Jonah & The Wailers is a community based Acapella Choir in Sydney
Jonah & The Wailers is one of Sydney’s most established Acapella choirs. Directed by Ian Laurence and influenced by African American gospel. You can find our community choir in Manly (Northern Beaches), Leichhardt (Inner West) and North Sydney.
An Acapella choir is singing without musical instruments. Originating from Italy, where, singing “a capella” meant singing “in the chapel”. In general, chapels were too small to incorporate musical instruments as well as singers. So singing “in the chapel” became synonymous with “singing without musical instruments”.
Our Acapella choir has people from all walks of life, young and old. From all creeds and tribes singing together in harmony to create a sense of joy. We are a fun, vibrant and welcoming community choir.
Jonah & the Wailers started in 1995. It’s a larger Acapella, SATB (soprano, alto, tenor, bass) choir. With a choice of 3 different rehearsal venues around Sydney. Most of our choir members come from Sydney’s Inner West, Northern Beaches and North Sydney.
What is Gospel music?
Gospel music comes from the traditional African American gospel singing. This music reflects an immense spiritual strength with the purpose to overcome adversity. Furthermore, to ignite love and community values.
Over the last few years, Ian Laurence has diversified his arrangements. To include uplifting songs from any genre that moves him or music recommended by his choir members. Including genres that touch the humanity in us all.
How did Gospel choirs start?
The movie “Sister Act” is a popular movie which involves gospel singing. And in particular, made the song “Oh Happy Day” popular.
Gospel churches in the United States are generally attended by predominantly African Americans. Gospel grew from “Message Songs”, around the time of the abolition of slavery.
African Americans in the south of the United States, wanted a life free from prejudice. Hence, were told that “when we sing this song in church, a message song. That is the signal for you to go to the first safe house on your journey north”.
African Americans wanting to undertake this journey would travel by night (as it was safer). This gradual drift north of African Americans became known as “the gospel train”. Hence this is where Gospel choirs evolved from.
About our Acapella group choir
Many members have remained in the choir for over 10 years. Ian’s reliability and steadfastness have helped to foster this deep sense of community spirit and friendship.
If you love to sing we would love to hear from you! You don’t have to be able to read music. As music arrangements for our songs are often provided. The sooner we discard those pieces of paper and express our own feelings through song. The better!!
We have choir rehearsals in Manly (Northern Beaches) on Monday, Leichhardt (Inner West) on Tuesday and North Sydney on Wednesday during school term time.