By Danielle Kutchel
Melbourne Youth Chorale will soon debut a new choir to allow people of all abilities to join in the joy of song.
Called ‘Flying Free’, the choir will begin in 2022 and is specifically designed for kids aged eight to 11 who live with an intellectual disability.
The choir will be directed by Monika Harris, a registered speech pathologist, along with a multidisciplinary team who will work with parents to develop individualised learning plans for each chorister.
Ms Harris said she had been motivated to start the choir due to her passionate belief in inclusive musical education.
“I wish to provide a safe space for children with additional needs to flourish and achieve their best, wherever that is for them,” she said.
“I also hope to work towards their personal goals, whether that be learning to talk to new friends, expanding their expressive or receptive language skills, or learning to sing and make music collaboratively with others.”
The project manager behind Flying Free, Geralaine Salamat, knows all too well the importance of inclusivity.
“As the parent of a child with extra needs I’m really excited about the idea of Flying Free because it will help more and more vulnerable kids be able to come out of their shells and develop their musical capabilities, and benefit largely from therapeutic musical sessions regulating and managing their emotional and social wellbeing by engaging in a musical choir,” she explained.
Caitlyn Bosch, artistic director of Melbourne Youth Chorale (MYC), said Flying Free would provide opportunities for young people with additional needs that they may not be able to access elsewhere.
“Many high-quality choirs and music education organisations are auditioned, something that would provide a barrier to these children, but at MYC, we care about making quality music education available to all young people and wish to remove those barriers,” she said.
Flying Free received a VicHealth grant to cover its start-up costs.
The choir will begin meeting in 2022 at Beaconsfield Neighbourhood House on Wednesday nights from 6pm-6.45pm.
For enquiries, contact Kerry Alexander, MYC vice president, at firstname.lastname@example.org