Migrants, Refugees & People Of Diverse Faiths
“My name is Ai Shibata. I’m from Japan, studying English. I came to Brisbane in March 2016 because I got a 2-year-holiday from my company – an advertising agency in Tokyo. I have experience in choirs in Japan as well.
I’ve taken part in the With One Voice Brisbane since I came to Australia. (It’s in Brisbane and Melbourne.) It has been an amazing, fantastic and brilliant experience. When I joined the WOV Brisbane I was highly impressed. I thought “What a fantastic program!” And I would love to introduce this fabulous choir in Japan, too.” Ai Shibata, December 2017
“I would like to thank more than any words can describe Tania de Jong, Peter Kronborg and Creativity Australia for helping to save my son’s life. You have given up your own time to help a young Chinese person suffering from depression to find his way in the world. He now has a promising future. This organisation makes disadvantaged people like me feel powerful. You represent the whole image of Australia as caring and inclusive to people of all backgrounds. With One Voice Melbourne is like our family and you have given us so much love and joy. We will never forget it.” Xiao Rong, a member of With One Voice Melbourne from China
Now a pensioner, Rosie came to Australia from Croatia for a better life many years ago. She has no family in Australia. Her support worker heard about With One Voice and accompanied Rosie to the Harmony Day performance in Collins Place. Rosie was immediately captivated, attended the very next With One Voice Melbourne rehearsal and has attended weekly ever since. Rosie describes the With One Voice Melbourne choir sessions as how she imagines heaven to be – filled with all walks of life, all getting along, all welcoming of each other, all inspired by each other. “I am alone, I have no family in Australia, I never married. Believe me, this choir means so much to me. This choir is next to God for me. It has brought so much joy into my life.”
“For my first six months in Australia, I was quite isolated because I was sad about what had happened to me and my family. I had no family or friends here and it was very hard for me to adjust. The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre was looking after me and they told me about singing in the choir. I love arts and music, but I’ve never had the chance to sing because there are many fundamentalists in Afghanistan and we weren’t allowed. I have been thinking about human emotions in cultural diversity and how all the emotions are here in a single choir. The beauty of singing is that it lifts you up and keeps you going.’’ Abrar, member of With One Voice Melbourne and Afghani refugee
“I have had a spinal operation and since the operation I felt cut off from the rest of the world. My days were filled with unhappiness, that was until I joined the With One Voice Melbourne choir and was embraced by compassion and love of truly compassionate people, such as yourself. Now, I am happy. I can use my voice, my whole heart to thank all of those people who have helped create this wonderful organisation.” Xiao Rong Nheu, member of With One Voice Melbourne
“I always regard singing as a way to express your feeling because people say that your voice is the reflection of your soul. Every time I come I sing very happily. [We] open our hearts and make friends. [It] makes your life rich and also this is a means for us to mix together with Australian society which is very important.” Diana, Chinese migrant, member of With One Voice Melbourne and resident of Collingwood/Fitzroy estate
“I always loved singing, especially in choirs, because of the interactions between different parts. I just love it. This choir unites a special spirit that uplifts and motivates. I really like that feeling of being around positive people.” Lu, member of With One Voice Melbourne and international student from China
“At Christmas Island at the detention centre, with my friends I was always singing. We believe a tradition in West Papua if we keep singing … all our prayers will be answered. It makes everyone happy. We’re not just laughing. It expresses from the heart through the body. It makes everyone come together.” Adolf, member of With One Voice Melbourne and refugee from West Papua
“I am originally from Jakarta, Indonesia. I came to Melbourne nine months ago, alone. Imagine coming to a foreign country in a different culture, all by yourself without your family and your friends. Imagine if not only you were alone, but also just a young little girl in a big, big secular country, when you’re wearing head scarves like this. The first few weeks were a bit hard.
I was feeling lonely, I was feeling a bit isolated, I was missing home. Then a friend at the office asked if I would be interested to check out a choir. I was like… oh well, I don’t think I can sing. But I am glad I could come to rehearsal because I got to meet this beautiful people here. I found a home away from home. We all come from all walks of life, and it feels just like a family. It’s true that it is the music that brings us together but really its so much more than that.
It’s about sharing the joy, the love, the beautiful things in life. Imagine if you could go every week, free yourself of all your troubles, to actually find the time to celebrate the beauty of life and to appreciate wonderful people around you. Imagine if you could do that every week, wouldn’t you just be happier? Because I am! There is happiness around and I want to share it. That is why I sing; this is why we sing.” Elok, member of With One Voice Melbourne and immigrant from Indonesia
“Thank you for the opportunity to participate in the choir and to have this wonderful experience. Last time I was forced to sing in the school choir about 45 years ago back in Ukraine. As I mentioned, my son is getting married next month and there are many thoughts in my head about this upcoming event. Singing in the choir took me from earth and moved above. I was relaxed, warm and felt that I am just flying, and for an hour of singing all thoughts have disappeared. What a great way to re-charge the energy.” Klaudia, member of With One Voice Melbourne