On Sunday 12 August, the Raise Your Voice Festival was held at South Bank Piazza in Brisbane.
Donna Cook, from ACU’s Centre for Languages was one of the directors of the festival, along with Vicky Bos from The University of Queensland. The initiative was funded by the Queensland Government through Study Queensland.
International students, community choirs, and singers from all over Queensland participated in the festival.
The finale "My Life” was composed by Amiel Matthews, a music student in the School of Arts, who had won the competition to deliver the original choral composition.
It was performed by over 350 choristers from over 30 different countries to an audience of over 1200 people. This song will now be used by Trade and Investment Queensland to promote study in Queensland.
At the opening of the event, Donna Cook said: “Our mission has been to provide English language students the opportunity to sing. Not just because singing brings joy and assists with improving language skills - but also because choral singing builds community.”
The ACU community is proud to have supported this project. The ACU student and community choir was conducted by Judy Fromyhr, a senior lecturer in music, in the School of Arts. The international student choir was led by Kate D'Orazio from the ACU Centre for Languages, and the band was accompanied by two sessional lecturers from the Queensland School of Arts - Ross Walker on keyboard and Kirril Shields on bass.
It was terrific to see so many ACU students and staff taking part both singing and accompanying the choir.
Mark Lysaght, Associate Director of Identity and Mission, who was recently appointed to oversee the ACU Choirs nationally said: “I was incredibly proud to be part of this most important occasion."
"Moments like this remind us of how our Mission is lived out tangibly and makes an indelible difference in the lives of those involved and the community formed as a result."
"I will be advocating for more opportunities than those already happening to keep alive the spirit of common good that was exemplified here. My heartfelt thanks and congratulations to all involved.”
Associate Vice-Chancellor (Queensland) Professor Jim Nyland was also a strong supporter of the event.
“Our ACU Queensland Student and Community Choir is one of the best examples of how we engage with our wider community and, importantly, how we create a sense of community and belonging for those students who travel to be with us from overseas," Professor Nyland said.
"13% of the Brisbane Campus is now comprised of international students – higher than the ACU national average - and this figure is trending upwards in contrast to most other Queensland universities."
"Those of us attending the Raise Your Voice Choir on Sunday were treated to a very special insight into why this is the case – a marvelous cultural performance where everyone felt welcome and inspired!”
Thanks also to Chris Riley, Pro Vice-Chancellor International, for his support of this important project.