Terang Express
Television appearance and award highlights for south west singers

A NUMBER of Cooinda Terang clients have hit the high notes recently as part of the Find Your Voice All Abilities choir, including becoming television stars and receiving a State Government award.

Ten Cooinda Terang clients have been working hard alongside about 160 other singers and performers from across the south west as part of the choir.

The brainchild of Warrnambool musician Tom Richardson and All Abilities Advocacy facilitator Kylie Thulborn, the group received the Minister’s Award for Outstanding Leadership as part of the 2019 Victorian Disability Awards last week.

The group also received high commendations in the ‘excellence in creating inclusive communities’ and ‘volunteer excellence’ categories.

Cooinda Terang disability co-ordinator and local choir facilitator Clare Neal said the local members were “totally stunned” to discover the group had received the special Minister’s Award.

“It was a massive surprise and a big honour,” she said.

Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers Luke Donnellan said the choir displayed a high level of effort and support which the awards aimed to celebrate.

“The Victorian Disability Awards are an important opportunity for us to recognise people who provide outstanding support, leadership, advocacy, service and education to Victorians with disability,” he said.

“Creating a diverse and inclusive community is a top priority for this government and we wouldn’t be where we are today without the leadership and perseverance shown from people across the disability sector.”

The group received the award off the back of a number of high-profile performances, including a spot on prime time television on ‘Australia’s Got Talent’ earlier this month.

Singing a medley of popular songs ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’ and ‘I Want to Break Free’, the group received unanimous support from the show’s judges and a resounding ‘Yes’ from the crowd.

Ms Neal said it was exciting for the choir participants to keep the secret of their appearance after filming the segment in May.

“It was so much fun to meet those famous people,” she said.

“To get a standing ovation was a big treat as well.”

The choir did not progress further in the competition and missed out on the chance to travel to Sydney.

However, Ms Neal said it was a chance for the choir to spread its love for music to a national audience and beyond.

“It was mostly about the experience,” she said.

As the choir continues to grow in membership numbers and support, Ms Neal said more special performances were on the way, including a one-night-only show at the Lighthouse Theatre in Warrnambool on Thursday, November 14.

“There’s always something in the pipeline,” she said.

Cooinda Terang general manager Philip Hose said the group hoped to host a choir performance in Terang soon.

For more information about the group, visit the ‘Find Your Voice – All Abilities Choir’ Facebook page.