A community choir on the outskirts of Perth, Australia, doesn’t just get people together to sing along. This activity also helps overcome isolation and foster closeness in one of the most culturally diverse areas of the population. Their coach is a Hollywood producer and screenwriter.
Every week, the sound of singing fills Mirrabooka Street. Anyone can join the choir. One of the choir organizers, Virginia Aden, said, “I think singing and music are universal languages, we don’t need to know English to join this activity here. And that’s what we do, when we invite anyone and wherever we are. go, we welcome all faiths, all cultures, all religions, ages and abilities.”
“With One Voice Mirrabooka” was formed as a way to help people in this diverse cultural background to overcome feelings of alienation.
Honey Forbes, a member of the choir, recalled her first attendance at the event. He said, “When I first got there I was like ‘ah, what am I doing? I don’t know anyone!’ So I kind of clung to mommy. But everyone really accepted, and now I feel like I’m part of this group.”
The choir is led by Martin Meader. He is one of the screenwriters of “Paradise Road”. This 1997 film tells the story of prisoners of war who sing to fill their time while being held captive in the camps. Since then he has actively trained various choirs.
The Hollywood film producer and music director stated, “A lot of people think they can’t sing. They were told by their teachers, friends and family that they couldn’t sing.”
After practicing, it was time to eat together. A choir member, Florence Ong, said, “They love my spring rolls. They always say I am the queen of spring rolls.”
Another member of the choir, Pauline Richards, adds, “It brings people together. Instead of just coming and singing and rushing home, we eat and then talk to each other.”
Aden leads the community services group Mirrabooka and says the choir creates an environment and atmosphere that encourages members to ask for and give help.
“Look at the mental health issues, and think about what we’re getting funding for, what we can and can’t do according to our funding, according to our criteria, then you see there’s a lot of gaps,” said Virginia Aden.
For Meader, this activity is actually to break down various barriers. “People have all these fences around them now, they don’t even know who lives next to them. So the chorus tends to open up the community a little bit.” [uh/ab]