages providing the talent.

Carmina Burana

Remember the excitement surrounding the Sydney 2000 Olympics’ opening and closing ceremonies? Australia discovered Nikki Webster, Kylie came home…

Well, Sydney Sings organisers are promising a concert on the scale of the 2000 Olympics with the staging of Carmina Burana at Sydney Olympic Park on August 5.

Hundreds of voices, an orchestra and visual and special effects will bring the famous composition to life.

And if you’re not familiar with it by name, you will be once you hear the extremely famous opening and closing movement O Fortuna – it’s a film, TV and stage favourite.

And shout-outs to…

There’s so much more to crow about, but we’ll keep it short and sweet with a mention of a few more of our favourite things:

  • The Soweto Gospel Choir for its colourful and powerful African harmonies;
  • At Home with the Song Company for the chance to attend a concert in the ballroom at Government House;
  • Splendour of Versailles for evoking French history and using the beautiful St Mary’s Cathedral as a backdrop.
Above: Choir of Hard Knocks.
Above: Choir of Hard Knocks.

Choir of Hard Knocks

They won the nation’s hearts, minds and ears through a TV documentary and now the Choir of Hard Knocks that gave a voice to homeless and disadvantaged Aussies is about to embark on a 10th anniversary tour.

Catch the Sydney show on July 24 at the Opera House.

The tour’s titled “hope and inspiration” so there’s plenty of joyous music but also laughs and sing-a-longs guaranteed!

Above: Singing at the House
Above: Singing at the Opera House.

Singing at the House

OK, so now’s your chance to star centre stage.

At the Sydney Opera House no less.

And no previous experience is necessary!

But energy and enthusiasm is a must.

Sydney Philharmonia Choirs’ music director Brett Weymark will be your expert tutor for Singing at the House.

The free community event invites anyone with a love of singing to get together for a morning of it.

All music is taught on the day, with a small band accompaniment.

Events are held on selected Sundays throughout the year, from 9.45am to 11.30am.

Spooky songs and Broadway are the order of the day come October and November.


OK, so if you’re anything like us, with the kind of voice that makes the neighbourhood dogs howl, there is a place where you can really let rip without fear of public ridicule (apart from that of your closest friends and family).

Sydney is home to countless karaoke dens, where you can belt out a ballad, minus the pub crowd (although there is that too if you want a public audience).

We’re loving CEO Karaoke in the heart of Chinatown, as it caters to everyone from soloists to small crowds.

Or if you’re going for an all-out concert, there’s a room for up to 60 guests!

What makes you want to sing? Tell us in the comments section below.

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