September 2nd, 2023Creswick Chorus in concert for healthy cause
Words: Eve Lamb. Image: Fiona Watson
It’s not a sound you’d generally expect to hear emanating from a little community hall in regional Victoria after dark.
Many voices raised together as they belt out some rhythmic pulsing songs of South Africa, followed by a traditional number or two from the Pacific Islands and chased down with a heart-wrenching Croatian piece – all sung in the languages of origin.
But this is exactly what happens pretty much every Wednesday night – other than term breaks – at the Creswick Neighbourhood Centre Hall.
There, well known Ballarat-based musician, singer and choir leader Stella Savy puts the Creswick Chorus through its paces.
Group members say they themselves sometimes find it hard to believe that they’ve just got their tongues around a song in Zulu or French Creole, for example.
But Stella seems to have a gift for making music happen – in many languages – and for bringing people together.
“Within ten minutes of introducing a song to us Stella has us singing three-part harmony in a language that we’ve never seen before, and we even think to ourselves ‘Gee we sound good!’ and yet ten minutes earlier we couldn’t have imaged it,” says Creswick Chorus regular Julie Moten.
Chorus member, Creswick’s Jenni Sewell says singing in the group tends to be a wonderful confidence and wellbeing booster as well.
“I always like how I feel when we’ve just finished our session. I’m as high as a kite and sing all the way home in the car,” Jenni says.
With an emphasis on world music, they also do quite a few fun songs in English as well including some funky stuff and a bit of Gospel to boot.
There’s also a Creswick Kids Chorus group that Stella leads as well, and right now both the adult and kids Creswick Chorus groups are looking forward to being part of a special fundraising concert coming up in Ballarat on Sunday, September 10.
The Stand By Me concert is being presented by the Ballarat Dementia Alliance and the Bigger Hearts Choir with money raised going towards using music to support people diagnosed with dementia and aphasia, a cause to which the Bigger Hearts Choir is devoted.
The concert will feature singing groups from the Creswick and Ballarat areas with the Creswick Chorus joining forces with Ballarat’s Thursday Night Choir to perform together on the day, something Stella says is a real benefit for choir members.
“Other choirs do things slightly differently and so it’s great when you see choirs coming together and singing together,” she says.
“For all reasons singing is good. It’s good for your health it’s good for your mind, for your sense of connectedness,” Stella says, also mentioning that new members are always welcome to rock up and join the Creswick Chorus.
Ballarat’s Bigger Hearts Choir itself will be among the groups performing at the upcoming Stand By Me concert with tickets (that include afternoon tea) available through Humanitix or at the door.
The Stand By Me concert happens at 1.30pm-3.30pm at Ballarat’s York Street Church of Christ York Street Ballarat, Sunday September 10.