We hope you’re all staying well during these uncertain and unprecedented times.
Loneliness and isolation are the global epidemics of our time and more and more people are being left behind. 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. 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.
At a time when we need music to lift our spirits most, many of our choir programs have been forced to suspend in-person rehearsals due to COVID-19 concerns, venue closures and health risks to the more vulnerable members among us.
This has left us with a big challenge on our hands. Our members are faced with further isolation as they are forced to stay indoors. 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 a sense of ‘family’ to those who have neither.
Luckily, our wonderful Founder and Chair, Tania de Jong AM built Creativity Australia and our With One Voice Choir Programs with creativity, innovation and collaboration in mind. Our passionate teams have been working around the clock to find solutions to keep With One Voice choirs running, members feeling connected and our specialist conductors and wonderful team members in jobs.
The good news? We have a great plan.
Our With One Voice programs have moved to an online platform until the time it’s deemed safe for everyone to be back in one room.
We have been trialling a number of different ways to do this and have put together a timetable where our 15 Conductors across Australia lead 30-minute sessions that our entire member base can access from home, EVERY SINGLE NIGHT OF THE WEEK.
As well as the above, conductors will continue to lead their own choirs over the internet and will check in on their choristers via video conferencing, ensuring our communities stay strong and look out for each other.
To continue to improve our program delivery, we require significant additional training and equipment, and also support from staff at HQ to train conductors in online platform delivery and set up.
We ask you, please can you help us keep the lights on through these challenging times?
If so, please hit the DONATE button below.
As an extra incentive, one of our biggest donors has offered to MATCH any donations we receive before June 30th up to a total of $100,000 so you can DOUBLE your impact.
We need you. Your gift will change and save lives.
Thank you in advance.
Tania de Jong AM
Founder & Chair
Lady Marigold Southey AC
Professor Allan Fels AO
Hugh Morgan AC
Rosie Lew AM
I was no longer the unwanted child. I was no longer the sad and lonely teenager. I was no longer the mother on the run with her children fearing for her life. I was A SINGER!!! Singing with a real choir. Singing with such greats as John Farnham, Kate Ceberano and Isaiah. I was SOMEBODY! A real human being with a place in the world. A voice. A right to take up space. A right to say, ‘NO!’, ‘ENOUGH!’ and ‘I MATTER TOO!’. It gave me the courage to laugh, grow and come alive again.
Now, Cath and her clan are performing the same transformation and magic on my brother Paul – whom I also talked into joining the choir. Thank you for your funding of community choirs throughout Australia!
The work you are doing is saving lives. Including mine.”
Our wonderful Cassandra has had quite a journey with Creativity Australia. Six years ago, Cassandra began attending the With One Voice program in Ashburton, VIC as the support worker for one of our loyal participants, Amara (see below), who is visually impaired. Cassandra’s passion for music combined perfectly with her role as Amara’s carer, as they attended weekly singing and Wish List sessions with the Ashburton With One Voice choir over several years.
Cassandra would also help the conductor of Ashburton, Kym Dillon, who acted as a mentor and inspiration to her. Cass learnt to run group sessions, set the tone for an inclusive and fun musical experience for a diverse group, and many other skills. Through her experiences with With One Voice Ashburton, Cassandra’s interest in combining support work and music resulted in her training at university as a music therapist.
After completing our innovative Conductors’ Course, Cassandra is now proud to have taken on the role of conductor of With One Voice Bayswater, and now that in response to Covid-19 our sessions are going out via Facebook Live Stream, Cassandra has made the transition with her usual welcoming and bubbly personality continuing to shine through.
Who knows where Creativity Australia will take Cassandra next!
Several years ago, Amara, who is visually impaired and requires assistance to pursue her passions, was invited by a friend to join Ashburton’s With One Voice program. Amara, whose first musical love is Musical Theatre, was supported to attend by our very own Cassandra, who was working as a disability support worker. Together, the young women were able to share their love of music and singing, and come together with other like-minded people to share the joy of song every week.
Amara says “I love singing and I got a lot out of going to choir. I am a big music theatre buff. It makes me happy to go to choir every week because I make lifelong friendships. I love our conductor, Kym Dillon. I will be tuning in to hear Kym through Facebook now that we can’t meet for a while.”
Some inspiration from our Founder, Tania de Jong AM
You don’t have to look far these days to see how people around the world have turned to music and singing in times of hardship. Our social media feeds are flooded with videos of whole towns on lock down, hanging out of their windows and balconies to join together in song. It’s a true show of solidarity.
WATCH our Founder, Tania de Jong AM’s TED Talk on how singing together can change the brain, which has now been viewed almost 100,000 times!
Singing in groups can improve mental health, bring communities together, develop and improve a range of skills and make you healthier, happier and more creative!
WATCH: Tania de Jong AM TED Talk on ‘How Singing Together Changes the Brain’
There will be more announcements, stories and celebrations
coming up in the next newsletter.
Thanks for reading!