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our work > news > Interview: Popup Choir Amsterdam
Interview: Popup Choir Amsterdam
November 10, 2019   Europe

How long have you been doing Popup Choir Amsterdam?

We started Popup Choir in the summer of 2017. We were looking to organize a fun and accessible activity and since we both love singing pop songs we came up with the idea of a “Popup”: a non-committal choir where you just show up, learn some nice harmonies for a song you already like, and sing beautifully with a group of people you just met an hour ago.

We think too many people enjoy singing but only do it secret, for instance in the shower or in the car. We really believe singing brings people together and can overcome differences we normally encounter between people. We try to give people that goosebump-spark feeling when you sing in different harmonies together, and over the last 2 years we haven’t had a single Popup session where that didn’t work out.

How many popup choirs have you held so far? What difference have you seen from when you first started, to today?

We stopped counting, but I think we’re somewhere between 100 and 150 sessions. Popup has grown a lot over the last years, I remember the fall of 2017 when we would sing with some 10 or 15 enthusiasts, while this summer we’ve had sessions with over 250 people showing up. All the while, not that much has changed: we sing a song we like and have a fun time together. For us it’s cool to see how regular visitors start to hang out together, also outside of Popup Choir.

What role do you think music plays (can play) in communities?

What we love about music is how it works as a universal language. When people are singing, barriers don’t matter. For example, we have sung with corporate groups where the CEO stands shoulder to shoulder with her employees. Singing is something pure, it allows people to get rid of their masks and break barriers between people.

Our favorite moments in Popup Choir are when people sing a certain melody line that has no lyrics to it, just ‘ooh’ for instance, and you can still see them enjoying it and putting their heart into it. Singing in harmony is really about working together, I think it’s actually hard not feel connected when you’ve been singing together for a while.

What would your “ideal” popup choir look like?

For us Popup Choir is mostly about the togetherness of it. We could care less if a particular song doesn’t turn out that well if we’ve had a good time singing it together, we are more than happy. Ideal Popup Choir? Well, the charity edition we’re having on December 14th is already something we are very excited about. Singing together for a good cause, with a very special song and a fantastic location. In the future we would really like to work together with well-known musicians to perform one of their songs together with them and the Popup Choir. We also think of a few sing-a-long events in a theater, focusing on artists, like Abba, Queen or The Beatles.

How can people get involved with PCA? Do you see PCA growing ‘past’ Amsterdam?

Joining Popup Choir is simple: you just show up, get a lyric sheet and sing with us!

No experience is needed and all the music is being taught on the way. Over the years we’ve had a lot of people coming up to us, saying things like ‘I didn’t think I could sing’ of ‘I really don’t like singing’, who shouted afterwards: ‘but this was really really fun!”. Just check out the next event on our Facebook page or website to see when you can join.

Join us and Popup Choir Amsterdam on December 14th to sing and raise money for our Welcome Notes program! Show your support and donate today!

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Topics: Europe Interviews