Phoenix Voices Of Youth choir to benefit from concert

Raising their voice: Anna McDonald and Natalie Gooneratne with members of the Phoenix Voices Of Youth choir at Fairfield High School. They will perform a concert in November. Picture: Chris Lane
Raising their voice: Anna McDonald and Natalie Gooneratne with members of the Phoenix Voices Of Youth choir at Fairfield High School. They will perform a concert in November. Picture: Chris Lane

Phoenix Voices of Youth – a choir that gives newly arrived refugees the chance to show their true identities through music – are hosting their first concert on November 18 with the theme of ‘Be The Change’.

It’s rather ironic seeing artistic co-directors Anna McDonald and Natalie Gooneratne thought they might have to change their idea of establishing the choir after the first day.

“When we first opened the choir to the world, we had no one show up on the first day,” Ms McDonald said.

“We then talked to Community First Step who have been very supportive and they put us in contact with Fairfield High School’s Intensive English Centre and the choir was formed earlier this year.”

The choir is now singing to its own tune.

Every Wednesday a group of newly-arrived Australians from Fairfield High School belt out their favourite tunes.

Pop songs are the flavour of the month with  students embracing music from their new culture with songs like Just Like Fire from Pink and Pricetag from Jessie J some of their favourites.

But the group is not limited to pop with classical and Arabic music part of their repertoire.

A second all-encompassing choir rehearses on Thursday with the long-term goal set to become a top end choir.

However this group is more than just a choir.

“It’s a movement towards self expression, empowerment and welcoming new-arrivals through music,” Ms McDonald said.

“The idea is to ultimately is to bring everyone together as one big multicultural family and allow them to express themselves and feel empowered to sing songs.”

To aid their cause and to help host their first concert, the choir has been chosen as one of three beneficiaries of the World Peace Day concert: Oneness Celebration for World Peace 'Zin-Uru'. 

A lot of the children didn't even know what a choir was.

Anna McDonald

The concert will be held at the Metro Theatre on September 17 with all proceeds going charities that represent Love, Peace and Harmony.

“We were selected to represent harmony and we are very grateful because it will be great to use the money to host our concert that will challenge people if that want change, to be the change yourself,” Ms McDonald said. 

“A lot of the children involved had never sung in a choir or even know what a choir was so it is good to give them something fun to do at this very intense stage of their life.”