End of 2019 News

Seasons Greetings

The calendar of events for 2020 is here.

Hello Singers. Thankyou all for your participation in our singing groups and events over the year. Enjoy the forthcoming pages intended to be a cosy little chat and very best wishes to each and every one of you at Christmas time. Special thoughts to those singers facing Christmas in new and different circumstances this year. You are valued in our groups and our gentlest wishes are with you.  🙂 Belinda

There will be extra singing sessions over the holiday break.

Each session will be standalone. Casual attendance. No bookings required and pay on the day. New and experienced singers welcome. The regular groups will reconvene from late January. A calendar is attached at the start of this letter detailing all dates. In the meantime some SINGING SPRITZS will be peppered throughout the coming weeks. TUESDAY 31 DEC 10- 11 Ocean Grove, Uniting Church HALL Eggleston Road. $12 FRIDAY 03 JANUARY 9:30-10:30 at 89 Autumn Street $11 TUESDAY 07 JAN 10- 11 Ocean Grove, Uniting Church HALL Eggleston Road $12 FRIDAY 10 JANUARY 9:30-10:30 at 89 Autumn Street $11 THURSDAY 16 JAN 10- 11 Ocean Grove, Uniting Church HALL Eggleston Road $12 FRIDAY 17 JANUARY 9:30-10:30 at 89 Autumn Street $11

Highlights of the year

Ocean Grove singers meet on a Tuesday evening and this year we settled more deeply into our Draper Street venue alternating between our summer house and winter house as weather dictated. We welcomed many new singers, enjoyed dinners at the end of each block and devoured repertoire of varying complexity. VIVA had some special performances this year including Geelong After Dark and a couple of shows down at the Door Gallery in Fyansford. The Thursday night singers migrated to an earlier timeslot and continued to fill the hall with gorgeous sounds – as always making ballads ring. Friday mornings continue to be bumper size with a strong mix of weekly attendees, visitors and dedicated singers for whom casual attendance is optimal. The Friday singers come from far and wide and spill out of the hall at 10am every week with palpable joy. Fellas met monthly throughout the year also welcoming many new voices and re-welcoming singers from years gone by.

Every one of the Acabellas groups is very special to its members because it represents meaningful connections. We connect with our own voices, bodies, thoughts and feelings and with music, with each other, with humanity and beyond. Each of these groups has had a healthy amount of laughter, tears, silence, cacophony, harmony and unity this year. How lucky we are.

The songs themselves are a very important part of our singing groups and call forth various sounds and emotions. I try to listen to the heartbeat of our community, to follow our collective curiosities and experiences and write songs that will be enjoyable to sing. This years original songs included the recorded Up in Lights, Big Love, I Want to Meet You, I’ll Try, Breathe, In Good Hands. Brand new 2019 songs were Shelter Me, Rewilding, Gratitude, Water Come Down, Hear Feel and Say, When You Say Love is Love. I am fortunate that I receive so much affirmation from this singing community to write songs and they feel very valued. I love hearing about how songs touch your life and equally watching and hearing songs pour out so beautifully. Thankyou for your role in making this music and cultivating fertile ground for creation. We all thrive when we feel safe.

Extra events outside of core groups

Aside from our beautiful regular groups there were so many extra events in 2019 to be celebrated. The rehearsal and recording of 6 original songs in the gorgeous sandstone Christ Church in Geelong involving 90 singers, a summer storm and great passion.

The launch of the above album at Pako Festa

Singing performance by VIVA at Geelong After Dark in Geelong Library alongside the exhibition of synchronised karate.

Presentation at Geelong Polio Support Group at McKellar Centre involving group singing and another for Booyanga.

Annual Workshop for the Anglesea Rock Choir

A workshop for 450 singers at Melbourne Convention Centre for a Dept of Education Conference

A workshop for newly settled families at Northern Bay Secondary College

A workshop for 120 staff from across Geelong Regional Libraries
Interview with Libbi Gore on ABC774 about singing.
A workshop at Splashdown Gym as part of Senior’s week for 50 singers

A workshop for Surf Coast Community Orchestra SCOTSO

Study and Balance – what was and will be Research

As some of you know, in 2018 I started a Masters in Counselling and Psychotherapy at Australian College of Applied Psychology. Briefly I would like to explain what this has involved, how it’s going, where it’s going and why. So far the course has involved 18 hours of online study per week and 8 full weekend residentials. My favourite subjects have been groupwork, working with diversity, mental health and philosophy and theories of counselling. The balance of family, study and my work in our Acabellas community has been overall very positive and I am proud to say my grades have been very pleasing across a range of assessments including exams, essays, videoed counselling sessions and even songwriting. In 2020 I aim to increase my study load so that I can complete the course in December. As well as undertaking an extra subject I will be doing placement one day a week plus undertaking a major research project on the topic of singing and wellbeing. The main reason for enrolling in this course was to better handle my role at Acabellas. I am sensitive to emotions, I care about our community and I understand the importance of singing to our wellbeing. Many of you might reflect and acknowledge that you and I have a personal connection, through singing, where I come in contact with your stories and feelings and it is very important to me that I honour that, act responsibly and look after myself in the process. The secondary reason was to have a second career up my sleeve as a responsible parent and person aware of the fragility of self employment in the arts.  This course has allowed me to understand this role better and to work even more authentically. I completed a Psychology degree many years ago, have worked in corrections and in family services so this is not a sharp or unexpected deepening for me. The opportunity to include research in the degree means I can continue to contribute meaningfully to the field of singing. Sue Hindle and I did quite a lot of work in the area of singing and dementia and we really did learn (the hard way) that the powers that be struggle to hear messages not done in very formal ways. My firm intention is to complete this degree and…business as usual at Acabellas. While there may be some slight disruptions to groups in 2020 as I attend classes, I am not planning to change careers. I always have attended to the development of my skills, qualifications and experience and this is a natural extension.  I was concerned that maybe It would be an overwhelming combination but in fact study and Acabellas are perfect companions. I consistently hold the groups in my mind as I study, read, write and practise and, as ever, I feel so grateful to have great connections with so many people.  

Special Thanks

Enormous adulation and appreciation is sent to the Angels of Joy. This group of singers, drawn together originally by Nadine Joy and administered by the tireless Janice Nash, bring song to nursing homes all year round. At Christmas time they are inundated with engagements and they are constant in their kindness, inclusiveness and beauty. Singing for, and with, people in vulnerable positions takes enormous heart and I heartily congratulate all the singers who join this endeavour.

Nadine Joy is thanked here again for her willingness to host the Thursday night group this year when I had classes. She is always generous in sharing her musicality and passion for singing. Nadine also co-led several Friday morning singing sessions in 2019 along with our beloved Sue Hindle. Sue brings so much happiness to singers with her positive energy and talent.

Hearty congratulations are also sent to Nadine Joy, Libby Dempsey, Heather Dempsey, Alison Costa, Claire Cumming and Kym Walker this year. All of these ladies prepared diligently for vocal examinations (and so did I) which involved the presentation of vocal exercises, theory tests, listening tests, general knowledge and the presentation of songs. Each and every candidate prepared impeccably for exams which were beautifully executed.

This year has been my favourite ever with the singing groups of acabellas. Thankyou to every single singer for your contribution to the wonderful energetic, compassionate and fun community we share which builds on the kindness built by some many people in the region over the last 15 years. I look forward to the next year of singing and all it will bring.