A provider and two peak bodies have teamed up to deliver an online Christmas concert with famous entertainers to lift the spirits of Australia’s aged care and retirement living residents, their families and staff members after a tough year.
The Big Christmas Sing-A-Long, which is being coordinated by NSW aged care and retirement living provider Royal Freemasons’ Benevolent Institution and provider peaks Aged and Community Services Australia and Leading Age Services Australia, aims to counteract some of the isolation and loneliness many older Australians have experienced because of the COVID-19 restrictions.
The two-hour concert will be hosted by Studio 10 presenter and Ten News First national newsreader Narelda Jacobs and older people and their families are invited to pre-record Christmas carols and messages to be included in the Sing-A-Long.
It will include performances by well-known local entertainers including one-time pop singer and host of television program Young Talent Time, Johnny Young, and singer songwriter and actor Normie Rowe.
It will also feature Marjory Wood, a registered nurse at RFBI Basin View Masonic Village and experienced performer and singer.
Ms Wood said it has been “an incredibly hard twelve months” for the village’s residents.
“In Basin View, our village came precariously close to bush fires last summer and since the pandemic, as with everyone else, our residents haven’t been able to see as much of their loved ones,” she said.
Music and singing has a powerful and positive effect on people and is also a great way to connect, Ms Wood said.
“The Big Christmas Sing-A-Long is a great initiative, I am extremely proud to be working for an organisation that does these kinds of things to improve the lives of older people and am really excited to be part of it.”
Mr Young said he was excited to be part of the show.
“I am delighted to be part of the Big Christmas Sing-A-Long which I know will bring a great deal of enjoyment and fun to many of our seniors,” Mr Young said.
Mr Rowe said the concert would help bring some joy to those most deserving.
“The elderly have born much more of the brunt of COVID-19, often being unable to enjoy the warmth and love of their families. Being locked away from the most enjoyable parts of our lives and the close relationships with our grandchildren creates a misery totally unexpected,” Mr Rowe said.
“The Big Christmas Sing-A-Long will hopefully bring a slice of Christmas cheer to all who can experience it and I am so grateful for the opportunity to be asked to take part,” he said.
Other acts include singer Kamahl and television personality Ernie Dingo.
RFBI CEO Frank Price said they aimed to help boost older people’s lives and feelings with support and inspiration through this special event.
“The wonderful thing is that everyone can join legendary entertainers in the broadcast,” he said.
ACSA CEO Patricia Sparrow said older people needed and deserved the fundamental human experience to share and enjoy music.
“Singalongs might seem like a purely symbolic gesture at first but nothing could be further from the truth. This is a window into happiness that the entire community should be helping to keep open,” she said.
LASA CEO Sean Rooney said the event was an important occasion.
“After battling COVID-19 and its broad impact on Australians, we want to celebrate the joy of living, sing some Christmas carols and also continue rocking on,” Mr Rooney said.
The online concert will be created by producer Ben Alcott in the Damn Good Productions studio in Sydney.
The show will be broadcast on 17 December from 1pm – 3pm.
Find out more here.