Penny: When I first heard about the Big Sing, my instincts told me this would be an important program for joiningthedots to be part of. It sounded like such a unique gathering, very grass-roots and utilising music as a platform for people to come together across cultures to experience the joy of singing together. There is just something so compelling about inter-cultural gatherings and diverse groups and ages coming together for a common purpose. I was also hoping there would be opportunities to learn more about Australian Aboriginal culture, particularly about the lives of the women living in remote communities of the Central Desert – and I was not disappointed! The Big Sing in the Desert was everything I imagined it might be and a whole lot more!
As I witnessed the friendships form and people’s confidence build (and the smiles enlarge!) I got to thinking about what it is that creates community. Amidst the allure of sweet harmony and bodily expression, there were other things that were happening, quite naturally. I began to discover that what connected us to each other was the children, the campfire, sharing meals, the vibrant yet mindful facilitation and a strong desire to learn from one another. We were nourished not only with the sounds from our combined voices but with heapings of laughter, dancing and hugs!
In the process we may just have discovered how similar we are, how much we needed to laugh, that we each have a story and its sacred, that language can be both a mystery and a trigger for unique insights to culture.
I was humbled and grateful to be present at such an authentic and powerful gathering.
Amy: What an honor it was to be asked to create a photo story at the Big Sing and to also have the opportunity to mentor two young indigenous woman in photography. It was an experience of a life time. I became a witness to the deep connection of two different cultures through story, music and much laughter. Captured not only in my photography, which was received most kindly, but more profoundly in my heart. The creation of community within the group at the Big Sing gathering was also reflected within myself. Being able to identify the integration of my own white fella Amy Jean & aboriginal self…… A journey that has only just begun… I am grateful for such an experience. Thank you to all who were present there.
with Love xx
R: I’m Rachel Hore and I’m the organiser of the Big Sing
M: I’m Morris Stuart and I’m Rachel’s assistant, I mean – associate
R: We’ve put our heads together because we believe in the power of community and making community through singing. We’re also really passionate about preserving the beautiful choral singing that’s happening here in the Central Desert and giving that greater value in the wider choral context of Australia….and I think we did that this weekend….
M: I think we did, I think its been a fascinating process we’ve entered into, with Aboriginal women making a contribution in a very direct and confident way – these was nothing tokenistic about their contribution this weekend. Often when groups gather together there is an underlying patronising that goes on, but I think people really stepped up into their place, stood, took it and we’ve all reaped the benefit of that. I always think that with choral singing, the narrative is bigger than the music, much bigger than the music and it enables people to build a sense of community – break down barriers, actually cross barriers they normally wouldn’t cross. I think it’s a great opportunity for people to start reconfiguring their views about other people, on both sides, and finding common humanity
R: The other thing I didn’t expect from this weekend is that I laughed more than I’ve laughed in 25 years. We have seen some very funny things and had a lot of fun together – so much joy and hilarity
M: There’s lots of Aboriginal films on the market and whenever Barb and I go and watch these films we just crack up. We’ve seen all of those things in real life. They’ve got the most amazing sense of humour and last night I laughed and laughed …. and they were so uninhibited. I think that’s the break through – they felt comfortable to be themselves in our presence and the white fellas felt comfortable to be in their presence. I love just the self-deprecating humour that Aboriginal people bring. It’s wonderful.
Welcome to the Big Sing Blog – we will be your creative team blogging about the amazing experience as it unfolds. If you would like to know more about our team (Penny, Catherine and Amy) and why we’re so excited to be a part of this unique gathering, click here. We invite you to leave your comments and together we will bring the story to life!