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Local Singers To Have A Whale Of A Time

By Kate Myers on February 11, 2016 in News

Photo: Erez Beatus

Photo: Erez Beatus

Music has the power to inspire, motivate and connect, but for one Coogee resident, the combination of the beauty of music and the unique experience of swimming with whales has been more meaningful than any Top 100 song.

Stuart Davis, a talented singer and choir director with over 25 years’ experience, is currently responsible for the direction of three local choirs. In the past five years, Mr Davis’s interest in choral music has led him to create a unique opportunity for those who share his love of adventure.

“All trips have involved three key elements,” Mr Davis said. “Lots of singing, an amazing local musical tradition to imbibe, and an amazing physical environment to experience.”

Recent trips have included Vanuatu, Morocco, Spain and Tonga, with a return trip to Tonga set for July/August this year. The experience attracts a variety of individuals, but Mr Davis believes they all have something in common.

“They are basically keen singers who have always wanted to swim with whales,” he said.

“The singing is really important; it gives us a way of connecting with local people. We get out and sing in local markets, churches and schools, and always find that local people are amazed by that.”

The music sung by the choir on these trips differs somewhat from Mr Davis’s usual style. The groups have embraced a variety of music including pop, African and Gospel, all sung a cappella, which Mr Davis sees as an opportunity to connect with the local communities they visit.

The combination of music with the powerful natural encounter of swimming with whales touched Mr Davis on a personal level, with the trip to Tonga last year inspiring him to share the beauty and musical talent of the country once again.
According to Mr Davis, two moments from last year’s trip in particular have special significance.

“The highlights were hanging in the water above a bus-sized whale singing his heart out – the vibrations beating inside my chest – and our first church service, standing quietly waiting for it all to start, then being blown away as everyone around me burst into song nearly deafening me with the sheer volume,” he said.

Mr Davis will be joined on the upcoming trip by freediving specialist and photographer Erez Beatus, and documentary photographer and member of ‘The Explorers Club’ Alegra Ally.

The trip to Tonga involves 14 days on Uoleva Island, participating in singing, visiting churches and villages, joining in beach bonfires and kava ceremonies, and, of course, the opportunity to swim with whales. Mr Davis hopes his experience, and those of the groups lucky enough to participate already, will encourage others with a similar passion to get involved.

“If you love singing and travelling off the beaten track then you’re going to love this experience,” he said. “You also need to have the water skills to swim in the open ocean to experience the whales.

“It’s a real once-in-a-lifetime experience to combine these passions.”

For pricing, dates and more information, please visit