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Hume Sings update

Hello Hume Singers,

Have you checked out our Pozible campaign?  Pozible is an online ‘crowdfunding’ website where individuals contribute to creative projects and ideas.  Click here to check out our campaign and help produce the With One BIG Voice concert, and earn some rewards for your contribution – including discounted With One BIG Voice concert tickets! Please pass the campaign on through your networks – time is running out!  If we don’t reach our target, then we will receive none of the pledges made – and you miss out on discounted tickets!!

With One BIG Voice update:
You can download a With One BIG Voice concert poster here.

Don’t forget the deadline for returning your ticket envelopes to your conductor is Monday 12th November.  If every member sells 3 tickets, then you’ll have a full house to perform to!

The Best Years Of My Life- Ray McAlary, Footscray Sings

Late last year my Fiancée, Denise, and I were invited by friends to attend the ‘With One BIG Voice’ Concert at Melbourne Town Hall. We were singing with a Community Choir at the time but that Choir had lost its direction and no longer was fulfilling our needs. We left the Town Hall that day with a firm commitment to be part of the family that is ‘With One Voice.’

What inspired us, apart from the beautiful music, was hearing the stories of Choir members of how the program changed their lives, gave new Migrants a place where they were included, helped struggling people find the education and employment they needed to fulfil their lives, and treated all people equally.

My background has included 32 years helping people find jobs, specialising in the employment of Migrants and people with Disabilities. I have involved myself in Community Organisations for many years. Denise has a talent for including lonely and needy people in her life. Here was a beacon shining its light for us. We joined ‘Footscray Sings.’

Singing has been part of my life as long as I remember. I love to sing solo or in groups. As a Choir, there is the added advantage of performing and brightening the lives of people for whom we perform. I get a buzz out of creating enjoyment for others. If I can make a slight change in the lives of other people, I have made my life worthwhile.

‘Footscray Sings’ is a very happy, friendly group that includes anyone who comes along. We have people from various Ethnic backgrounds, and a wide age spectrum. What binds us together is the love of singing. Our Conductor, Bridget, is an effervescent person who brings out the best in us without seeming to push us hard, but we learn things very quickly. I love this atmosphere as Bridget’s upbeat style helps me to bring out the best in myself and challenge myself to achieve more in my music.

I think the main benefit I get from Footscray Sings is good mental health. Whatever worries I have in life seem to disappear while I am with the Choir, either singing or chatting over supper. When I leave the Choir I seem to take extra strength with me that will help me deal with any problems that arise. I am inspired by members of the Choir who have their health problems, but contribute to the Choir as if there is nothing wrong in their lives. We follow up on members who have not come for a few weeks in case there is something we can do to help them. One of our members was recently in Hospital for a long stretch. When we found out where she was, one of the members went to see her with a gift, and a card signed by all the Choir. Just a little thing but it says, “We care for you.”

Since joining ‘Footscray Sings’ I have embarked on a Charity Fundraising project that has been on my back burner for nine years. I had wondered if I was capable of fulfilling my dream. Since joining ‘Footscray Sings’ I feel that I am capable of achieving anything I am prepared to put my mind to. If others leading harder lives than mine can achieve, so can I.

I love my Choir. I love the Creativity Australia program. These are the best years of my life.

Written by Ray McAlary.

Moved By Music: Is It What You Think?

If you think Melbourne is marvellous (I do), it could be because Melbourne is both mindful and musical. By mindful, I mean that this city is serious about exploring all aspects of our world, trying to understand how things work so they can be made to work better for us, its inhabitants. Applying those insights has certainly helped Melbourne develop into the World’s Most Livable City and it’s not by chance that music figures strongly in Melbourne life. We all know music is important to wellbeing but there’s much yet to learn about the precise ways the two are linked. Some groundbreaking research into this complex relationship is going on here in marvellous Melbourne. There’s University of Melbourne’s Music, Mind & Wellbeing initiative (MMW), linking neuroscience with music and social wellbeing through collaborations across the music, science, health, education, and industry domains. And at the Melbourne Recital Centre, the Music On The Mind series contemplates the relationship between music, the human brain and the human experience from several interesting angles.

The latest lecture in the Music On The Mind series is Moved by Music, which was delivered by Professor Jane Davidson on September 25th. Davidson presented an arsenal of information to stimulate thinking about musical performance and the movements that musicians make. The talk opened with videos of spontaneous musical play and movement ‘culture lessons’ in South Africa, one of the many societies where there is no word in the language to distinguish music from movement. Music and rhythm optimize performance and synchronization of tasks, so in an ensemble, how does individual artistic expression work? Davidson suggests that expressive gesture, the movements that musicians make in the process of making music, is the key. Expressive gestures are readable, shareable, distinctive and necessary. To make a musical sound involves some movement, additional movement is the expressive component or gesture that often conveys an intention. This is something unique to an individual that other musicians and audience members must recognize, decode and internalize. Davidson introduced musical expression studies that seem to indicate this is precisely what happens. Davidson concedes that the academic researcher’s explanation is only partial because the more we learn, the more questions there are to be asked about what remains unexplained. A well-known jazz musician was more pragmatic when he said that movement simply helps get the music out. And perhaps it’s the same situation in reverse on the receiving end; the toe tapping helps the listener to get the music in. What we know without a doubt is that’s hard not to be moved by music and that thinking about it makes us understand a lot more about ourselves in the world.

The next lecture in the series is Find Your Singing Voice:
What happens in the brain when we sing? Singing and speaking are our two main forms of communicating with sound yet we still know very little about how they are related in the brain. This presentation reviews what we do know about the brain when we sing, speak, or sing with words. The findings are important for understanding how the brain changes with singing training, and how we can use singing to retrain the brain to speak after injury.

Written by Miriam Potter.

ADEC “One Destination: Different Journeys” Forum

Action on Disability within Ethnic Communities (ADEC) is proud to announce their upcoming Mental Health Forum “One Destination: Different Journeys” on the 17th of October 2012 at Bell City Event Centre, Preston.

The forum will explore and acknowledge the importance of beliefs, cultural practices and traditions dealing with mental illness and well being within ethnic communities. Consumers and carers from ethnic backgrounds will share their lived experiences during the session. The forum will showcase some of the cultural practices and highlight their importance to people from different communities. An Expo of Mental Health and Multicultural Services will also be on display.

The forum will also feature a range of speakers, including Karen Toohey Acting Commissioner – Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission, Mr Arnold Zable – Award winning Australian writer, educator and human rights advocate, and consumers and carers, from culturally and lingusic diverse backgrounds.

You can register here, or download a flyer here.

ADEC aims to empower people with disabilities from ethnic backgrounds, their carers and families to fully participate as members of the Victorian community, ensuring that service systems are inclusive and responsive to their needs.

Contact ADEC for further information about their services or the Forum here.

Sorghum Sisters Support St Kilda Sings

Pictured L-R: Souzet, Samya, Nina, Nuria and Rahma in the Sorghum Sisters Kitchen

We are proud to announce that thanks to AMES Social Enterprise, the ever-popular Sorghum Sisters will be providing the St Kilda Sings choir with supper! The sell-out Sorghum Sisters special dining events as part of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival have added to their reputation for quality food and great services, providing a mix of modern and classic Horn of Africa cuisine.

The pioneering Sorghum Sisters was founded in 2005, and comprise of Siti Ibrahim, Nuria Khalil and Rahma Ibrahim, all of whom were refugees from the Horn of Africa. Aside from providing an excellent catering service, the Sorghum Sisters are constantly involved in a diverse range of local community projects – including a offering a 12 month traineeship in Certificate II in Hospitality, provide Injera bread for local African communities and make healthy (and tasty!) lunches for the Carlton and South Brunswick Primary Schools.

The Sorghum Sisters not only prepare incredible meals, but also work tirelessly to preserve the traditional recipes, which have been handed down through the generations!  The recipes have never been written down, but have been lovingly taught by grandmothers and mothers over time.  The Sisters cook as their grandmothers did, preparing and cooking everything from scratch, again proving the dedication the Sisters have to sharing truly authentic and delicious food – cooked from the heart.

Welcome aboard, Sorghum Sisters!

With One BIG Voice 2012 – Tickets on Sale!!

You’re sitting in the dark.

There isn’t a sound to be heard until the pitter-patter of rain begins.

Lights flash before your eyes, and that gentle pitter-patter turns into a deep, thunderous rumble. The lights continue to flash and your eyes dart left to right, madly trying to find the source of that rumble.

Those brief flashes of light slowly turn into one continuous glow, and as your eyes begin to focus, the voices stream from across the room and come together as one, singing the opening lines of Toto’s Africa…You may need to see it to believe it.

Suddenly you hurtle back down to earth, safe from the thunder inside the Melbourne Town Hall and gaze at the 400 singers before you.

When was the last time you stopped to listen to someone’s story? Join us at Creativity Australia’s annual With One BIG Voice concert and be inspired by the uplifting voices of over 400 people, the emotional stories and timeless songs from our 14 With One Voice choirs from Melbourne and Sydney. Listen as the choir members tell their stories – proving that there is always far, far more to any person than what meets the eye.

Need more? Click here to read more about last years concert, and have a look at our video gallery and photo gallery!

When: Sunday December 2nd
Time: 3.30 – 6.00pm
Where: Melbourne Town Hall, 90/120 Swanston Street Melbourne 3000

Click here to get your tickets today!

Download the Press Release here.

CREATIVE INNOVATION 2012 Asia Pacific Gala Dinner

Creative Universe will soon be hosting the acclaimed Creative Innovation Conference which features over 40 world class Australian and international keynote speakers, leaders, artists and thinkers. Ci2012 takes place 28-30 November at Sofitel Melbourne On Collins under the title “Wicked Problems, Great Opportunities! Leadership and Courage for Volatile Times”.

One of the highlights will be a Gala Dinner, which will take place at the Sofitel Melbourne On Collins Grand Ballroom, and will feature fine food and wine and outstanding entertainment including sensational Australian group Pot-Pourri (recently named Australian Event Entertainers of the Year), brilliant pianist Stefan Cassomenos and a number of Creativity Australia’s With One Voice Choirs including Melbourne Sings. A number of the Ci2012 keynote speakers will attend the event as guests and host tables.

The dinner will support Creativity Australia’s With One Voice program assisting migrants, the unemployed and those with disabilities and depression to find their voice, build skills, improve employability and enhance community wellbeing. When many diverse voices come together as “one voice” on a regular basis the outcomes are transformational!

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.

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! 

Sowing Seeds – A Feature On Shaun Islip

I love stories. I believe in the idea of stories being able to show us what it means to be human. One person’s story can be unique and very different from our own and yet its deeper meanings we know and feel in our bones. I think that is universally true; we can all understand another’s personal experience in some important and mutually enriching way. Shaun Islip, our fearless choirmaster, participates in an interview.

Miriam: We probably all have little stories that family or friends like to trot out and tell about us. Sometimes they capture something about our true character that was clearly evident at an early age. Do you have a story like that?

Shaun: Not exactly but there’s a recent experience I’ve had that I think is that kind of a story. When I was 8 or 9, my mum enrolled me in a church choir, in Durban, South Africa. The choirmaster introduced us to all kinds of beautiful religious works and I built up a huge background that embedded itself through music. It wasn’t until my late 20s that my faith firmed but looking back now, I see that the seeds had been sown at an early age. I didn’t stay in contact with the choirmaster but just a few weeks ago, I went to tea at the home of a cellist I have come to know. She is from South Africa and I told her about seeds being sown through my choir experience and she talked about her dad and his church, St Paul’s in Durban. It turned out that her dad and my choirmaster were one and the same. I realised I was carrying the mantle and it was now me who was sowing seeds. It was confirmation and affirmation of who I am and my mission.

Miriam: When did you know that music was going to be something of defining importance to you and what form did that realisation take?

Shaun: Music has always been a big part of my life. It is a precious gift that I never take for granted. I have experienced and observe daily its power to unite, to uplift, to bring joy, inspiration, healing and hope. It is such a privilege to help others discover and enjoy this amazing gift for themselves.

Miriam: What would be one of your favourite sayings? Does it influence how you face challenges?

Shaun: It would be a saying by a Christian martyr who reached out to a tribe and who ultimately was killed by that tribe. He said, “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep in order to gain what he cannot lose.” This is about the promise of Eternal Life, in the face of all the questions for which mankind has no answer. These words are a source of strength and reassurance; they reaffirm where I am going so I can help others through encouragement, inspiration and care. I am sowing seeds of hope in the footsteps of my choirmaster, Errol Slatter.

Written by Miriam Potter, and thank you to Shaun Islip.

One Reason To Turn ‘You Can’t’ Into ‘I Will’

The memory of being shouted at by my choir conductor at age 8 and being told to leave the choir is not one I’ve forgotten – I can still picture her – red flaming hair, high uplifted brows and a (shrill) voice that could render a room silent in seconds.

She was the musical director at my primary school, and had a very strong notion of how she wanted her choir to sound..and if you didn’t meet that requirement, then you would be forced to leave, disgraced. So it was just me and a group of boys whose voices had broken who were left unwanted, unable to participate because we simply weren’t good enough for this award winning choir. Countless students would leave the dreaded rehearsals in tears or utterly disenchanted – there was no fun in choir, it was an hour and a half a week where one would expect to be belittled, screamed at and humiliated.

Because of Mrs K, I still can’t quite comprehend the joy that I see on the With One Voice singers’ faces – a small part of me still expects that awful woman to burst in at any moment and to start screaming. The truly amazing thing about these choirs is that the singers are there 100% on their own free will – no one has marched them there – they loyally come every week and want to stay for as long as possible. Being carefully and lovingly guided by conductors who are there to make a difference creates a certain atmosphere that can’t be described – a home away from home, a sanctuary where the rest of the world melts away. The energy and pure happiness that fills the room is something that needs to be seen to be believed; previous to visiting some of the With One Voice choirs, I never thought that singing could be such an uplifting exercise, nor did I believe the tales of the euphoric effect of singing.

So my message is for anyone out there who has been told that they shouldn’t, or that they can’t – don’t listen to the dragonlady conductor, because you’re missing out on a truly authentic choir experience. No – you’re missing out on one of the purest forms of joy. And why would you deprive yourself of happiness?

Written by Paige Klimentou.

Sydney Sings Soirée A Success!

On Tuesday 28th August, conductors Elizabeth Lecoanet and Shannon Brown hosted a special soirée for Sydney Sings, celebrating their debut performance – the doors to the Pitt St Uniting Church were opened to the public, who joined the choir in an open rehearsal, enjoyed a performance and then shared supper with the choir.

The Soirée was attended by Sydney Morning Herald reporter, Malcolm Brown, who later reported on the event. The Soirée was a huge success – congratulations to the Sydney Singers.  Elizabeth was  interviewed on the ABC Radio PM Program, and Tania de Jong AM was also featured on 702 ABC Radio Sydney.

Please click here for some more photos and videos of the evening – congratulations to all involved!

Sydney Sings is always welcoming new members – why not visit them at the Pitt St Uniting Church on Tuesdays at 5.30 – 6.45pm?

Deakin Staff and Students Celebrate Launch!

In partnership with Deakin University, we proudly launched Deakin Sings on August 27th with over 90 staff and students in attendance!

Enthusiastically led by conductor Adrian Portell, the group quickly found themselves establishing new friendships and connections – you can see by the photos and video that a great time was had by all.

We’re looking forward to seeing the choir grow – perhaps a staff/student sing-off is on the cards!

Deakin Sings is open to all Deakin University staff, students and is soon to be open to anyone from the surrounding Burwood Community. For more information and to get involved please see here or contact us.

For an interview with John Devereaux , Executive Director of Student Life at Deakin University Burwood click here.

John Deveraux Delights at Deakin Sings

Creativity Australia’s Program Manager, Kathlin Mayer, conducted an interview with John Deveraux, Executive Director of Student Life at Deakin University Burwood, discussing the recent launch of the newly formed Deakin Sings choir. Thanks to John for taking the time to chat – we hope to see you having a sing soon!

Why did you choose to set up a choir at Deakin Burwood?
Having seen Creativity Australia’s choirs rehearse and perform at Melbourne Sings, I saw it as a great engagement opportunity to enhance and expand student to student, student to staff and staff to student relationships. We have a variety of community building programs at Deakin and saw this as an interesting and exciting opportunity to build upon what we already offer. There are also clear benefits for students who do not speak English as their first language.

What attracted you to engage Creativity Australia?
I was impressed with Creativity Australia’s professional approach, their access to conductors and overall expertise. Primarily their philosophy matched our objectives of creating connections and coming together with one voice around singing. We like it that Creativity Australia is not aiming to establish elite choirs, rather to create an opportunity for people to establish and strengthen relationships.

What would you see as a successful outcome of the program?
It will be important to maintain and grow the number of members, expand the breadth of participants to include a broad spectrum of students and staff, and eventually to open the choir to the general community.

You can see Deakin Sings in action here!  Join them on Mondays, 5:00 – 6:30pm at Deakin University Burwood Campus, Richard Searby Room HD2.006, 221 Burwood Highway, Burwood.

Deakin University really loves their choirs – Geelong Sings rehearses at the Deakin University Waterfront Campus!

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