People With A Disability · Creativity Australia
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People With A Disability

Annabel’s Story

“I have cerebral palsy and walk with elbow crutches. I also use a mobility scooter to get to where I need to go. I am passionate about singing and joined the program to meet new people and improve my networks. The With One Voice choirs enable members to meet other people who they wouldn’t normally meet. If I met someone who was struggling with something, I would encourage them to come to the With One Voice program because it will help them to forget their worries for a short time each week. They will find people in the program who will accept them for who they are and could even help change their lives for the better, even in the smallest way.

I had been looking for work for six years. I made a wish for help with my resume and then I managed to find a job in a call centre.  Unfortunately, I was sacked from that job after eight weeks even though I tried hard to do everything they asked.  I mentioned at choir that I had just been sacked from my job and my wish was to find a good ongoing job. That night I was introduced to a woman who had been invited to the choir by Tania. She said she might be able to help me with some voluntary work.

I called her and she offered me paid work! I have now been working with her for 36 months – the longest time I have had a job. I am so excited! I volunteered as choir member support officer because I wanted to give back to a community that has given me so much.

I now also earn enough money to sponsor another disadvantaged person to be part of this life-changing program. Choir has changed my life.” Annabel, With One Voice Melbourne

“We had a few new people including a young man with an intellectual disability who remained quiet for most of the session, however when I started singing the chorus to ‘Running Up That Hill’ by Kate Bush, he broke out in a huge smile and threw his arms in the air. He was mouthing the words and clearly knew it and loved it… it was a lovely moment in the room.” Conductor

“I have been a member of the Ashburton With One Voice choir for a couple of years now. I am a quadriplegic who leads a very busy and varied lifestyle. I go to lots of theatre, opera, musical recitals, lectures, multicultural events, ect. My patronage of theatre, dance, music ect has led me to be selected on panels regarding disability and venues around Melbourne. However despite all of this, my life changed when I found the joy of sharing the singing, laughter and general community involvement of the With One Voice choir. I have tried to promote the choir in my way ever since.” Judithe Beardon

“My name is Dean Anthony Scholte, I was born in Melbourne on 18/2/71. We moved to Geelong area in pre-school. I suffered a mental illness at 15. I went to Queenscliff high, I only left school because of the mental illness. Since my illness I have not joined 1 positive group. I used to play football and scouts. I started working at Encompass as a cleaner, from there I was asked to join the choir, With One Voice Geelong. At first I did not want to join the choir, at first I only said yes to the people that cared about me.

Since I have been in the choir, I have always thoroughly enjoyed it. All the people are good and kind. It has been a couple of years. I was asked to write a short story on myself in the choir, and this is it.

I don’t really know what I get out of choir, but I do wish to study music further. The choir altogether is excellent. It is great, I always look forward to going to choir.” Dean Scholte

—-“I have typed up Dean’s testimony, as he wrote it down by hand. Dean has always been with us and he is a fantastic guy, and I know that his illness is serious. I find his testimony very moving in its honesty, and more so when looking at the handwritten version.” Kym Dillon, With One Voice Geelong Conductor

“Thank you!! For all the wonderful opportunities you have provided for community involvement, sharing, inspiration, self development and the chance to make new friends. What I have gained through being involved with Creativity Australia has been such an incredible support to me. The people I have met have been very friendly and I’ve had a lot of fun and learnt new skills. I am living with a chronic condition and to be able to be involved and participate has really helped me to cope this year.’ Vikki

Peter: “Beth, why do you come to choir?”
Beth: “Freedom, independence and a sense of belonging, because I feel like I don’t belong anywhere else. I do belong here. At choir no one sees my wheelchair. They see me, as a person.” Beth Barnard, member of With One Voice Melbourne

“I hope you have received many congratulations on the lovely evening that was the gala dinner at the Sofitel. We all loved it and I am confident anyone who knows any of us, knows about Melbourne Sings. Thanks for your vision, energy and creativity which, as one of my friends wrote, has given Beth the experience of inclusion, friendship, independence, respect and an opportunity to practise and perform – it is to be celebrated on all levels.” Rhonda Deed, the aunt of Beth, who has cerebral palsy and comes to With One Voice Melbourne

Vancy: “We met in the choir last week and this is our second time meeting. I feel very surprised and pleased that I can make such a good friend in choir. This is the most important reason for me to come.”
Beth: “This choir is extremely important because I’m in a wheelchair. This is why I need friends because I can’t do anything for myself. I can’t feed myself, I can’t do it without friends.”
Vancy, from Guangzhou, and Beth – both members of With One Voice Melbourne

“To me With One Voice Melbourne is a group where we can all sing together and experience the joy of singing in a group.  I love and enjoy coming each and every week to rehearse with With One Voice Melbourne.  The choir for me are a source of strength, encouragement, support in every way, that is emotionally, spiritually, physiologically, cognitively etc.  I have been, have had to and am dealing with issues to do with family and home and a friend from With One Voice Greater Dandenong keeps reminding me to stay strong. I also play songs on my computer or mp3 player: “Lean On Me” and “Keep Smiling, Keep Shining” which for me personally have truly been a source of strength in many and different ways throughout my life.” Bianca Nolan, vision impaired member of With One Voice Melbourne

“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

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