MORRISBURG-Since she was a young girl, singing has brought her joy, and now Joanne Laurin has decided to share that joy.
“I can remember being a child in church, about seven years old, and an older couple tapping me on the should to tell me I should keep on singing, that I could be a professional one day.”
“Then in high school, I remember being asked to sing on stage. But I was way too shy back then to let out what has been buried all my life.”
Now,” says Joanne, “here I am, in my late 40’s and finally ready to let people hear what I have been hiding.”
After receiving encouragement from a friend at work, John Mondoux, Joanne signed up for singing lessons and is now preparing to sing in public.
What she didn’t know, when she set out on this “magical” journey, was how much there is to learn and how much hard work there would be.
But Joanne is extremely happy balancing her home life with husband Mike, a demanding career as a Health Care Aid working at the Villa in Long Sault and the demands of her singing.
“After work each day, I do exercises for my throat and on my days off, I sing for upwards of four hours.”
“It’s more than I ever thought. How you learn to find your voice is magical.”
One of her first lessons involved learning where her voice was coming from. “I was actually singing in my speaking voice. There is a lot of homework and a lot of practise.”
Joanne says she owes her decision to pursue her singing to Mondoux, a co-worker and also a very talented singer and guitarist.
After Mondoux heard Joanne sing at the nursing home, he encouraged and worked with her as did Ingleside singer Candy Rutley, “who spent hours teaching me how to find my chest voice.”
“And John really helped get me on my feet. He mentored me.”
With their encouragement, Joanne is now enrolled in singing lessons with “a highly gifted and professional teacher, Siaca from Melody Makers”. She attends one lesson each week.
“It’s all about learning about your vocal chords, the do’s and don’t’s. I am learning what phrasing is, and tempo, and working on my facial expressions, making my eyes match the song. There are so many things to learn. It is so interesting. And, oh my gosh, breathing is so important when you sing.”
“There is also a lot of memorization. I started school in January, and I have now learned eight songs. So in four months, I have done a lot of work.”
“I never thought in a million years there would be so much to learn. But I love it, and I can’t wait to make this happen.”
As for finally hitting the stage and sharing her joy of singing with others, Joanne says she is taking baby steps. She says her band is named “It’s Just Joe”, that being herself, a CD, and a microphone.
“The patients (at Woodlands) are my little rookies,” she says of her first gig set for June. “They are all excited for me to come and sing for them in June. They are going to hear my summer road show before anyone else.”
At this point, Joanne’s summer road show will include a performance during a St. Lawrence River cruise with the Thousand Island Cruise Line in June, and a July 1st Canada Day performance on the Lost Villages’ stage.
She expects her ultimate experience will be when she sings a solo on the professional stage at Aultsville Hall in Cornwall next spring during the annual Festival of Music.
Down the road she would like to sing at local events, perhaps at weddings and funerals.
“The reason I like to sing is to put happiness and joy into people’s lives. I want to make people feel happy because I’m happy when I’m singing.”
“I want to sing anywhere people can hear me,” she concludes.