Music for the Soul: BottledSnail presents Habeas Corpus in ‘Scene and Heard: Choral Pop for Film’

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By Julia Larner

I was beginning to think being anything more than an appreciator of music wasn’t going to fit in with sensible, mortgage paying grown up life; that involvement in the performing arts was a childhood luxury that I once knew. I have Habeas Chorus to thank for helping me to keep music in my life and contributing to an ever important work-life balance.

Having chosen Law as a career path, I have spent the last four years caught up in textbooks, exams, volunteer experience, paid experience, more exams, networking, attending essential skill-building seminars, clerkships (or lack thereof) and then finally landing my first lawyer job. My ability to work a chromatic scale has well and truly transformed into touch-typing proficiency, and my memory of key signatures has become a repertoire of a growing legal vocabulary.

As a first-year lawyer in a busy and growing immigration law firm, work quickly became the absolute priority in my daily life. I’ve tried to work hard, within a culture of equally hardworking and inspiring young lawyers, to learn and earn my way into the profession. However, with the adjustment to often demanding hours and so much to take in, despite the warnings I found myself starting to cut out ‘luxuries’, including exercising, seeing friends, cooking, healthy eating, as well as playing music. As a result I started feeling tense and a little bit hollow.

In a dark cold month of winter 2015 I tentatively joined an inspired, diverse bunch of dedicated and similarly flat-out law professionals for Monday night rehearsals with BottledSnail Production’s newly formed choir, Habeas Chorus.

Throughout Habeas Chorus’ inaugural and subsequent term, a solid turnout of at least 20 of us have arrived at rehearsals to the welcome of a cheery coordinator, Emilia, and a bewilderingly energised conductor, Dan, whose enthusiasm for music and teaching is contagious. Very soon we are in the swing of belting out tunes in surprisingly beautiful harmony. Although for many of us sight reading is a little rusty, Dan makes it seem easy to re-learn. Currently we’re tackling a nostalgic bunch of classic pieces from films including The Blues Brothers, Moulin Rouge and The Lion King; a stark but enjoyable contrast to last term’s classical repertoire.

It only took the first rehearsal to remember the uplifting feeling of being warmed from the inside out, not only by my own hit and miss vocals, but the various voices of 20 or 30 others, rising and falling around me. Despite the everlasting winter and the ever present challenge of Monday-itis, whatever sort of day I’ve had I always relish rehearsals and end up singing all the way home.

I wonder if there’s anyone else out there who thinks like me and wants to bring music back into their lives? I would recommend it to anyone, come along to Habeas Chorus and remember why music is good for the soul!

Julia Larner is a lawyer at Carina Ford Immigration Lawyers.

BottledSnail Productions presents Habeas Chorus in Scene and Heard: Choral Pop for Film starting at 8:00pm on Friday 9 October at the New Ballroom at Trades Hall. Tickets are on sale now at

If you’d like to join Habeas Chorus please go to to register your interest.