The positive power of song during challenging times

Queensland Conservatorium graduate Astrid Jorgensen is harnessing the power of song to combat social isolation caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

For the past three years, Astrid (pictured above) has led Pub Choir events across the globe, in a project driven by a simple ethos: ‘no audition, no solos, no commitments, no sheet music, no worries’.

‘Couch Choir’ becomes the new ‘Pub Choir’ for those socially isolated

After having to isolate herself after recently returning from the United States, Astrid hit on the idea of an online collaboration she has called ‘Couch Choir’.

“I was feeling a bit down because I couldn’t sing with other people in the way I wanted to,” she said.

“There’s so many people feeling isolated at the moment – it’s really sad.

“It got me thinking – our singing voices still work.

“It’s just we can’t be near each other, and Couch Choir is a solution to that.”

Making musical magic

Last week, Astrid released three videos featuring different harmonies, and participants were asked to record themselves singing at home.

In just two days, more than 1,000 people from 18 countries submitted a video of their performance of Burt Bacharach’s Close to You.

“We asked the internet to stop for a moment and to sing with us,” she said.

“And then we saw the magic unfold.

“Each video was like unwrapping a beautiful, personal, virtual hug.

“We hope the result gives people something to smile about.”

Sharing the love of song

The talented singer and choral specialist graduated from the Queensland Conservatorium with a Master of Music Studies (Vocal Performance) in 2011, after winning the Griffith Award for Academic Excellence.

“The Con was an amazing place to study,” she said.

“I loved being with other people who were equally passionate about music, and I had fantastic teachers.

“It also gave me a chance to get some contemporary performance experience — I don’t think I could lead Pub Choir if I didn’t have that training.”