Sing it from the rooftops: Choirmaster Jo makes our choir shine once again

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Last updated:
25/05/2021

Jo Carr knows exactly how to bring people out of their shells: let them sing. That is what Jo does best and is why she is the new Choirmaster at IMPACT Community Services.

IMPACT Community Services' Choirmaster Jo Carr
IMPACT Community Services' Choirmaster Jo Carr

Jo took up her new role just last week and says of her first rehearsal, “It went really great.”

Jo has big plans for the choir and one of those is to get it up and running as soon as possible to entertain the citizens of Bundaberg.

Jo has lived in Bundaberg for the last 15 years after moving from Melbourne with her musician husband Peter Knight.

She became one of the area's busiest singing teachers, with students travelling from as far as Agnes Water, Childers, Gin Gin and Tiaro.

Jo was trained herself by many outstanding singing teachers including Jonathan Welch OAM who conducted The Choir of Hard Knocks.

During her halcyon days of the eighties and nineties, Jo fronted some of Melbourne’s top cover bands which supported the likes of Concrete Blonde, John Paul Young and Renee Geyer at Melbourne clubs like Billboard and The Palais at St. Kilda.

Now her stage is the community venues of Bundaberg, bringing joy to our local residents and making sure the choir has as much fun as possible. 

Jo is no stranger to working with people with a disability as she has taught many in one-on-one sessions, but hadn't yet tackled the challenge of a whole choir.

“Singing brings them out of themselves,” she said, “and they can't hide their joy.”

“Most people when they sing are reserved or self-conscious, but they don't care what people think and their joy is infectious. And everyone loves a singalong.”

Jo plans to incorporate more hand movements and subtle choreography into the performance.

Currently they are working on 'Crazy little thing called love' and 'Eye of the Tiger' and with the latter she will encourage them to punch the air and make other movements that will bring the song alive.

“It's going to be fun,” she said.

“We'll work it out together, and grow together as we do. It's a great opportunity for them to shine.”

The IMPACT Community Choir has been shining since 2011 and consists of a range of different people from varied organisations and of all abilities who love to sing.

Our choir members are people with a disability or psychosocial barrier, support workers, volunteers and IMPACT staff, and has performed at local aged care facilities, community groups and events.

If you love to sing and would like to join in please phone 4153 4233 and ask to speak with our NDIS department. If you'd like to invite the choir to perform at your venue or next event, go to https://impact.org.au/support-and-wellbeing/disability-mental-health/community-choir/

Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director
Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services' Managing Director

By Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya talks about the evolving disability climate and IMPACT's new NDIS programs.

The National Disability Insurance Scheme provides Australians under the age of 65 with a permanent and significant disability with the reasonable and necessary support they need to enjoy life.

Under the NDIS families and carers have access to the help they need to support people with disability so they can participate in a life filled with community and employment opportunities.

IMPACT Community Services has been providing disability support services to the Bundaberg community for 20 years.

The disability sector has evolved significantly over this time, and IMPACT prides itself on its ability to continuously adapt with the climate.

After assessing and reviewing the needs of people with a NDIS plan in the Bundaberg region, our NDIS department has put together some new programs to better meet our community’s needs.

We are eager to have our mental health recovery program begin in the next few weeks, which will offer one-on-one mental health support to NDIS participants.

STRONGER TOGETHER: Community Hub to benefit Bundaberg

Research shows many participants require mental health support however few have access to appropriate services.

Support coordination will also become available shortly at IMPACT, which will involve a dedicated staff member who will work with participants to assess their goals and find complimentary and beneficial services.

Lights, Camera, Action is another new program which will be group-based and teach participants how to shoot and edit video content to make short films.

Our fourth and final new addition to our suite of NDIS services is a Dungeons and Dragons group.

Another group-based program, the D&D service will provide a space for likeminded people to meet and play the fantasy game in a safe space, topped with a Dungeon Master (Support Worker) leading the way.

STRONGER TOGETHER: Your mindset begins with you

We are also thrilled to welcome two new NDIS support workers to our IMPACT family who will host these new programs for our participants.

These fantastic new additions join our already popular suite of services; the Cooee arts group, Manga drawing class, Fitness for Fun, Rob’s Shed, Community Access Group, and the famous IMPACT Community Choir, which will be singing once again this Wednesday, April 21.

If you or someone you know might enjoy or benefit from our inclusive and welcoming programs, please reach out by phoning 4153 4233.

It is such a joy to see our NDIS community engage in rewarding activities that allow them to reach their goals.

IMPACT is in the game of improving lives; let’s work together to make a difference.

Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director
Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

By Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

"STRONGER TOGETHER" IS A WEEKLY COLUMN WHERE TANYA EXPLORES KEY ISSUES. TODAY TANYA TALKS ABOUT THE IMPACT CHOIR AND THE IMPORTANCE OF SOCIALISATION FOR ALL ABILITIES.

For 20 years IMPACT has offered disability services to the Bundaberg community, and we are thrilled to see the return of our Community Choir after it was put on hold due to COVID restrictions.

On March 17 we will hold our first choir group since February last year.

IMPACT Choir back for 2021

It’s sad to think it’s been 12 months since we’ve heard the joy of our choir, but to know it’s coming back better than ever warms my heart.

This year marks the 10th year of operation for the IMPACT Choir and our staff and participants could not be more eager to hit the stage once again.

Our Choir members are people with a disability or psychosocial barrier, support workers, volunteers and IMPACT staff who meet each Wednesday to rehearse and learn new songs.

Other community organisations are also welcome to attend and bring their clients along.

Previously members from Community Lifestyle Support, Endeavour, Carinbundi and YMCA have regularly been involved in rehearsals and performances to provide further social interaction for participants.

The Choir is supported by support staff who bring their own music accompaniment, expertise and love of music to assist each week.

Learn more about our IMPACT Community Choir

Sing with us, it's good for you!

Research has found singing reduces stress, improves breathing and posture, and provides cognitive stimulation to help memory function.

While our choir members have formerly excelled in more traditional genres, this new chapter is looking to introduce modern hits from artists we all know and love.

The choir used to perform on alternate Wednesdays at venues such as aged care facilities, community groups and events, which we hope to begin again soon.

The smiles and delight our choir bring are such a pleasure for everyone involved.

If you haven’t treated yourself to an IMPACT choir performance yet, I urge you to keep your eyes peeled for the next public announcement; you’re sure to be overcome with a happiness only our choir can foster.

If you love to sing and would like to join in, or if you would like to volunteer your expertise, get in touch by phoning 4153 4233.

We need you! Join the choir today.

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