BY SYLVIE WOODS
Family and domestic violence towards women results in a police call-out every two minutes across Australia.
Another harrowing average? At least one woman in this country is killed each week by a partner or former partner.
In an initiative which acknowledges how vital it is that we work to fight these disturbing figures, singer Katie Noonan harnesses the immense power of music to incite change at her You’re The Voice choral concert this July in Queensland.
The power of music to further a cause is monumental. And certainly, as a musical icon in Australia, Katie Noonan is in an incredible position to speak out. Our favourite part of this is that everyone is invited to sing along with Katie: We can sing together for those whose voices have been silenced by fear and use the power of music to educate, empower and create change.
How did you come to the idea of addressing domestic violence through music?
The event was inspired by the Not Now, Not Ever report that our event patron Dame Quentin Bryce chaired. Australia’s domestic violence crisis is not an easy subject but a pertinent one that cannot be ignored. As artistic director of the Queensland Music Festival, I felt strongly that our organisation had a role to play in tackling this issue. And rather than observing silence for the victims, I thought it would be wonderful to make our voices heard and to encourage as many people as possible to join us in doing so.
How has your life, or the life of anyone close to you, been touched by issues of domestic violence in the past? Is this a concern that resonates with you on a personal level?
Although I have not personally been affected by the domestic and family violence crisis, I believe this issue affects us all either directly or indirectly. The stats are so bad that all of us know a victim/survivor.
You can use the power of your voice to sing for that friend on July 29, and sing for all the victims/survivors you don’t know as an act of love and compassion to those less fortunate than yourself.
If you could impart to our readers some advice about organising an activist event using the power of music, what would it be?
Music has an indefinable pull – a unique quality that is able to bring people from all walks of life together like nothing else can. Music turns strangers into friends easily!
My advice for anyone wanting to organise this type of event would be to focus on a cause that you’re passionate about and to form a clear vision of what you want to do and what you want to achieve; to surround yourselves with like-minded people and to just go for it. There’s no time like the present and we as a people have ‘the power to be powerful’ and do good with our lives.
You are incredibly well-known in the contemporary scene across the country, but what is your background and passion concerning choral singing?
Singing in a group gives us a deep sense of wellbeing and is such an honest, heartfelt and powerful way of making music. I distinctly remember singing Benjamin Britten’s Ceremony of Carols when I was a child and being completely in awe of the sound that I was a small part of! I have also been lucky enough to sing in the chorus of Carmina Burana at the Sydney Opera Concert Hall when I was 16 and that was a truly incredible experience. I also love nothing more than sitting around the lounge room with my girlfriends singing together.
There used to be a lot more of us who sang in choirs or in groups around the piano at home but somewhere along the line, I feel we’ve lost our way a bit and we are missing that sense of connection and community through sharing song together. Through You’re the Voice specifically, and Queensland Music Festival generally, I’m hoping to get people singing together again.
For those of us elsewhere in the country who are not able to sing at the event, will the performance be telecast or available to watch in other ways?
Yes! We will livestream the concert through the Queensland Music Festival website and social media channels so that people of all ages, from every corner of Australia, can sing John Farnham’s iconic anthem in unison with those at the Brisbane finale event on 29 July at 5pm.
What are you most looking forward to about the concert?
The opening notes of You’re The Voice. This concert has been months in the making and I can’t wait to see and hear it all come together in this powerful musical moment on 29 July. The prospect of thousands of people coming together to sing for change, knowing that each and every individual has made the active choice to use their voice for good, is awe-inspiring, to say the least. I feel extremely privileged to be a part of this event.
Image supplied. Credit: Cybel Malinowski.