Sing your heart out during quarterly choir gatherings

If you haven’t experienced the magic of joining others in celebration of song, now is your chance.

The first annual Sing Fest, a new offering to be held quarterly in Orcas Center’s Madrona Room, welcomes anyone interested in learning a song together over the course of one night. No experience or ability to read music is necessary.

“The act of singing releases endorphins, the brain’s ‘feel good’ chemicals,” said organizer Anji Ringjin. “I hope people experience a sense of community and have fun together. It’s a cathartic experience to sing together.”

Musician, vocal instructor and longtime choir director Grace McCune will lead the group, which can consist of anyone ages tween and up, in learning The B-52s’ song “Love Shack” on Sunday, June 30, from 5-7 p.m. Orcas Center is setting up a bar for participants to purchase wine and nonalcoholic beverages. Admission is free but donations are appreciated. Once the choir has it down, it will be recorded and videotaped – accompanied by a backing track – and posted on Facebook at Being part of the recording is not required.

“I was inspired by (open-participation) choirs popping up all around the world,” Ringzin said. “When I saw a very successful one called Choir! Choir! Choir! was going to be at the Crocodile in Seattle this past October, I met up with a friend who used to live on Orcas, and we went together. I wrote to their manager to see if we could get them to come up to Orcas, but when I pitched the idea to Jim Bredouw and Jake Perrine at the Orcas Center, Jake suggested we had everything we need here on Orcas to make it happen without needing to bring in anyone.”

Ringzin is hoping for between 50 and 80 people who are a mix of locals, and visitors. After the Sing Fest event, “Abbey Road LIVE!” is playing on the center’s main stage.

“So if you want to rock out all evening, you can!” she laughed.

The next session will be held in late September with the song chosen by a poll of popular rock and pop tunes from the 1960s and beyond.

“We are not performers, we’re not professional singers,” Ringzin said. “We are shower singers; singers who sing alone. We sing for our joy and our pain.”