Endings. They’re the new beginnings, folks. And while December can feel like the calendar equivalent of a French waiters’ trick where everything’s whipped off the table before you were sure that you’d finished, it can also be the perfect time to combine contemplation and celebration with the launch of something new. An opportunity to look beyond the craziness of the silly season, and turn your focus to the calm, blank canvas of the future and all the potential it holds.
That’s the way we’re choosing to roll, here at Community Music Victoria.
Like buses, there hasn’t been a new CMVic publication for aaaages, and over the past week, two have come along at once.
Whether you’re a Singing Leader or somebody who simply loves to sing, the new song book from Community Music Victoria, Sing it – Songs of Wisdom Hope and Laughter, together with ‘A Guide to Community Singing Leadership’ hold within their respective covers enough new material, advice and guidance to ensure 2016 is both an inspired and inspiring year, packed with new tunes and songs to discover, and fresh methodologies to adopt and incorporate into your leadership practise.
Both of the books were sung into being at a CMVic celebration held last weekend. Beneath the bunting in Ross House, the fairy lights were unravelled, paper plates piled perilously high were passed around, and CMVic members, coordinators and volunteers gathered together to celebrate the double launch.
Each of the books has a place close to everyone’s hearts and has been in the pipeline for a number of years, so it was just incredible and also a relief to see them both fresh back from the publishers and dressed to party in their shiny dust jackets, finally sharing a table and their moment in the spotlight.
The final selection of 45 songs in Sing it was edited and arranged by Jane Thompson and James Rigby with Fay White sorting out the vital scaffolding of contracts and copyright, while a large amount of work was undertaken to get the project underway in the initial phase, by Corinna Peachey.
Written in the main by community singing leaders for community singing groups, the gorgeous variety and quality of the songs will no doubt put wind in the sails of many singing groups in Victoria, across Australia and beyond, with the songs breezing through the wattles and into the wide world over the course of 2016 and for many years to come.
A Guide to Community Singing Leadership was written and compiled by Michelle Morgan as a personal project and also as a means of raising funds for Community Music Victoria. Michelle is an experienced singing leader and, for several years, was a member on the board of Community Music Victoria. Here she talks a little bit about what moved her to pick up her pen and break out the ink:
“A few years ago (yes, things move slowly!) I was working through Julia Cameron’s ‘The Vein of Gold – A Journey into Your Creative Heart’.
I’d been feeling inspired to write, and knew I wanted to write something, but didn’t know what.
At that stage, I’d been running choirs as my full time business for a few years. I wasn’t an expert by any means, but I had a good grounding in the practice that had been guided and supported by Community Music Victoria. I wrote wildly for a few days straight, forming the structure of the book and a lot of the content. I knew the book could not be mine alone and wanted it to reflect the myriad of voices and collective wisdom of our singing leader community.
I read every edition of Shout! and Sing It! that I had access to, and requested permission to re-publish many of the articles that fit within the scope of the chapters. People were generously willing to share their work in this format and so it began to come together. Over the years, there were chunks of time where I got caught up in life and totally dropped the project. There were also times where my own doubt stopped me from taking the next step… making that phone call, re-reading that draft. But somehow it continued, and somehow we’ve now reached the point of publishing and release!
A Guide to Community Singing Leadership has truly become a collaborative creation, in the spirit of all CMVic activities. I’m so grateful to the precious people who have become part of the team; the initial readers, the cheer squad, the editors, the board members in the communications group, the designers and others who’ve assisted.”
With a foreword written by Fay White, Michelle’s book also tells the story and the history of the Vic Sings movement and how it unfolded and manifested as the strong network it is today. In the words of Jane Coker who coordinated the Victoria Sings program for CMVic:
“I’ve been lucky enough to preview this lovely book. As well as being a really intelligent and practical guide to leading sustainable, accessible group singing, it’s also a social history in that it tells the story of the Victoria Sings network and leadership development program from it’s earliest days. Fabulous reading.”
You can buy either (or both!) A Guide to Community Singing Leadership and Sing it – Songs of Wisdom, Hope and Harmony, from the store section of the CMVic website. Please be aware that orders placed after December 16 may take a little while to reach you as CMVic HQ is shutting down for the holidays, but reach you, they will.
And finally, with endings and fresh starts still very much in mind, huge amounts of gratitude and our very best wishes go to three very special people. To Jane Coker who is changing hats after doing an outstanding job as CMVic’s Victoria Sings coordinator for the past fourteen years; to Aaron Silver who is moving out of Melbourne and swapping his role of Engaging Younger People for Teaching younger people; and to Heather McLaughlin, long time CMVic board member, community music champion and marimba queen, who is moving interstate. Our love to you all!
This is the final blog post for 2015. Thank you, lovely people, for reading and commenting on the the past twelve months’ posts and please continue to share your stories and experiences of music making in your communities with us next year, you know we love to hear them.
Wishing you all much music making and merriment as well as good health and happiness for 2016. See you on the other side!
Deb Carveth, Online editor for Community Music Victoria.