Choir Bar is all about making music and new friends
“Sing, sing a song, make it simple, to last your whole life long, don’t worry that it’s not good enough for anyone else to hear, just sing, sing a song.”
– The Carpenters
Gifted vocalist — yay. High school choir drop out — no problem. Love singing only in the shower — totally cool. Been known to seriously jam out in your car at stop lights with the windows rolled down — even better because at Choir Bar there’s no such thing as someone who can’t hold a tune.
The concept behind Choir Bar is simple. Have an event where anyone who likes to sing joins together for some pre-performance libations and then rehearses a song that culminates in a performance that’s recorded and played for the participants who are genuinely amazed at just how good a large group of strangers can sound after a couple of hours.
The first Choir Bar in Kansas City made its debut earlier this summer where almost 100 participants met up at the River Market Special Events Center for an evening of group-sing. It was a mixed bag of performers from an elementary school choir teacher enjoying a chance to get her vocal mojo on, to a mom’s first night out of the house after having a baby. It was also intergenerational with participants ranging in age from 18 to almost 80.
Amy Spooner, who laughingly described herself as “definitely not a singer,” said she came to Choir Bar to celebrate a friend’s birthday. “This whole thing is so cool, and I’m surprised at how good we sound. We got good fast!”
There’s a secret to making a large group of people blend harmoniously in just a couple of hours. Jazz Rucker, one of the “maestros” of the event (with a killer voice) says it’s all about picking the right tune. “A song that goes verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus is what today’s average listener expects, whether they know or not.”
Rucker picked “One Day” by Matisyahu for the Choir Bar crowd to sing and it was a hit. No sheet music was handed out, just lyrics and that seemed to help settle the nerves of the novices.
33-year-old Megan May said her boyfriend brought her here and at first, she just “came along to be nice,” but soon she found herself not just singing, but in her words “really singing.”
“I thought I would grab a beer and just sort of hang out in the back and mouth the words, but I got caught up in the fun and before I even knew what I was doing, I was belting it out. I felt so Beyoncé.”
This is music to Matt Baysinger’s ears. As one of the founders of Swell Spark, a company that focuses on interactive, experience-based entertainment (Blade and Timber and Breakout KC) Baysinger says Choir Bar is all about bringing people together.
“It’s really reverse karaoke and so much better. It’s a chance to connect with your community and just feel good.”
Helping people feel good and take their vocal mojo to the next level was Jared Scholz. Armed with a guitar and gentle spirit, Scholz worked with Rucker to transform a large group of disparate singers into a solid vocal ensemble. His skills at cajoling the best out of the crowd didn’t go unnoticed.
Haley Barnes, who calls herself a “singer in the shower type” says, “I think he’s perfectly amazing. This guy could probably herd cats.”
Fortunately, there wasn’t anything meow-like about the Choir Bar songbirds. The video shown at the end of the night was a testament to how music can bring out the best in people and turn strangers into new friends.
The next Choir Bar is August 24. choirbar.com