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Sydney Sings Serenades Sydney Morning Herald

Following the Sydney Sings Soirèe, held at the Pitt St Uniting Church on Tuesday 28th August, we were featured in the Sydney Morning Herald.  Thanks to Malcolm Brown for coming along and reporting on the event!

‘CHARLES LEON, 52, one of the stolen generation, who grew up in children’s homes and with a foster family, might not have a lot to smile about but with the new community choir Sydney Sings, which had its inaugural public performance this week, there were plenty of smiles.

Mr Leon was born in Bellingen in 1960. He comes from the Biripi people on his mother’s side and the Warrami people on his father’s. He has come with his didgeridoo to accompany the choir when it joins in a worldwide song, Good Earth Singers, in December.

That is when community choirs all around the globe will use their mobile phones and apps to sing the one song, in succession at allocated times, and choristers using those devices will listen to their fellow singers in Nigeria, Russia, France …’  [Read]

Don’t forget to click for more photos and videos!

Arts & Health National Policy Underway

We were delighted to travel to Canberra last month to participate in the National Arts and Health Policy Forum. 

The Forum was attended by senior representatives of government arts and health agencies (including  exponents of arts and health. They included clinicians, researchers and academics, philanthropists, a number of members of the Arts and Health Working Group), and by many of Australia’s leading artists, senior health services personnel, consumer groups, Aboriginal health agencies, arts and disability organisations and community based arts and health advocates.

Those at the Forum provided advice to the Arts and Health Working Group on the possible content  and Health Policy Framework will lead to a more cohesive approach to knowledge sharing, sector and purpose of a National Arts and Health Policy Framework. They discussed how a National Arts development and increased resourcing for contemporary arts and health research and practice – with beneficial impacts on the health and wellbeing of the Australian community.The Forum bought leading artists, health professionals and policy writers together to in the nation’s capital to push for a National Arts and Health Policy.

Digital Showcase of leading arts and health practice from across the country demonstrates why it is so important to integrate the arts in Australia’s national health policy.

Read the Press Release from the forum working group.
Watch Simon Crean’s presentation
 to the Forum.
Download a copy of the National Arts and Health Policy Campaign Handbook to add your stories to this growing collection.

Written by Ewan McEoin.

Gilbert + Tobin Do Workplace Wellness

Adding to the strength of Sydney Sings, we are pleased to partner with Gilbert + Tobin Lawyers. It’s great to see this company giving their employees an opportunity to attend choir, to sing and mentor others.

According to the Black Dog Institute, we spend at least a third of our life, and half of our waking hours, at work.  It is important, therefore, to recognise whether we (and our fellow staff!) are satisfied at work, and to identify what aspects we are happy with and whether other aspects need attention.

What is wellbeing in the workplace?

The work of Professor Martin Seligman and other positive psychology pioneers clearly shows that what counts at work is generated by a workplace that:

• Encourages personal growth
•  Gives a sense of autonomy and confidence
• Promotes positive relationships with co-workers
• Fosters a clear sense of purpose and self-acceptance.
• The impact workplace wellbeing has on mental health is being increasingly recognised.

And so too is the power of group singing!

The With One Voice community choir program harnesses this power, our program provides organisations with many opportunities to improve the overall wellbeing of their workplace.

Gilbert + Tobin believe that involvement in our choir programs is an excellent strategy for their organisation to positively build the wellbeing within their workplace!

The diversity of our choir membership provides a great opportunity for Gilbert + Tobin staff to grow and extend their professional and community networks.

For more research on Workplace Wellness >> read more

To find out more about our Workplace Wellness program contact us.

What Are The Benefits of Art Therapy?

One soggy winter’s eve, a year ago, I was traveling home on the route 86 tram, enjoying the onboard human spectacle that is almost guaranteed on a Friday night after Happy Hour is over.  Two animated youngish women initiated a conversation with me and I was so caught up in it that I missed my stop.  We had been creating personalities and life stories for our fellow travellers: a look, a gesture, an article of clothing; these women had a sharp eye for detail and an uncanny ability to invent a seemly human context for it all.  As I said a hurried good-bye, one of the women squeezed my arm and said, “Hope you understand, we can’t help ourselves; we’re art therapists”.

What is art therapy? 
Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses art media as its primary mode of communication.  Most commonly, art therapy involves drawing or painting, but the artistic expression can also take place through photography, sculpture or ceramics.  All forms of art can embody ideas so the list of arts therapies available includes music therapy, dance movement therapy, poetry therapy and many more.  Professionals, trained in art and psychotherapy, develop interactive scenarios that connect with various aspects of the client’s whole person (mind, body, spirit) and using the creative process of art-making, work to improve and enhance the physical, mental and emotional well-being of individuals of all ages.

Clients may have a wide range of difficulties, disabilities or diagnoses including emotional, behavioral or mental health problems, learning or physical disabilities, life-limiting conditions, brain-injury or neurological conditions and physical illness.  Equally, clients may be on a journey of self-discovery and personal growth, wanting to reveal and revel in the unconscious realms of their being.  Through creating art and reflecting on the art products and processes, people can increase awareness of self and others, cope with symptoms, stress and traumatic experiences, enhance cognitive abilities, and enjoy the life-affirming pleasures of making art.

How did that chance encounter on the 86 tram last year lead me to explore this topic?  As I am a person who seems to forget the random events that others remember, recalling this one so clearly is remarkable (especially as I had been having a rather Happy Hour myself).  My explanation is that this incident is a marker along a route I had unknowingly been on for some time, one that brought me to a With One Voice choir, not at all aware that I was seeking solace but most definitely finding it.

Within each choir member, I can now see an art therapist, administering to his and her deeper needs and those of acquaintances, bridging gaps, constructing meaning and coherence, hope, acceptance, ambition and self-trust.  It happens individually and on a subconscious level but after an hour’s singing, the beneficial effects are clearly visible; cheeks and eyes are glowing and it’s an unbroken chain of happy faces traveling in a semi-circle, from the sopranos to the basses, just like a smile.

Written by Miriam Potter.

Brand New Songbook 2012 Has Arrived!

 

Creativity Australia is proud to present its first ever With One Voice Songbook!

The book is 50 pages in full colour, and contains lots of classic songs with contributions from all of the With One Voice conductors.

All registered choir members will receive a free copy once the choirs resume after the holidays.

With One Voice Welcomes Wellbeing!

We recently published an innovative guide to member well-being. Since our launch in 2009, the With One Voice Choir community choir programs have endeavoured to encourage diversity, build capacity and create opportunity within our community. With 12 choirs throughout Melbourne, and two newly launched interstate choirs in Canberra and Sydney, this program has always had an incredible scope for impact and has helped people from all walks of life ‘find their voice’.

This success has in turn lead to the expansion of the organisations reach, with various new programs and initiatives launching in 2012, including the implementation of the Wellbeing Initiative – a initiative that will see us improve our capacity to support, empower and encourage our members within and beyond choir rehearsals. (more…)

Introducing the Canberra Sings Choir

In partnership with the Canberra Hospital we launched Canberra Sings on May 14th. This new initiative aims to unlock creative potential, create wellness and build stronger connections between the staff and local Canberra community. Music is proven to have healing properties and we are delighted to fill the hospital with singing voices. Canberra Sings is open to all Canberra Hospital Staff, patients and anyone from the surrounding Canberra community. For more information and to get involved please see here or contact us.

Sydney Sings, Sydney Soars – Celebrate!

The Sydney Sings party, I mean choir, is great fun every week. Shannon and I have a ball. I don’t think it is possible to have a more diverse group of people, all just having fun, sharing great music together.

Each week is different, as we are still growing in numbers (I think we are up to 80!), learning new songs and singing oldies we all know and love. We sing from our hearts and with our whole body. It is all just good for the soul. We’ve even managed to sing in 3 part harmony last week. It’s sounding awesome!

The highlight for me however, is not only this wonderful music that we are singing, (especially as most of us were told “not to sing” or “go to the back of the choir”….) but the heart warming stories that we share.

Between songs, people tell their stories (not long ones…). We share little things about ourselves, our ancestors, people and things we love, our wishes, what we are grateful for, our favorite moments in our day, our lives.

And what stories we have to share. What resources we have to support each other with, and what a deep joy this brings.

One lady from the corporate community who is finally getting a kitten this weekend, and between the kitten and the choir, she says she has all the unconditional love she needs; another overseas member got a job offer thanks to another choir member, how great is that! We are still looking for ways to improve on golf swings…anyone, anyone?

Some of the favorite musical moments for our choir members include singing with Sydney Street Choir at the Opera House; a Bette Midler concert at Radio City in NYC in the 1980s; and an older member remembering back to when she was 3 years old, and coming out from under her blanket in her cot singing a butterfly song to herself.

And then we sing. This is why we sing…

We meet every Tuesday in the warm and inviting Pitt St Uniting Church at 5.30pm, new members are always welcome, just turn up; and a free Oz Harvest feast afterwards for all.

See you soon at Sydney Sings!

View some photos of Sydney Sings rehearsing here.

Written by Elizabeth Lecoanet.

Sydney Sings Launch and Gala Event

With the support of the Vincent Fairfax Foundation we launched our first social inclusion program in Sydney.  In April, Sydney Sings was launched at Price Waterhouse Coopers.

This unique program brings together diverse voices as ‘one voice’ to build harmony, wellbeing and jobs…from CEOs to asylum seekers. The event was hosted by Sydney PwC Manging Partner Joseph Carrozzi and Sydney Sings was launched in fine style by Malcolm Turnbull.

Founder of Creativity Australia Tania de Jong entranced the audience with her presentation and performance. Joining the chorus, the VIP guests included leaders from a range of different cultural and faith communities, recruitment, employment depression and disability services. Other guests included Carnival Australia chief Ann Sherry and Red Balloon Founder Naomi Simson, Danny Gilbert of Gilbert Tobin, Robin Crawford of Goodstart.

Sydney Sings rehearses weekly on Tuesdays at Pitt St Uniting Church. All are welcome to find their unique voice and help others.

With One BIG Voice Concert 2011

The beautiful sounds of 12 With One Voice choirs coming together as one was heard on Sunday November 27th, 2011 at the Melbourne Town Hall, for Creativity Australia’s annual With One BIG Voice concert.

All of the audience members in the packed out hall were swept away by the uplifting voices, and couldn’t resist clapping and singing along…with some even shedding a tear when listening to the choir participants’ inspirational stories.

It was a beautiful afternoon for all involved – congratulations to all!  Check out our photo gallery for more photos.

Watch the 300 voices come together to perform Toto’s ‘Africa’:

Sing For Your Supper – A Sensational Success

Thank-you so much to everyone who came along to the Sing For Your Supper Gala Dinner and made a the night so special.

Thank-you in particular to all those who generously made donations, bought raffle tickets or bid at the Auction. Our programs continue to exist because of you!

Thank you for supporting Creativity Australia at our major fundraising dinner ‘Sing for your Supper’ on 17 November 2011 at Regent Plaza Ballroom, Melbourne. CA raised over $120,000 to provide opportunities, wellbeing, skills and jobs for disadvantaged people through our With One Voice program.

This event, which was also the Gala Dinner for Creative Innovation 2011 attracted over 450 senior level corporates, members of government, international thought leaders, personalities, media commentators, philanthropists and their guests. Dinner guests included some of the world’s most influential minds such as Edward de Bono (UK), Raymond Kurzweil (USA), Daniel Dennett (USA), Brendan Boyle (USA), Paddy Miller (Spain) and many of Australia’s leading thinkers and innovators.

Sing For Your Supper Gala Dinner

Be entertained, uplifted and inspired at the event of the year!

Thursday November 17
Regent Plaza Ballroom
191 Collins Street, Melbourne
6.30pm for 7pm dinner

Enjoy outstanding food, wine and song with some of the world’s most influential minds including Edward de Bono (UK), Raymond Kurzweil (USA), Daniel Dennett (USA), Brendan Boyle (USA), Paddy Miller (Spain) and many of Australia’s leading thinkers, performers and innovators appearing at Creative Innovation 2011.

Rub shoulders with senior level corporates, members of government, personalities, media commentators and philanthropists while watching outstanding performances by Australia opera group Pot-Pourri, brilliant pianist Stefan Cassomenos and some of the With One Voice choirs, including Melbourne Sings. At the event we will offer some unique events and experiences.

This fundraising dinner is critical to our ability to deliver Creativity Australia’s With One Voice programs to those who need it most. The entry ticket for the Gala Dinner includes a fully tax-deductible donation. Your donation and support will help us in our mission to inspire people to find their voice and make a meaningful difference!

Click here to download the invitation and booking form.

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