Choice Voices Community Choir has an eclectic, socially inclusive membership that includes people who live with physical, intellectual and mental health disabilities, and people of all ages who simply love to sing.
The Federal Member for Bendigo, Lisa Chesters, was delighted today to participate in the choir’s rehearsal.
“It is wonderful to meet the choir members and talk to them about why they love to sing and what singing means to them. Without a doubt this choir has made a difference to people’s lives,” said Ms Chesters.
Originally established for people with psychiatric issues, the Choice Voices choir has now opened up to all members of the community and regularly performs at aged care facilities, community festivals and other public events.
Well-respected local musician and choir leader James Rigby guides the choir each week in learning and rehearsing a wide range of songs from Australian Indigenous titles to the songs of the Beatles.
The choir has enabled people to develop a strong sense of identity and celebrates individual efforts along with the progress of the group as a whole.
“Our motto is ‘everyone has a voice’. We have people with, and people without, disabilities who just enjoy being together and singing,” said Choir Manager Suzanne Gould.
Phillip, one of the original members of the choir thrives on the social opportunity.
“I’ve got somewhere I can look forward to; it saves me from sitting around at home doing nothing,” he said.
Other members have experienced improved self-confidence, self-esteem and more friendships.
“It’s really lovely to see the confidence growing in our singers each week,” said Ms Gould. “Not just in their singing but in many other areas of their lives.”
“Anyone who likes to sing, or would like to be part of fantastic choir, should give Choice Voices a go. It’s a no pressure way to enjoy singing in a supportive, friendly environment,” said Ms Chesters.