Think you've got a good voice? Tania Anderson makes a living out of hers. Catherine Healy caught up with her at home in Grey Lynn.
When you tell people you sing in a gospel choir, they tend to assume you are religious and enjoy wearing long, flowing robes and waving your hands in the air.
Yet very few of the members of Auckland's Jubilation gospel choir are churchgoers and they certainly don't wear robes.
"It's difficult for audiences to grasp that," alto Tania Anderson says. "It's the music that we love. We love getting together and singing."
The Grey Lynn resident has been with the group for five years now and describes it as "a very serious hobby".
While a weekly rehearsal might not sound like a massive commitment, they have a repertoire of more than 50 songs and it takes a good six months for a new member to learn it all.
"I don't read music so when I joined I spent a lot of time recording my part and learning it by ear."
The choir's music is firmly rooted in traditional African-American gospel although they do perform songs by contemporary songwriters who draw on that tradition.
Mrs Anderson is a voiceover artist and actress. She's had small parts in The Almighty Johnsons, Outrageous Fortune and Shortland Street.
"I've had two scenes in lots of things," she jokes.
There are a few other familiar faces in the choir.
Jennifer Ward-Lealand and Jackie Clarke are long-time members. The group was founded by rock legend Rick Bryant in 2000.
Rehearsal on Tuesday night is a highlight of the week.
"If you're feeling rotten on a Tuesday, you go along and sing for an hour and it lifts your mood," Mrs Anderson says. "My mother was a good singer and two of my four sisters are singers."
She's pleased to see the talent has passed on to the next generation. Her daughter Stella, 12, has just won her school's singing cup.
"If you're always singing around children, in the car and so forth, they feel they can sing too."
Jubilation performs at Galatos, 17 Galatos St, Newton, on November 17 at 8pm. See jubilation.co.nz for tickets.
- Auckland City Harbour News
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