With One Voice END OF YEAR CAMPAIGN 2020
Can you help us keep the lights on through these challenging times? If so…
We need your support to re-open, re-start and begin re-connecting our communities.
At a time when we most needed music to lift our spirits, our life-changing community choir programs had to close their doors to all members and unfortunately even to our most vulnerable members.
In light of the current more positive outlook, our choirs are uniquely placed to be critical drivers of the re-connection and re-invigoration of all the communities we operate in. What better place to celebrate and congregate again than a With One Voice Choir?
This means we really have our work cut out for us as many States begin to adjust to their new normal and our programs ramp up again. By being able to pivot to online sessions, our life-changing programs have continued to provide a sense of belonging and sense of ‘family’ to those who have neither. Now, we are getting ready to meet again in person, as soon as Government recommendations permit.
We will be reconvening at least 32 choirs in February 2021, providing critical social outlets and vital well-being opportunities for almost 2000 people, which is no small undertaking. Covid has changed the landscape and we must ensure our choirs are places which are well-managed, enjoyable and, of course, safe.
Your donation today will help our Staff, Conductors and Local Committees get our choirs back to singing and literally back to ‘changing the world…one voice at a time’.
WHY WE SING
Creativity Australia is building a happier, healthier, more inclusive nation. We bridge the gap between people experiencing disadvantage and those more fortunate through the neuro-scientific benefits of group singing. We build supportive networks helping people connect to brighter futures.
We break down the traditional silos of the social welfare sector through programs that unite people and encourage them to support one another, rather than relying on top-down services. This reduces the cost of welfare and improves the outcomes for people experiencing disadvantage, giving them self esteem, new skills, networks and a sense of belonging, both financially and mentally.
Your donation today will support hundreds of lonely and isolated people to participate in our life-changing programs in 2021.
We need you. Your gift will change lives.
Thank you in advance
Tania de Jong AM
FOUNDER and CHAIR
Lady Marigold Southey AC
Professor Allan Fels AO
Hugh Morgan AC
Rosie Lew AM
2020 a year of hardships and hope
2020 started like any other year for our With One Voice Brisbane program: full of excitement and positivity after a very successful 2019. In February the choir increased its membership significantly and had many, many new guests come through the doors. March held a similar enthusiasm.
Then in late March the program was stopped in its tracks by Covid-19 along with all our other 30+ programs around the Nation.
Passing on the devastating news to our almost 2000 members was difficult. There were real concerns about the potential health issues the projected isolation and restrictions could cause or exacerbate.
We were committed to making sure we offered solutions and inspiration during these difficult times.
Within a week of officially closing ALL our programs, we were LIVE in people’s lounge rooms. Delivering 15 live sessions weekly via Facebook live on our online platform – “WOV LiveStream”
Brisbane’s Conductors, Cath Mundy and her partner in life and music, Jay Turner, embraced our new normal with a vigour and energy that simply brought people with them.
On March 24 their first live session has 242 people sing along and had a post reach of more than 1100. They delivered 23 weeks of LIVE sessions from their lounge room reaching more than 15,000 people. They even provided an amazing session during their family holiday in Cairns.
RETURN TO CITY HALL
Due to Queensland achieving zero cases in the community during July, WOV Brisbane made plans for a Trial Run at City Hall on 29 July with a view to the maximum allowed number of choristers (4 square metres per person) coming in the following week 5 Aug. This was scuppered on Wed 29 July when it was announced that two people had returned to Brisbane from Melbourne without quarantining and were positive for C19 having been out and about in the community for 8 days while contagious.
The return was held off and over the next two weeks, it looked like Qld had “dodged a bullet” when the expected results of escalating community transmission didn’t occur. The committee had a Zoom meeting and decided to reschedule the Trial Run for Wed 26 Aug and the following week 2 Sept for “full” numbers attending. Seventeen people were to attend the trial run.
As fate would have it, an infection cluster based around staff at a detention facility in Wacol in Brisbane’s south-west then reared its ugly head. In response on Sat 22 Aug, Qld Health brought in a rule limiting gatherings indoors and outdoors to 10 people maximum, unless you were a business/organisation with a C19 Safe Industry Plan.
They thought we might still be able to go ahead with the planned trial run 26 Aug.
But because their Choir Industry Plan had not been ratified by the government as yet, Brisbane City Hall wouldn’t allow them have more than 10 people. This was even though WOV Brisbane had signed up to the City Hall venue C19 Safe Event checklist.
They went ahead on 26 Aug at City Hall with just 10 people. Here is a reaction to the first human experience;
“So wow, tonight for the first time in 6 months, Jay and I ran a choir rehearsal in a room with, wait for it …. OTHER people in it. Just a small band of eight choristers (keeping with current restrictions) but still… ACTUAL REAL CHORISTERS!
It was just a practise run for us and our volunteer admin team at putting our With One Voice Brisbane C19 safety plan into practise at our venue in the Brisbane City Hall. Our team was super organised; and it ran very smoothly.
Even though all were spaced out massively throughout our big venue, we still had a fantastic time.”
WOV Brisbane have just got the green light from City Hall to begin rehearsals with up to 40 members participating, which is fabulous news! They will continue to follow protocols and deliver a safe and welcoming environment as they work towards a full choir rehearsal – hopefully in the not too distant future.
What have the With One Voice Live Streams and Zoom sessions meant to you?
When Covid struck the weekly Zoom sessions brought us all back together as one. We could still enjoy the company of others and we were actually able to get to know each other better and share stories even though we were physically apart.
I really enjoyed the nightly live stream sessions with all the different conductors from across Australia, I didn’t know there were so many of them. I got to meet members from all around Australia online and also all around the world – it’s like having global pen pals. It was great to connect to people everywhere who enjoy song, something I’ve never been able to do before. What does it mean to be part of the With One Voice Brisbane Volunteer Team?
When I was growing up, I was separated from everyone. I feel like I’m part of a team now and if I can do my bit and help out, I like that very much. It’s a nice feeling to be part of a team. Everyone knows me now! It’s a lovely feeling.
What is it that made you want to join With One Voice Brisbane?
My big sister brought me along with her, she knew what I was going through. When I came along to that first rehearsal, I felt like I was accepted and everyone embraced me. I’ve never experienced being embraced in my whole life. That night, I went away happy and I thought, ‘I’ve got to go back, I have to get happy’.
What did it feel like coming back together as a choir in-person?
Relief. Such relief. I loved the Zoom and also the Live Stream but I missed the connection in the room. Even though we are spaced out, we’re still a choir, hearing each other’s voices and being physically together and there’s nothing like it.
In short what does With One Voice Brisbane mean to you?
“I am absolutely stoked and speechless that my spotlight performance at WOV Brisbane’s Christmas Concert, moved so many people, even to tears and a standing ovation!
I chose Miley Cyrus’ ‘The Climb’ because I was born with Cerebral Palsy, and from birth I spent months in hospital ICU due to massive complications, docs didn’t think I’d make it.
Thank you to my beautiful choir teacher and mentor, Cath for helping me with this and my choir family for believing in me.
My experience in this choir has been absolutely incredible, considering that I have a background of severe anxiety and I know I couldn’t have done all the things I’ve done in my almost 1 year of being in this beautiful choir without the support of everyone involved in WOV Brisbane.”
‘We bridge the gap between people experiencing disadvantage and those more fortunate through the neuro-scientific benefits of community singing.‘ (CA)
“On joining WOVB in April 2014, I was taken by the ethos of CA, but curious and a bit skeptical as to how this would play out. Moreover, it became evident that those among us experiencing disadvantage, were enjoying what for most was the highlight of their week. Personally, the participation and associated friendships formed thus has also enriched my life and no doubt that of the choir as a whole.
Until now, this phenomena has been for me one of appreciation with the process of which I was beginning to take for granted. However, from witnessing the WOV’s Got Talent and in particular the dance exhibited by Nakinna Atkins and Hayleigh Farlow, my attitude has now gone up a gear and bought it all back home. Those two young ladies epitomised that ethos, for themselves and those others in our choir.
It is also important to highlight Cath Mundy’s role in all of this over the past six years or so. Cath has that unique insight into people which provides all choir members the same degree of welcome and inclusion without any hint of patronising…….all members regard ourselves on the same level from day one. It follows that the neuro-scientific benefits take it from there, to the extent that WOVB hold it’s own with any community choir in Brisbane. In my words……”we are a bunch of ordinary voices who, being well led, produce an extraordinary sound”.
Thank you for the privilege.”
Statistics before the Covid crisis showed that 2 in 5 people feel socially isolated and unheard, with 1 in 5 people experiencing a mental illness. These statistics have escalated during this pandemic with 4 in 5 Australians saying their mental health has deteriorated. Isolation leads to serious mental and physical health issues and great economic disadvantage.
With your support we can change this. Creativity Australia’s award-winning With One Voice program connects communities and helps save and change lives. The With One Voice model is ground-breaking, it brings the fortunate and the marginalised together as ONE community to reduce inequality.
We use the neuro-scientific benefits of group singing to build supportive communities, reaching thousands of people through our programs in seven states. Swinburne University research showed 98% of participants experienced less stress, 91% improved social bonds and 66% feel less depressed.
For some, weekly choir rehearsals are their ONLY other human interaction and we don’t want to risk them losing that. These life-changing programs provide a safe haven and sense of ‘family’ to those who have neither.
We are asking you to assist us to get all our vital and life-changing programs up and running in 2021