Recovered opera singer knows the score

18:54, Mar 19 2014
joseph gardner
JOSEPH GARDNER: Says the pitch of voices used by a group of men can determine who is dominant

Before he leaves for Australia, opera singer Joseph Gardner has something to share.

Just two years ago the New Plymouth 30-year-old was embarking on a promising singing career in Germany. But a brain tumour began to interfere with his voice and it ultimately landed him back home in a wheelchair.

Now mostly recovered, he is leaving for Australia with a view to pursuing opportunities aimed at getting back into the music industry.

His imminent departure has put the screws on him to make good a promise to deliver a talk on voice and its potential, a subject he believes few people even think about.

"I'm doing it because understanding my voice has opened up my world and opened up many, many, many doors in my life. And I believe that what is learned should be shared. I don't feel that knowledge or education should be protected as property," he said.

Tomorrow's talk will draw on material from his masters degree on deconstructing voice and non-surgical vocal rehabilitation, as well as his own experiences with singing and the events that led to the discovery of his brain tumour.


Along the way he will deliver such interesting tid-bits as why the likes of Britney Spears once sang like an angel and now sounds like a bag of bolts; or how the pitch of voices used by a group of men can determine who is dominant and who is submissive and how everyone has the ability to sing, if only they knew how.

"Some people say ‘that person is an opera singer and that person is a pop singer', but the instrument is the same, it is only the posture we adopt," he said.

But in saying that, there was no such thing as a perfect voice because everyone, no matter how seemingly perfect, had what he called acoustic pot holes.

"My definition of a great singer is someone who has the good fortune, or is savvy enough, to negotiate around their imperfections, or even better, make ways to use them."

Joseph Gardner: Talking Voice: tomorrow, 6pm at the Operatic Society, New Plymouth.

Taranaki Daily News