Victoria Sings is a state-wide initiative designed to weave community singing into the cultural fabric of Victoria. The work is based on the knowledge that singing together is an effective way to develop and sustain social connection.
Our major strategy is to nurture and support singing leadership within communities.
The key outcome of the work has been, and will continue to be, the emergence and growth of a state-wide network of independent, self-sustaining and re-generative singing circles which:
- are engaged with their communities.
- welcome newcomers.
- nurture their participants.
- are proudly diverse.
Since the program began, with the support of VicHealth, we've been testing models, first in rural and regional communities, and more recently, in urban situations. Assessing the value of community singing as a contributor to community health and well-being has been an important aspect of this process.
The outcomes have been that:
- the strategy of focusing on the development of community-based leadership skills has been affirmed.
- training programs have been developed and successfully tested.
- the need for on-going counselling and advice for leaders and groups has become clear.
- a team of experienced trainers and networkers has been developed.
- methods for assisting the establishment of singing circles have been developed and successfully tested.
- well over 200 new leaders have emerged and, together with many established leaders, have developed into an active and constantly evolving leadership network.
- many new groups have independently established themselves, and many already existing groups have availed themselves of CMVic's services.
- ways of developing an original, diverse and authentic repertoire have been explored and clear strategies developed.
- ways of engaging with agencies which excite them into using singing circles in their work have been developed.
- ways of effectively promoting community singing have been developed and successfully tested.
- singing leaders, singing circles and agencies with community development responsibilities are increasingly aware of and articulate the function and value of group singing in communities.
In our view, Victoria Sings is an internationally innovative community arts program, in that it:
- consciously recognises and articulates its purpose as enhancing well-being through community-based and owned creative practices.
- affirms, enhances and supports community embedded leadership teams.
- encourages independent, on-going and subsidy-free activities.
- has no emphasis on “public performance” manifestations, but rather on recognising and promoting the belief that the primary benefits of music are in its making.
- has no emphasis on the creation of singing groups, but rather focuses on sessional group singing at which newcomers are always welcome.
- has a systemic and holistic approach, and has developed replicable techniques, accessible philosophies and integrated training, advocacy, resourcing and networking functions.
- has state-wide coverage and a vision of universal application.
In combination, these characteristics set the program apart (as far as we are aware) from all other community arts projects, and from virtually all community development initiatives. CMVic is now ready to comprehensively implement a major initiative aimed at making singing together a regular part of the everyday life of all Victorians.
Most importantly, it will be a communal activity imbued with a spirit of inclusivity, creativity and joy.