Local choir creates connection and celebration across Latrobe Valley

AAR-Dr-Jonathon-Welch-AMAn inventive virtual choir promoting social connection and fun through music in the Latrobe Valley is set to produce an online video featuring the world premiere of a new song – My Valley, My Home, written by the multi award winning conductor of Choir of Hard Knocks – Dr Jonathon Welch AM.

The My Valley, My Home virtual choir project is currently recruiting members to learn and develop a wide variety of musical and performance skills and techniques from the comfort and safety of their own home.

Developed in partnership between Latrobe Health Assembly, Latrobe Valley Community Choir, and Play It Forward, the project is bringing together diverse members of the community to learn, sing and record a song written especially for Latrobe Valley.

Play It Forward – the vision and legacy of Dr Jonathon Welch AM – is a national inclusive arts program which runs a number of choirs in Latrobe Valley, including the Latrobe Valley Community Choir and the YES I CAN Gippsland Choir, who have pivoted to operating virtually during lockdown.

Jonathon Welch composed the song My Valley, My Home following conversations and workshops with students at Morwell Central Primary School. It is hoped the celebratory song will become an anthem for local pride.

“I’ve been honoured to work with the wonderful Latrobe Valley Community Choir as their Artistic Director for the past seven years and create a number of largescale projects to help support the wonderful Latrobe Valley community,” said Dr Welch.

“I’ve always wanted to write a song that celebrates the beauty of the Valley, and the resilience, energy and diversity of the community and am thrilled that it will also showcase the local talent through this new commission.”

The My Valley, My Home project will culminate in the launch of an online video featuring choir members, as well as local Latrobe icons. This special rendition of My Valley, My Home will be showcased during Social Inclusion Week: 21 – 29 November 2020.

Latrobe Health Assembly Chair Tanya Rong said the project offers a unique opportunity for people to learn new skills. Although working virtually has its challenges, it has also provided silver linings, including increased accessibility and new social connections.

“We are committed to creating opportunities for everyone in Latrobe to connect and participate. This project is a great way for people to build and strengthen social connections and confidence, all while having fun,” said Ms Rong.

Participants in the project will take part in virtual rehearsals to develop skills and be supported through the recording process. For more information, visit: www.playitforward.org.au for details.

Image: Dr Jonathon Welch AM (supplied)