BY ZHONGYIN LIANG
Melbourne non-profit Creativity Australia has set up a free online choir via Facebook to help people cope with loneliness while social distancing.
International student Diana Fan has attended the choir on multiple occasions and said it has helped ease the loneliness she feels in quarantine.
“Just watching others sing and singing along with the teachers makes me feel less lonely,” Ms Fan said
“I was a little worried about my progress when I first attended it. I didn’t think online teaching would be good for people to learn singing, as a face-to-face teaching session has its own perks.”
“However, after attending it, I found it to be interesting and it took me back to several happy memories of when I used to sing in a club. The conductors are really nice and very energetic, which helps a great deal,” Ms Fan said.
Founded by Tania de Jong AM, a social entrepreneur and soprano, the mission of the organisation is to connect those experiencing disadvantage and the more fortunate, via community singing.
Creativity Australia program and marketing coordinator Lydia Griffiths said the main purpose behind the online choir was to boost the community and help people combat social isolation.
“When the government said that we couldn’t gather more than two people, we knew we had to close down the choirs,” Ms Griffiths said.
“We were concerned that people who were isolated, would feel even more without a connection. Mainly because a lot of people who come to our choirs are already feeling isolated and choir is then a place they can go to every week to do something fun.”
Creativity Australia started With One Voice Live Stream on Facebook and now have more than 1000 followers and receive more than 3,000 comments and 5,000 views per week.
There are 13 live sessions every week and between 30 to 60 participants at each event.
Through this platform, some Australian musicians and conductors have been able to deliver online music sessions every weeknight helping them keep their jobs secure, Ms Griffiths told MOJO News.
“We really value our conductors. They teach a large group of people, and we want to make sure they will be looked after and continue to offer their work,” she said.
Musician Zerafina Zara has been a part of the Facebook live stream and said she feels fortunate to still have a way to connect with others.
“The choir for me provides a community wherein I can feel connected during these trying times when we are disconnected from everything else,” Ms Zara said.
“There are lots of challenges, when you are teaching on your own and don’t personally know your students. However, seeing their comments and interacting with them makes it a fun process,” Ms Zara said.
According to new restrictions brought into effect from 11:59 pm, Tuesday May 12, 2020, Victorians can leave their house for a total of five things.
These include shopping for essentials, medical care or compassionate needs, exercise in compliance with public gathering requirements, work and study if you can’t work or learn remotely and the most recent addition of visiting family and friends (if necessary).
Visiting family and friends has been limited to a maximum gathering of 10 people outdoors or five in a house.
With these restrictions in place the choir cannot go back to meeting in person yet and so the live stream will continue, Ms Griffiths said.
“I don’t think anyone knows how much longer that will be – we can only follow guidelines that the Government set out and then react to that,” she said.
You can find the Program of Events and information on every session here.