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With One Voice welcomes new voices for 2013

It’s not long until the wonderful With One Voice choirs recommence for 2013!

Following an incredible With One BIG Voice concert in December, we’re excited for another great year. If you’ve never been part of a With One Voice choir, now is a great time to come along, feel welcome amongst other people who love to sing and find your voice. If you’re an existing choir member, why not bring a friend?

Here are dates of the first rehearsals for With One Voice choirs in 2013:

Ashburton Sings! (Our Community) – Wednesday 6 February
Footscray Sings! – Thursday 24 January
Frankston Sings! – Monday 4 February
Geelong Sings! – Monday 4 February
Greater Dandenong Sings! – Wednesday 6 February
Heidelberg Sings! – Thursday 7 February
Melbourne Sings! – Tuesday 5 February
St Kilda Sings! – Monday 4 February
Sydney Sings! – Tuesday 5 February

If you’re interested in joining a choir, contact our friendly team on enquiries@cal.org.au or call (03) 8679 6088.

Click here to download the media release and poster celebrating a brand new year for With One Voice.  Why not help us spread the word by putting up a poster in your local area?

We look forward to singing with you in 2013!

Hume Sings Last Song – Jacinta Caruana on Hume Sings

Hume Sings was Creativity Australia’s smallest choir in numbers but was full of heart. With members from Craigieburn, Gladstone Park, Campbellfield and Broadmeadows and age ranges from teens to their eighties. The main thing that bought Hume Sings together was the love of meeting new people and learning something they never have before. Growing confidence and having a sense of accomplishment was something Hume Sings members cherished from their choir experience. The fact that everyone was so friendly made it a comfortable environment for people to be themselves and feel great about trying something new.

At the With One BIG Voice concert on December 2nd, Hume Sings performed ‘What a Wonderful World’. We chose this song over a few other options because coming to choir meant being able to escape from the craziness that life can sometimes be, and this song gives us a chance to reflect on the positive things in our lives. This is something we often did at Hume, encouraging each other to share something positive from our week and inspiring others to do the same. Sometimes, it might be harder than other weeks, but nothing is too small to make a big difference and bring a smile to our day.

‘What a Wonderful World’ has lovely lyrics, and gives joy to many people and it is a pleasure to be able to share our own delicate and honest version with the audience and other choirs at the concert. Being just a few members, it was easy to feel very exposed, but this encouraged us to smile and sing with confidence, in turn helping us to have a wonderful time performing on stage together. Ranee of Hume Sings said “it’s a beautiful song that captures the message we want to share with everybody. It’s a positive message with a pleasant uplifting melody which makes me feel great singing”.

With a change of conductors in the middle of the year, and a venue change to the wonderful Banksia Gardens, it has been an eventful 2012 for Hume Sings with its challenges, but memories that will last beyond the With One BIG Voice concert.

Written by Jacinta Caruana, conductor of the former Hume Sings choir.

Despite the best efforts of our CA team, we regretfully have to close Hume Sings. We will always remember the legacy of the small choir being joined by Footscray Sings to perform ‘What a Wonderful World’ at this years concert.  We hope that the Hume Sings members will walk away with many happy memories, and to perhaps see their smiling faces at other choirs in 2013.

A Christmas Carol: Dickens’ Philanthropic Philosophy

It’s Christmastime in Australia. There’s no snow on rosy cheeks or eggnog drinking by a roaring fire and we don’t all believe in the babe in the manger in the royal city of David but we sing about all of it with conviction. I had been thinking about Christmas carols for a while and it was initially “The Twelve Days of Christmas” that attracted me, why it is that I find it so delightfully peculiar, like a Yuletide version of Alice in Wonderland that you sing. But instead my thoughts came to rest on the wonderful Christmas carol that you don’t sing, A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens.

Why did Dickens call his Christmas novella about the redemption of Ebenezer Scrooge A Christmas Carol? Carols play a very minor role in the story; Scrooge chases away a young boy who tries to regale him with “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and later, when visited by the first of the Spirits, he admits to regretting it. The word ‘carol’ appears once in the title and is used twice more in the entire work. This is not a story about a Christmas carol, it’s the story that is the Christmas carol. It is true that we might classify a Christmas carol as a popular hymn or song with a Christmas or seasonal theme that is traditionally sung before Christmas and by naming his story a carol, Dickens asks us to ponder the very question of what things are, and to question the veracity and limitations of accepted definitions. Dickens saw the potential of all manner of things. He quite evidently thought about this thing called a carol: he labeled the chapters of A Christmas Carol “staves”, a stave being an archaic word for a stanza or verse and with his pen, remade his novella into a work of verse … just like a carol. His two subsequent Christmas tales were similarly fashioned; The Chimes was divided into “quarters”, and The Cricket on the Heath, into “chirps”. While these re-designations may be seen as lighted-hearted, tongue-in-cheek literary devices, I see them as Dickens demonstrating how an individual can break with tradition in order to improve the system. Most things belong to and support a system, which is only an agreed way of managing and not a ‘natural’ order of any kind. Dickens understood this through and through; he observed the world around him and saw how it was constructed and held together by beliefs that underpinned a class system, which visited misery and humiliation on the poor. Dickens had great sympathy for the working poor and the unemployed, social progress through industrialization extracting a disproportionate toll from their class and being born among them not something deserved but random chance. Those who were more fortunate and with the means to improve the situation of the less fortunate are morally obliged to do so; they should act independently and be guided by their individual consciences.

To break with tradition in order to improve the system, Dickens imagined a new tradition and it is largely his vision of a secular Christmas that we celebrate today and at the heart of it, the gathering of family and friends, Christmas food and drink, charitable giving and carols. The role of carols is incredibly significant. In the early 1840s when Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol, carols and exuberant expressions of joy in song were just beginning to make a comeback after the long hangover of Puritan Protestantism. Dickens must have realized just how much the spirit of Christmas was invested in the repertoire of Christmas songs. And it’s still true today. Nothing signals the approach of Christmas like hearing carols for the first time. People who don’t sing will sing Christmas carols or face being called a Scrooge. In a poll of friends asked if it would feel like Christmas without carols, it was a resounding “NO”. Not even in his wildest dreams could Dickens have imagined the huge impact that his Christmas story would have. His book has never been out of print and is the second most printed book in the UK, second only to the bible. Pretty impressive for a carol you don’t sing! Bah humbug to dreaming small! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Written by Miriam Potter, member of Melbourne Sings.

Sydney Sings to Save The Earth – Join Them!


Photo: Sydney Sings, Shyla Nelson and Rev. Stephanie Dowrick’s congregation are coming together to sing! Thanks to Brad Harris for the photo.

We all know about the healing power of singing…it’s the easiest way to transform a bad day into a good one and the quickest way to bring a smile to someone’s face! But, how often do we think of singing as a way to heal the earth? Is it possible for a song to heal the ground on which we stand?

Well…how will we know until we try?

Led by internationally acclaimed singer and earth lover Shyla Nelson, the One Earth One Voice is a global campaign that intends to do just that. By bringing together 15 million voices to sing ‘Ise Oluwa’ in synchrony on December 21, 2012, we are sending a message of hope, healing and love to the earth. Millions of souls around the world will join hands and hearts to open into a new world consciousness of Oneness, celebrating the end of the Mayan Calendar December 21st. Much has been written, discussed and conjectured about 2012 and its significance, yet as the year progressed there has been a building world consensus that there is an invitation to humanity to join hearts in ONE Love with an invocation for a new consciousness of unity on December 22nd.

Sydney Sings will be joined by the Sydney Swans, Rev Stephanie Dowrick’s congregation and community, Wake Up Sydney, Uncle Max, and the Sydney Boys and Girls Brigade…just to name a few! But – they need you to join them! Regardless of your singing ability, your voice is needed. Your earth needs it.

Join Sydney Sings on December 22nd at the Pitt St Uniting Church, 264 Pitt St Sydney, at 9am, and download a poster here.

The event will be streamed live internationally! Click here for more information about One Earth One Voice, or contact us for further information. Don’t forget to join the Facebook event!

 

Vale Dame Elisabeth Murdoch – A Great Patron & Friend

We would like to express our sincere condolences to the family of Dame Elisabeth Murdoch AC DBE, who passed away on 5 December at the remarkable age of 103 at her home, Cruden Farm. Dame Elisabeth was a Patron, friend and wonderful supporter of Creativity Australia and music and singing were a great source of enlightenment, comfort and enjoyment throughout her life. We will never forget the many times she was in the front row waving and applauding at performances. We treasure the times we shared with her and know her legacy will live on forever.

With One BIG Wow!


Thanks to Peter Casamento for the photo.

The sound of over 300 singers echoing throughout the Melbourne Town Hall is not one that will be soon forgotten! 800 people gathered on Sunday, December 2nd, to fill the Town Hall and experience the magic of the With One Voice choirs.

With a program with everything from Fever to Africa, there was truly a song for everyone, and it became impossible for the audience to resist simply sitting and watching – they were standing and clapping, with some even singing along!

Aside from bringing together all 13 of our Melbourne choirs, it was an extra special day for Sydney Sings who made their interstate debut – many of whom stepped off the train and onto the stage!

Huge congratulations to all who sang – you were brilliant. Thank you to all who came and supported their friends and family, we hope you walked away with a smile.

Keep an eye out for photos and videos – but for now, why not check out some of the photos that our singers have uploaded to Facebook?

Barwon Health Relax With Geelong Sings

Chris Scanlon, Mental Health Promotion Officer at Barwon Health took the time to chat about Geelong  Sings and Barwon Health!

When you saw the last choir performance at Barwon Health, what were some of your impressions?
Twenty members of the Geelong Sings choir did a recent lunchtime performance at the Geelong Hospital cafeteria during Mental Health Week (7th – 13th October 2012).

The “Relax in the Café” event was part of the Barwon Mental Health Week program and provided staff with an opportunity to relax, refresh and be entertained during their lunch-time break. The choir included a strong contingent of Barwon Health employees: with participation from a broad range of areas across the organisation.

The performance was well received: with an appreciative and enthusiastic audience. Feedback indicated that staff were impressed with both the quality and calibre of the choir. People found the singing soothing and harmonious. Staff on the level immediately above the cafeteria commented that patients enquired about the singing and found it “very
calming and relaxing”.

Other comments received included: “you could see the happiness on the faces of the choir members” and “Don’t they sing so well together – there must be something in it!”

Both Cafeteria staff and Food Services management are keen to invite the choir back for future events.

In your opinion, what are some of the mental health benefits that can be gained from singing in the choir?
There are evident health benefits to singing including improved breathing, an improved sense of wellbeing and relaxation, greater social connectedness and the value of teamwork and achievement.

What is a direct benefit to your organisation in having members of your staff join the Geelong Sings community choir?
From an organisational perspective participation in community initatives will lead to a healthier workforce, which will impact positively on motivation and worker satisfaction.

Barwon Health encourages further staff members to join the choir and is providing subsidies for membership. The choir practices on a weekly basis: Mondays 5.30pm – 6.45pm at the Deakin University Waterfront Campus.

Thank you again for your time, Chris – we’ll see you at choir soon!

Five Fun Facts About The With One BIG Voice Concert

There are only 25 days left until December 2nd – which marks the third ever With One BIG Voice concert!  This year’s concert will be the biggest one yet, and even sees the Sydney Sings choir making their interstate debut.

Whilst we count down until December 2nd, here are a five With One BIG Voice facts to tide you over!

Did you know…

  1. In 2011, the most tickets sold by a member was 18 tickets!  Will we break that record this year?
  2. A video of all the choirs performing Toto’s ‘Africa’ has received over 14,000 views on Youtube – watch it here
  3. The With One BIG Voice concert will take place in the same venue where Federation was debated, where Nellie Melba debuted and where the Beatles greeted their adoring fans!
  4. There will be over 400 singers performing this year – which would fill a Boeing 747 airplane
  5. The capacity of the Melbourne Town Hall is 800 people.

Have you bought your tickets yet?  Click here to buy yours today! 

And click here to download a media release.

Diversity is a Big Part of Who We Are – Liz Lipski on St Kilda Sings

Do you sing in the shower? Or was the school choir the last time you opened your mouth in song? Well, guess what? It doesn’t matter. If you like to sing, come along to St Kilda Sings choir nights, at 12 Chapel Street, St Kilda. You do not have to have a trained voice!

We meet on Monday evenings from 6.15pm to 7.30pm, have a sing, then this is followed by a scrumptious supper. And at the end of every term, we have an informal soiree for friends and family, followed by an even better supper! We also perform at events in St Kilda like the Homeless Memorial.

Currently, we are practicing for a massive end-of-year concert to be held in the Melbourne Town Hall. Some of the songs we’re rehearsing include: Let the River Run, Africa (Toto), We are Australian, Imagine, Siyahamba (African) and some of the songs we’ve sung this year include El Ritmo de la Noce, Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel, Inanay (Indigenous) and Tears in Heaven to name a few.

Our members come from all walks of life. There are students, pharmacists, a youth worker, a yoga teacher, an ESL teacher, retirees—you name it. Diversity is a big part of who we are. Here’s some of what our members have said about being part of St Kilda Sings:

‘The music (we sing) stays with me all week!’

‘I love the complex harmonies…they sound magical.’

‘(I love) the people who are so generous with their voices and with their spirits.’

‘Singing makes me feel very grounded. I also enjoy the social aspects, including the tea and snacks.’

‘I love singing in such a supportive environment.’

Our conductor this year is Marianne Black, who is a born teacher, and who only gives us as much as we can handle. Her musical knowledge and experience are very impressive, so we know we are in excellent hands.

Come along! You’ll enjoy it!

Written by Liz Lipski, member of St Kilda Sings.

Pozible – Get Rewarded In More Ways Than One!

Get discounted With One BIG Voice concert tickets and some awesome rewards through our Pozible campaign! Click here to see how you can get involved!

Pozible is an online crowd funding platform that allows individuals to help fund creative projects and ideas, making great things possible.

Hurry – time is running out to get involved! Click here to help us reach our target and contribute to the With One BIG Voice concert – if we don’t reach our target, then we will receive none of the pledges made, and you miss out on discounted tickets!

Creative Universe Gala Dinner: Who Will You See There?

As part of the Creative Innovation Conference which features over 40 world class Australian and international keynote speakers, leaders, artists and thinkers, Creative Universe will be hosting a Gala Dinner.  We would like to invite all of Creativity Australia’s partners, members and supporters to book a table and be part of this very special evening.

The Gala Dinner will take place at the Sofitel Melbourne on Collins Grand Ballroom, and the fine food and wine will be complemented by outstanding entertainment; including Creativity Australia’s own Heidelberg and Melbourne Sings choirs, sensational Australian group Pot-Pourri (recently named Australian Event Entertainers of the Year) and brilliant pianist Stefan Cassomenos.

Aside from enjoying a spectacular evening, there will be chance to rub shoulders with a number of the Ci2012 keynote speakers, who will be attending the event as guests and hosting tables.  Imagine sharing a fantastic dinner with Baroness Susan Greenfield (UK), or having a drink with Google CTO Michael T. Jones (USA)!

The dinner will support Creativity Australia’s With One Voice program – supporting the running of our 13 choirs across Victoria, 1 in Sydney and 1 in Canberra.  To help us sustain and continue to grow the With One Voice choirs, join us at the Gala Dinner and feast your eyes on the marvellous entertainment, the fabulous food and the feeling of knowing you are a part of something great – when many diverse voices come together as “one voice” on a regular basis the outcomes are transformational!

Thursday 29th November
7.00 – 11.00pm
Sofitel Melbourne on Collins, Grand Ballroom
25 Collins Street, Melbourne

Individual tickets are $250 each (incl. a $150 tax-deductible donation) and Corporate Tables of 10 are $5,000 (incl. a $4000 tax-deductible donation)

Click here to book your tickets!

Song-Speak: Singing Your Way Back To Speaking

Imagine having just completed a 28 km run in preparation for a marathon; you’d be bursting with energy and vitality and feeling pretty much on top of the world. It’s hard to contemplate that world caving in but that’s precisely what happened to Tim Adam and his family two years ago when, without warning, he had a stroke. He woke up several weeks later, paralyzed on his right side and having lost the ability to speak. The latter condition, non-fluent aphasia, is a common byproduct of a stroke affecting the left frontal lobe of the brain, which is where the language and speech production faculties reside. Tim’s wife, Julie, thought she’d never hear Tim’s voice again until the day she walked into his hospital room and heard Tim singing along to a song on the radio. When Julie informed the staff neurologist of this incredible development, he matter-of-factly said, “It’s well known that music is on the other side of the brain.”

We humans take all kinds of things for granted. Most people know virtually nothing about the brain that controls every aspect of our being. Changing this and enhancing lives is at the heart of the Music, Mind and Wellbeing initiative, an interdisciplinary collaboration at the University of Melbourne that looks at the fascinating collisions of social import at the intersection of music, psychology and neuroscience. An abiding tenet is that music is central to human life, and in Find Your Singing Voice, the third public talk in the Music on the Mind series, Sarah Wilson, a neuropsychologist and the director of MMW, presented research findings that deepen an appreciation of what music and singing do for us.

When that staff neurologist matter-of-factly said that music is on the other side of the brain, he was saying that physically separate parts of the brain are concerned with music and language. Comparing the brain scans of individuals making sentences to the scans of their brains making melody, it is apparent that language ‘lives’ on the left and music ‘lives’ on the right but the regions are side-by-side and there is some degree of overlap. MMW has been carrying out clinical studies to explore how the overlap changes when the individual has different skills or training in vocal singing. What brain imaging tells us is that singing training does make a difference; singing becomes more specialized in the brain. With less training, there is more overlap, more activation at the front of the brain, as the individual is largely singing with their language network. With voice training, the singing network is developed and overlap is reduced. The key question then becomes this one: since singing training changes the brain, what can it do to change the brain after a brain injury? Can singing be used to bootstrap language networks when they have been severely damaged?

Following a therapy called Melodic Intonation, the stroke patient sings with words, intones with words then speaks those words, in face-to-face sessions with the researcher and practicing alone with DVD aides. After six weeks of this training, scans of Tim’s brain showed significant difference in brain function, the front of the brain activating in areas more associated with speech patterns in normal brains. It looks as though singing and voice training have figured in this and Tim and Julie certainly believe it has. In addition, they believe in the benefit of joining a choir and singing in a group. Tim has recently joined the Stroke A Chord choir and the members, who are all affected by aphasia, enjoy making music in each other’s enthusiastic and supportive company. Some members have not recovered their speech and particularly for them, “Where words fail, music speaks”(Hans Christian Andersen).

Written by Miriam Potter, member of Melbourne Sings.

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