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Over the last few years CMVic has developed participatory music making in Victoria through two major programs: Victoria Sings and Victoria Makes Music (VMM) which have focussed respectively on the skills required for developing singing and instrumental groups of all styles and varieties. Details of these programs and some of their outcomes can be found in the links to their pages.

More recently, we have recognised that the boundary between singing and instrumental music making is of course blurred, and so our activities increasingly bring together many forms of music making through both events and projects. 

Some of our key projects are listed below:

Singing from Country

'Singing from Country' is an innovative project which aims to inspire songwriters, community choirs and other community members to appreciate and celebrate Country. Many Victorians are street-wise but not land-literate. Music can communicate love for land, deepen knowledge of country and strengthen community. The project will link songwriters and community to Aboriginal knowledge-holders, naturalists and ecologists through workshops and a celebratory concert. From this will come songs that help reconnect people to place. Recordings will provide a resource for choirs and a video will document the project, which is a pilot for a statewide project. The project will run in collaboration with VACL (Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages) and Connecting Country, and has received grant funding from Regional Arts Victoria. The project will commence early in 2016. See more about Singing from Country here

Sing English

Sing English is building the foundations of a locally delivered professional development program for EAL (English as an Additional Language) teachers and multicultural playgroup leaders in Greater Shepparton, focusing on singing as a teaching tool. The main activities include: devising and delivering a training program to around 20 project leaders from the 3 EAL sectors (schools, GoTAFE and South Shepparton Community Centre), Kildonan Uniting Care’s Multicultural Playgroup and Asylum Seekers group and the broader community; gathering evaluation data on current use of song in English language teaching; and setting up a program of skills workshops for teachers. The project is running in collaboration with the Urban Lyrebirds and has received grant frunding from the Ethnic Council of Shepparton. The first set of workshops occurred in early 2017.


StreetSounds is a major project that resulted from the Victoria Makes Music Program and it started in January 2015 with the help of funding from the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust and the R E Ross Trust.  The project aims to create at least 10 new 'street' bands' in Victoria by 2017, culminating in a fabulous Street Band Festival bringing entertainment to the streets of one of our major cities.  The project will run from Dec 2014 to Dec 2017 - find out more about StreetSounds here.

4M (Making Marimbas Making Music)

The objective of the 4M project is to create new opportunities for individuals to become involved for the first time in group music making. Activities will be focussed around both the construction and playing of marimbas which have been shown through previous activities to be particularly appealing to both men and women of all ages, including those who have had very little music playing experience in the past.  The project has received grant funding from Australian Unity and runs from June 2015 to June 2016.

Singing for Inclusion

Conductors/singing leaders are the backbone and inspirational leaders of community singing groups.  The best singing Leaders have a rare skill that encompasses professional artist, social worker, leader and administrator. The ongoing development and sustainability of singing programs are constrained by the limited number of such suitably skilled facilitators. CMVic is partnering with Creativity Australia to develop a singing leader development program to run over 12 months and include intensive Master Classes, workshops and mentoring. It is the start of a plan to develop the community singing leaders so that more programs supporting disadvantage and community building can be established. The project will run in collaboration with Creativity Australia and has received grant funding from the R E Ross Trust.  Applications for the Singing for Inclusion training course are now open here.

Sing Yarra Ranges

Sing Yarra Ranges is a project initiated by a group of singing leaders in the Dandenongs and Yarra Ranges to establish the Yarra Ranges Singers Leaders Network. The project will provide professional development workshop days for members of the network, run a series of seasonal community singing events, and a public workshop and massed performance at the Healesville Music Festival in November 2016.

Sing Yarra Ranges is funded by the Shire of Yarra Ranges through their community development grants program.

Voices of Peace

This project aims to empower recently arrived and settled refugees from Assyrian Chaldean background to establish a Women's Choir. Singing together can heal and builds connection and reduces the pain of dislocation and loss from the persecution they have suffered.Singing can strengthen connection to each other and promotes the Chaldean language. This will be project supported by a partnership between Community Music Victoria and Foundation House achieved through leadership training,and providing and developing resources and opportunities for wider social connection. 

Key Benefits

We expect these benefits to directly impact the 60 members of the women’s group who live in the City Of Hume and the City of Whittlesea. It will also have positive impact on the 8,000 Assyrians living in greater Melbourne:

  • Healing, empowerment and group connection through self-expression and the creative group process.
  • Creating leadership skills within the community, by enabling women to step into the role of singing group leader ensuring the group's self-sustainability.
  • Establishing a model for increasing the participation of refugee communities in the cultural scene of Victoria as an avenue to greater social inclusion and affirming their contributions to the cultural life of Victoria and Australia.
  • Building confidence within the group through public performances at Concerts such as Harmony Day, Peace day
  • Connecting the Assyrian community with the wider multicultural community of Melbourne through participation in public performances, festivals and community events.

Key Activities

We expect the project to run for 16 weeks during which experienced community singing leader Sarah Mandie will conduct the following activities:

  • Singing leader training and ongoing mentoring relationship with CMVic as the leaders establish themselves.
  • Establish a repertoire of traditional Assyrian songs to share at public events and at private group events. Record these.
  • Create traditional style costumes to be worn at public events.
  • Write a theme song /anthem for the group in conjunction with songwriter and singing facilitator Sarah Mandie. The song will be an expression of their identity, experience and hopes in the context of our society.

 Your support: To achieve these great outcomes in the Assyrian community we are seeking $8,500 in financial support

Foundation House provides services to advance the health, well-being and human rights of people of refugee backgrounds in Victoria who have experienced torture or other traumatic events in their country of origin or while fleeing those countries.

 Contact: Sarah Mandie ; John Howard