It’s said music transcends all barriers and for members of the Find Your Voice All Abilities Choir, it gives them a sense of freedom and a safe place to express themselves through song.
The choir, formed in January by Warrnambool musician Tom Richardson and All Abilities Advocacy facilitator Kylie Thulborn, will perform on centre stage at this year’s Queenscliff Music Festival.
“I live in Warrnambool and was born and raised here, I spend half my time here and the other half of the year touring through Europe, North America and Indonesia,” Tom said.
“I’m really close with Kylie, her son is in a wheelchair and we’ve been family friends forever. I’ve always collaborated with her to help provide opportunities for people in Warrnambool through adaptive surfing and skating programs.”
Tom said he has also worked closely with the Port Fairy Folk Festival doing school workshops when they asked if he had any other ideas.
“Kylie and I had spoken about a choir with people of varying abilities so suggested that. We agreed that we weren’t going to turn anyone away and currently have anywhere between 100-150
After a successful performance at thePort Fairy Folk Festival they collaboratedwith the Queenscliff Music Festival andhave been holding weekly rehearsals in Geelong.
“We invite anyone from the Surf Coast area that would like to be involved to come
along. It’s an all abilities choir so we have members who just want to come and sing, they don’t have to be an individual identifying with a disability,” he said.
“We meet from 11am until noon at the Ukrainian Hall on Pakington Street, Geelong. For the QMF we have two big coaches that will drive down from Warrnambool combined with around 40 people from the Geelong group. We will have a big, super choir.”
Tom said their set list includes infectious and uplifting songs which embody the spirit of the choir, a space where even some nonverbal members have found their voice.
“It’s been the most amazing musical experience of my life, every single person in this choir has their own story. We see people go from being anxious to be ina room full of people to singing into a microphone on stage.”
Tom encouraged crowds to get behind the choir that will open the QMF on the Friday and said the show is just as rewarding for audience members.
For more information please contact Tom and Kylie via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or through the choirs’ Facebook page facebook.com/ findyourvoicechoir.