Wanted: Singers to join NAC choir, no experience necessary

Wanted: Singers to join NAC choir, no experience necessary

Even if you think you can't carry a tune, a unique musical event in Ottawa this summer just might have you singing a different song.

As part of its free series of noon-hour concerts on Thursdays, the National Arts Centre is putting together an "instant choir," and issuing an open call for singers: no audition, no experience and no training necessary.

Lee Hayes, a music arranger and choir director, will have just one hour to whip the singers into shape to perform Bill Withers's "Lean on Me" in three-part a cappella harmony.

Lyric sheets will be provided, but the tune will be taught by ear.

"I teach this line by line, and I think people will be amazed at how quickly they kick into sounding fantastic," Hayes said.

Hayes said she's undaunted by the possibility some of her choir member may not quite sing like angels.

"So many people have this idea that they have to be perfect. We are living in times where we are inundated with perfection constantly. I hear so many people say, "Oh I can't sing, but I wish I could." 

Hayes said she grew up in a time when everyone had a piano in their parlour.

"There was no judgement, we just did it," she said. "I think that has been the norm for centuries, and now all of a sudden people are thinking that they can't sing because they don't sound like Celine Dion."

This is the first time the NAC is holding the free pop-up choir. The first took place Thursday, and there's a second planned for Aug. 30, 2018, at noon.

The events take place at the NAC's Glass Thorsteinson Staircase.

"I really want to make it accessible to everyone," Hayes said. "I am a firm believer that just about everybody can be part of a choir."