Creativity Australia's With One Voice to Have Tenth Anniversary Concert

Anyone can sing - it's a natural form of therapy that unites people, changes the brain and creates positive human collisions.

For the past ten years Creativity Australia's With One Voice program has inspired tens of thousands of lives by enabling opportunities for social inclusion that bring a montage of people and communities together through singing in a choir, sharing supper and helping grant peoples wishes.

On Sunday, 2 December at the Melbourne Town Hall, over 400 voices will sing together to commemorate the With One Voice ten year milestone at a celebratory concert: With One BIG Voice that will include singing a range of well known favourite songs: You're the Voice, Hallelujah, Imagine, What a Wonderful World, Can You Feel the Love Tonight and Fix You.

Currently, every week the With One Voice program transcends borders by supporting 21 choirs across Australia that include people aged 9 to 90 from children to grandparents and from newly arrived migrants to corporate leaders.

By 2020 and with up to $10,000 seed funding, Creativity Australia aims to support up to 40 choirs, which will create extremely positive outcomes that contribute to alleviating loneliness, depression and social isolation.

Social entrepreneur, soprano and Creativity Australia founder, Tania de Jong AM, explains that the With One Voice choirs empower all participants to find and share their voice in many ways - anyone can sing, there are no auditions and everyone is welcome.

"We recognise that singing in a group improves wellbeing, inspires personal growth and transforms communities. Our With One Voice choirs create new social connections and extend opportunities for everyone to participate, celebrate diversity and develop social cohesion," said de Jong.

Swinburne University research showed that 98% of With One Voice choir participants experienced less stress, 91% have improved social bonds, 84% made new friends, 71% feel more included and 66% are less depressed.

Neuroscience proves singing increases neuroplasticity - it makes people happier, healthier and more creative.

Recently, during Science Week 2018, Professor Sarah Wilson from the University of Melbourne highlighted that research confirms that singing augments social bonding and empathy - it releases dopamine and endorphins that lift people's mood.

"Music and singing have no barriers of language, politics, religion, culture, ability or disability. Our choir participants collaborate to create something greater than themselves as individuals - the results are transformative. When we come together to create harmony, we feel united, not different," explains de Jong.

Following the weekly group singing and as the feel good vibes kick in, the choirs experience what de Jong describes as "positive human collisions" - they naturally connect over supper and share their stories, experiences, desires and ambitions.

Since 2013 over 3,000 wishes have been granted through the With One Voice Wish List initiative, where choir participants have the opportunity to share their wish - no matter how big or small - and other participants have the chance to give back to others and help realise these hopes and dreams.

The Wish List initiative has allowed the With One Voice choirs to connect and understand the different aspects of what individuals may need in their lives: friendships, mentors, networks, skill development and employment.

"Through the Wish List we've helped to initiate hundreds of jobs, work experience and mentoring opportunities. We've connected people to health services and we've even had a marriage. And we've united people with incredible hope, joy, happiness and inspiration," said de Jong.

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