With One Voice (WOV) Redfern-Waterloo launched in 2019. Last month, after a 12-month Covid-induced hiatus, the community choir resumed in-person weekly rehearsals at Redfern Town Hall. A joyous occasion.
Choir co-ordinator Robin Miles said: “Pre-Covid, we had an average of 35 people attending our rehearsals each week – from the local community, the inner city and inner west – and a membership of 75.
“Ninety per cent of our members are socially disadvantaged or socially isolated and have lived experiences of trauma, violence, abuse, poverty and homelessness.”
In 2020, WOV Redfern-Waterloo maintained connection among members via Zoom catch-up sessions and a weekly live stream of songs by conductor Mary Kiani. Thanks to a grant from the City of Sydney and assistance from Counterpoint Community Services, choir members were offered counselling, IT support and singing lessons (remote and face-to-face).
“Social interaction and singing have clear positive benefits to people’s health outcomes and wellbeing and we want our members to stay well and connected,” Ms Miles said.
Choir member Michael said: “For many years I believed I couldn’t hold a note. That now has changed for me. Before, I was embarrassed to sing, but the choir has enabled me to learn how to sing. I am getting better as each week goes on, even the online support has been great for me.”
Fellow member Diane really missed singing each Monday night. “I felt as though something I truly love was missing and I suffered for it,” she said. “When the marvellous Mary contacted me about a lesson I immediately felt the excitement in my heart, and that one lesson has made such a difference to me. Mary is an inspiration. She always believes in me and gives me the courage to keep practising to improve my singing.”
WOV Redfern-Waterloo is grateful for the ongoing sponsorship of Launch Recruitment and the support of key donor Rebecca Wallace and her team.
The choir rehearses at Redfern Town Hall on Monday nights, from 5.30 to 7pm. Enquiries welcome. Contact Robin Miles: firstname.lastname@example.org