Former reality star Matilda Green wowed her local RSA last weekend as part of a 20-strong choir, belting out Midnight Train to Georgia and other favourites.
Warkworth-based Green joined the local Matakantata Choir a few months ago, embracing her singing passion and putting her vocal talent to good use.
The in-demand influencer, podcaster, author and mum to 2-year-old Milo and 1-year-old Autumn says she knows it's not always easy to find the time when work and looking after the kids can take over. But she says it's to allow time for projects that bring her joy and give back to others.
"Even just making time at home to do something creative can turn my mood around completely and help me feel energised."
Matakantata Choir was formed 12 years ago and is directed by Jennifer Eirena.
The choir is steadily growing, Green says, with existing members coming back to sing together after the pandemic and new people from the community joining.
The strength of Green's voice sneaked up on the nation when she was unmasked from her Jellyfish costume on the Masked Singer NZ last year.
"I had such a ball on the show. I've always loved music and have a very eclectic taste," she says.
"Singing and playing music is soul food for me, and it's only really been in the past few years that I've properly prioritised it in my life."
Singing gives her a creative outlet, she says.
"I'm not one for regrets in life, but part of me wishes I had taken it more seriously at school. I would have loved to have made music into a career."
Musical memories stretch back to secondary school. At her year-10 school musical, Green played Robin Hood's sister, Pip. It was her first experience at singing in front of an audience, which she says was in equal parts terrifying and amazing.
She still has the DVD from the production and says she will bore her children with it soon. Green sings constantly at home. Husband Art says he loves it, but sometimes he leaves the room, she says, laughing. Daughter Autumn really does love to hear her mum sing and Milo tells her to "stop now mummy".
Green says the mixed-age choir rehearses every Thursday night. They sing a range of music from traditional carols to more modern upbeat songs.
At the choir's performance at the RSA on Saturday evening they sang Midnight Train to Georgia, Shoshone Love Song, You've Got a Friend, Down in The Valley to Pray and September (by Earth Wind and Fire).
"I absolutely loved singing Midnight Train to Georgia with the choir. At our performance we had the lovely Lou Perkins sing with us as a soloist and we all vibed off each other," she says. "The energy was incredible. We were all on a high afterwards."
The following night, Matakantata performed at the Matakana Town Hall, locals packing the venues on both nights.
"We were just expecting friends and family, but we got lots of people coming to support us which was really special. It was the first time the choir has performed together since the pandemic, so it meant a lot to them."