Tongue & Groove is a mixed group of varying ages and ethnic backgrounds. When not being basses, tenors, altos or sopranos we are parents, medical professionals, teachers, artists and public servants. We come from all over Melbourne and meet each week in St Kilda for rehearsals.
We sing because it feels good. Every Thursday night we put our ordinary lives aside for a couple of hours and get together to create a bit of magic. There is something wonderfully life affirming about joining in song with many others and the result is so much more than the sum of the parts.
For some, singing in Tongue & Groove is like therapy, a way of unlocking feelings that have been imprisoned for too long. For others it's a way of having a voice where they have felt ignored before. The spiritually inclined amongst us describe the positive energy that's created. Dogs bay at the moon; perhaps our getting together to sing is a human expression of that same instinct.
Choir does seem to be a close cousin of the self-help book and the meditation class. The sense of wellbeing created by singing with a group is clearly evident - you can see it on each choir members face as they relax and become energised by the wonderful force they are in the process of creating.
It's sexy and sensual as well. While singing we can't help but sway and tap and work up slowly to a dance. Discreet clicking of fingers and cool movements of the head are not enough. Inhibitions are resisted and may well be permanently defeated. It feels natural to show how we are affected by the music, how we feel in creating it and how it feels to join with others in that creation.
Even if we never planned to sing in front of an audience we would still get together to practice our favourites and learn new songs. But performing does add a whole other element to the experience. There is something celebratory about sharing our creativity and sense of community with an appreciative audience. Dressed in purples and pinks or colours of the sunset, we take to the stage and are transformed beyond our everyday selves, hopefully sharing some of that positive energy with the audience as well.
Tongue & Groove was born in May 1998 after Sarah Briggs advertised for singers on community noticeboards. The very nervous fledgling Tongue & Groovers who attended that first rehearsal found Sarah's warmth and wonderful voice inspirational and never looked back. By the time Tongue & Groove's first CD, Snapshot, was released in 1999, the choir had grown to include up to thirty members.
At the end of 2002 Sarah left Australia to further her singing career. Very fortunately for Tongue Groove, the amazingly musical Lisa Schwabe, a founding member of the choir, accepted the leadership role. Under Lisa's expert direction Tongue Groove has released a second CD, At Last, and continues to evolve and grow while creating beautiful harmonies.
Since then Tongue & Groove have held two major concerts (both at Ormond Hall), performed at numerous charitable activities, performed at the fabulous St Michaels Church in Melbourne, and provided the feature and/or background entertainment to many weddings and parties.
Tongue & Groove also holds an annual 'camp' weekend away from Melbourne where we get to enjoy one another's company and participate in musical workshops arranged specifically for the weekend.
Lisa Schwabe has now firmly entrenched herself as the Director of Tongue & Groove, and continues to take us from strength to strength.