Music Outside The Square

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Outside The Square is a series of talks started by I Heart Bendigo and Make A Change Australia. In their words, they "celebrate local people who think a little differently to create positive change in our community". They are held on the last Wednesday of every month.

On 24 April 2013, they held their second event, the subject being "Music". A very wide topic, it is possible to spend ages discussing it and not repeat any ground. Nevertheless, this was the aim of that fresh Wednesday night.

The first speaker was Deb Allan, a member of a handful of singing organizations, notably Sing For Supper. Modelled on the "Vocal Nosh" concept developed by Fay White, it is a community project focussed on two things: singing and eating. Two primal forms of social collective. People have been gathering and bonding over these two things since the dawn of humanity. Unfortunately, the singing aspect has been phasing out over recent years with the advent of media technology. However, movements like Sing For Supper help keep such traditions alive.

Allan also touched on the therapeutic benefits of communal singing, citing more than one example of people whose lives were turned around by Sing For Supper and similar events. They gained a new lease on life and much needed confidence in themselves.

Up next was Colin Thompson, local musician and founder of the Bendigo Blues And Roots Music Festival. Entering its third year this November, the festival has garnered quite the following in its thus far short lifespan. When asked why he started the festival, Thompson would say "Why not?" Support for local live music had been dropping off over the recent years. The talent was there, the punters were not. Something must be done. Enter: Colin Thompson. Here is a man who, between working a job at the bank and supporting a young family, brought an entire music festival into fruition. It was not easy work and he had a plethora of help and support but what he accomplished is definitely no minor achievement.

The night did not end there. After a short break there was an open discussion, kicked off by a spontaneous, crowd demanded, third speaker. Local musician Albert Skipper stepped up to discuss a project that he had recently been working on. Over the past eight weeks, Skipper has been working with a small group of disabled people, teaching them musical instruments and training them to be a band. From all accounts, he and the self-identified "Mixed Nuts" have met and rose above the challenge and we will be able to see their efforts this Friday night at the Newmarket Hotel.

What is music? It is a lot of things to a lot of people. But a consensus seems to be that it brings us all together. Groups will come together to interact, to sing together, to enjoy a band, or even to just talk about the subject. Music creates community, connectedness, conversation. And we are definitely doing ourselves a favour if we embrace it.

For more information:

Outside The Square: facebook.com/outsidethesquarebendigo

I Heart Bendigo: iheartbendigo.com.au/

Make A Change Australia: ecosuccess.com.au/content/make-change-australia

Sing For Supper: singforsupper.org

Bendigo Blues & Roots Music Festival: bendigobluesandroots.com.au

Albert "Skip" Skipper's The Mixed Nuts will be performing at the Newmarket Hotel, Friday 26 April 2013 from 9.30pm.

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This page contains a single entry by Lewis Adams published on April 25, 2013 2:42 AM.

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