MiC Awards 2012

Winner: Shellie Morris and the Borroloola Songwomen (NT) $5000 prize

Runners Up: Stroke a Chord Choir (VIC), Wagga City Rugby Male Choir (NSW) $2500 each

Shellie2 403wA project to connect younger generations with the songs of Top End elder indigenous women, a music-driven research program to give voice to stroke survivors with little or no speech, and a Rugby choir bringing blokes together through music are prize winners in the 2012 Music in Communities Awards.

Shellie Morris and the ‘Borroloola Songwomen’ are the overall national winners, for a project which sees elders communicate their music and language in a way that engages with younger people within the community, and indeed many people beyond Borroloola. Shellie, a successful singer-songwriter in her own right, returned to the country of her maternal grandmother to learn, record, and promote the songs of her ancestors.

“Working with people to engage their memory and tap into their rich knowledge is incredibly intimate,” says the National Judges’ citation. “The real skill here is that through this intimate process the knowledge gets passed on to a wider audience, as a gift. If this is not a celebration of what music can do, what is?!”

An initiative of the Music Council of Australia, the awards are presented each year by the Council’s Music in Communities Network, Australia’s only national network for community music groups and practitioners.

With a prize pool of $10,000, the Awards are designed to highlight outstanding examples of community-based music making across the country, with a different theme each year. The winner and two runners up in this year’s 2012 “Creative Ageing” theme exemplify different approaches to connecting older Australians with their creative lives, resulting in diverse benefits.

StrokeAChord 398wTwo runners-up were named this year. The Melbourne-based Stroke a Chord Choir is for stroke survivors with Aphasia. While its members have little or no speech, they can still sing - a brain phenomenon which is being further researched through this initiative. Wagga City Rugby Male Choir is building on existing community connections made through sport and providing an inclusive and ‘non-threatening’ place for men to sing and learn music together.

“Our winners show the value of music, not only in making music but in sustaining community connections, cultural heritage and language, health and wellbeing, social inclusion and of course the artistic value,” says Alex Masso, convenor of the awards.

Special thanks to the national judging panel: Dr Richard Letts (Executive Director, Music Council of Australia), Noeline Brown (Ambassador for Ageing), Helen Zigmond (Director, Arts & Health Australia), and Associate Professor Felicity Baker (University of Queensland; President, Australian Music Therapy Association)


Albany City Wind Ensemble| Campbelltown Arts Centre | Canberra U3A Recorder Orchestra| Catch Music | The Daytones | Goulburn Regional Conservatorium | Intergenerational Music Group | Lane Cove Concert Band | Marian Grove Ukulele Group | Rainbow Choir |Shellie Morris and the Borroloola Songwomen | Silver Beat Rock Choir | Stroke a Chord Choir | Ultra Golden Country Music Association | Wagga City Rugby Male Choir 

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