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Ahead of leading West Australian Opera’s latest season of its Act Belong Commit DRPAC Community Choir in the City of Gosnells, we spoke with Choir Leader Aria Scarlett about the joys of singing and what participants will gain from being involved in this FREE program.

Tell us a bit about your experience in the singing world.

Performance through singing has been a passion of mine from a very young age. After graduating WAAPA with two classical music degrees in 2017, I’ve performed across Australia as a soloist, composer and choir conductor. Whether on traditional stages, at large music festivals or writing music for film, I’ve used my solid classical training to explore all genres of music, collaborating with aerialists, fire twirlers, hip hop artists as well as burlesque & contemporary dancers. I now produce the rapid-fire variety show and podcast WA Exposé with the continued aim of giving back to the community which helped me grow as an artist.

"My work spearheaded the creation of rural community choirs throughout the Gascoyne region, which continue to provide a creative outlet in marginalised communities. I’m a proponent of strong vocal health, no matter if you’re singing as a hobby or a profession. Working with the University of Sydney Voice Research Laboratory, I helped refine their Voice Fit program. The skills developed in this program allows us to impart great vocal skills onto students with no compromise to their long-term vocal health.

Being a full-time performer means I know first-hand how the music industry is evolving. I use that knowledge to make sure that my students have the most up to date training and performance knowledge, giving them the best possible chance at success."

What can you expect from the Act Belong Commit DRPAC Community Choir?

Held in the stunning Don Russell Performing Arts Centre, you can expect a warm welcoming room full of very passionate and delightful people. The experience centres joy, with laughter, social engagement and physical movement being funnelled through singing. With world class teaching artists and pianists the Act Belong Commit DRPAC Community Choir is a true example of social, emotional and educational balance.

What was the highlight of Season One 2024?

The Community Choir has proven to be a shining light on the incredible up and coming voices based in the City of Gosnells. As a community member myself, it's been a privilege to watch these voices collaborate and create incredible sounds in such a short time.

Who can join this choir? Is it just for people who can read music?

Our choir is currently aimed at participants aged 10 to 24.

We encourage people of all backgrounds and gender identities to participate and pride ourselves on the continuation of a safe space for all involved. The only fundamental requirement of any new member is their love for music! Reading sheet music is not an essential requirement and we provide multiple auditory and visual learning materials to ensure success for each member. Learning through sound and joyful experiences are always at the top of mind and students will pick up key music reading techniques and shortcuts as we progress.

How can being a part of an ensemble like this help promote good social and emotional wellbeing?

I love a good sports analogy so let’s give this one a go! When you go for a run, you don't need an audience to watch you or track your progress, you're allowed to run simply because it makes YOU feel good. Music and the arts as a whole are also allowed to be a personal experience, one that doesn't require the audience in order for it to be successful. As with any pursuit, doing it solely for the benefit of others without acknowledging the good it does for yourself, results in it getting infinitely more difficult to continue doing.

The act of singing in a group releases similar endorphins to exercising and works multiple muscles! The weekly meeting of a new group of people establishes new friendships with a common goal and most importantly, your individual learning and progress is something you can be sure you'll be immensely proud of.

Season Two of the Act Belong Commit DRPAC Community Choir runs from 2 May to 30 June. Register here.