Seniors Creating Change

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Seniors Creating Change – The Formative Years

Seniors Creating Change was designed to capture the attention of the community, media and politicians. In 2011 a Queensland Government Regional Arts Development Fund Grant funded the pilot. These funds secured the services of a Registered Music Therapist and a Theatrical Director to put the model into practice. It also funded associated costs such as musical instruments.

Practice Makes Perfect

Practice sessions involved warm-up vocal exercises and light stretches lead by the Music Therapist. Group decision-making processes were developed and morning tea facilitated socialisation among the members.

Five practice sessions occurred before the debut performance. The first session explored the purpose of the group, discussed singing experiences and begun singing songs from a songbook created by the Therapist. The second and third sessions focused on song choice. The third session had members explore what they would change if they had the opportunity. Issues discussed included improving respect for seniors, the invisibility of seniors’ issues, improving aged care, housing and transport. The fourth session brought the chosen song together with theatrical components including spoken word and placards.

Debut Performance

The debut performance was a ‘flash mob’ at Stockland Shopping Centre in Aitkenvale. This flash mob consisted of thirty (30) seniors surprising shoppers in the Food Court. The seniors stood up, peeled off their over-shirts to reveal a common red t-shirt and sang Seeger and Hay’s classic, civil rights movement song, ‘If I had a hammer’.

The performance roused considerable interest among media sources. Footage of that event has almost 8,000 hits on YouTube. The debut lead to requests for future performances across North Queensland.

It has a powerful message to deliver and I believe we are raising awareness of the impact of ageism in our society.

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