In tune with each other


Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

a cappella

Sweet, soulful and in perfect harmony, Dr Chris Bate of the North Sydney Dental Practice in NSW sings it out loud with his a cappella group.

“I’m originally from the UK where I was a part of the choir throughout my school years. While at dental school, I formed a rock band called the Phantom Heads and we gigged for about four years.

“After I moved to Australia in 2013, music fell by the wayside until 2021 when I realised it was missing from my life. I started an online search for inspiration and came across Vox Canvas, an a cappella group based in Sydney. 

“No sooner did I join the group than the COVID lockdowns began. We had to take a sabbatical for about six months. We still did Zoom sessions but it’s not the same as actually getting together.

“As soon as the lockdowns finished, we started practising every Tuesday night. It’s definitely added a creative outlet to my life. Vox Canvas is an a cappella group of male-identifying people. We have some non-binary members who have a masculine voice range. Anyone can come to rehearsals but you have to pass an audition to perform at concerts and in competition.

“Normally, there’s about 25 members in a performing group. We perform regularly and take part in a couple of big a cappella competitions each year. Coming up this year is a New South Wales regional competition in April and we’re hoping to compete in the Pan Pacifics in Auckland in September.

“We cover a wide range of music from old classics to modern arrangements. On Valentine’s Day, we send out our quartets as singing telegrams. The most popular song they perform is Can’t Help Falling in Love by Elvis Presley. We’re very lucky to have some incredibly talented people in our group who do the musical arrangements for us.

“As a cappella has no accompaniment, it comes with its own challenges. Without instruments there’s no rhythm or a reference pitch that you can follow. You have to trust and rely on each other as you sing.

“For me to be balanced and to perform at my best in everything I do, including my professional work, I need an outlet for my creative side. Vox Canvas has nicely filled that role. It helps me to be my best in all areas of my life.

“We live in a world where face-to-face communication is lacking, especially over the past two years. My a cappella group is a chance to regularly spend quality time with a fantastic group of people. As someone who’s a long way from home in the UK, it’s very important to have that connection and I value it greatly.” 

Find out more about Vox Canvas at: 

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