People talk about bucket lists and a once in a lifetime experience.
Recently returned from The Big Sing in the Desert east of Alice Springs, seven local singers can’t wait to do it all again next year.
The group was on-board the return flight home from the Alice when Worimi Elder, Lyn Davis said: “I want to go again next year. There was so much joy.”
The Big Sing in the Desert is a four-day singing workshop which welcomes singers from across Australia at Ross River Resort near Alice Springs.
Now in its eighth year, the Big Sing is a unique opportunity for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal singers to share music, culture and a lot of laughing.
When The Big Sing founder, Rachel Hore OAM offered four spots to the Worimi community, NSW Regional Arts Quick Response Grants lived up to its name, providing Janice Paulson, Lyn Davis, Kiha Paulson Gardiner and Lisa Perry with funding to attend the event.
Local choir Company of Voices through its director, Leigh Vaughan contributed additional funds for travel and accommodation with the balance made up by community contributions and fundraising.
One hundred and forty singers attended the event from every state in Australia, including more than 50 people from six Central Desert Aboriginal Communities.
Joining the Worimi contingent were enthusiastic Coomba Park locals Elaine Charker, Ken Brown and Felicity Carter.
“What a unique experience it was to meet these desert ladies whose culture and language has changed so little compared to us – inspirational for us to come home and try harder to preserve what’s left of our culture,” Janice Paulson said.
And the workshop experience was inspirational.
In four short days, both beginners and experienced singers from all over Australia formed a new singing community that felt like ‘family’.
The choir sang a wide repertoire in harmony and in many parts: African chants, songs in language, Lutheran hymns translated into desert languages and original songs written by Rachel. It was amazing how quickly our different voices from all over Australia came together to sound so wonderful.
Also they sang and entertained each other informally around the campfire, ate kangaroo tail and damper covered in cockies joy (golden syrup), and were incredibly privileged to watch the special dances of the Seven Sisters Dreaming – so much humour and joy.
Elaine Charker’s take on the event was: “The four days spent at The Big Sing in the Desert was uplifting, happy, joyous, sad and emotional.
“All in all, a deeply moving experience. It was an honour to sing with the dignified, humble and, at times, really very funny Indigenous women of the Central Desert Women’s Choir.
“Making music with more than 140 people, sharing meals, sharing culture and experiences was life affirming.”
Rachel Hore returning to Forster to lead the second Big Sing by the Sea (Baraya-djukal, Garuwa-ga) workshop from July 21-22.
Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people come together through music and culture to create a shared community through singing.
A concert will be held on the Sunday afternoon where friends, family and interested locals can see what has been achieved.
Local Worimi artists will exhibit their works and we hope to have other aspects of Worimi Culture included on Sunday afternoon.
Tickets to Baraya-djukal, Garuwa-ga will be strictly limited and go on sale through Forster Neighbourhood Centre on the website from early June.