What is your connection to Brimbank?
Until recently, I had lived in Brimbank all my life. I grew up in Deer Park and went to a primary school in the local area. The high school I attended was in West Sunshine. When I married, I continued living in the municipality of Brimbank, residing in St Albans for 28 years. I continue to teach music at a local primary school in Kealba and I am the director of the Brimbank Multicultural Community Choir.
What do you like best about the area?
What I like most about the area is its array of diverse cultures, and sense of community. Multiculturalism is all around you in Brimbank, from the people, to the restaurants, to the retail outlets and, of course, the community festivals. To me, without a little celebration of the diverse cultures living within our community, life would be quite boring.
What do you think could be done to improve Brimbank?
Children’s parks are lacking in Brimbank. I say this because I brought up three children in
St Albans, and in the area where we lived there was only one park and it wasn’t well kept.
Tell me about Brimbank Multicultural Community Choir.
The choir was derived from a musical theatre project called Belonging that was a collection of stories of migration from different members of the community told through word, song and visuals. I went along to an open community rehearsal to be part of the choir, dragging my three kids with me. We sang songs in many other languages. These songs were a collection of traditional folk songs collected by the musical director of the show, who went around Brimbank listening to stories and songs … from the Maltese, Chilean, Macedonian, Filipino, Turkish, African and Asian communities. Once the project ended, members of the Belonging Choir wanted to continue singing these songs in other languages and the Multicultural Choir was formed. We rehearsed at the Hunt Club Community and Arts Centre in Deer Park. Six months in, the director at the time was unable to continue and I assumed the role. I was very sceptical at first, as I hadn’t taught music or singing prior to this, but I took up the opportunity and challenge and have been directing this choir for the past 14 years. In keeping with the original idea of the Belonging Choir, I have committed to teaching repertoire in other languages, celebrating the diversity
of cultures within the Brimbank community. At last count, the choir sings in over 20 languages.
Brimbank has a big Maltese community. Tell us about your involvement in it.
I feel it is very important to sing songs in the languages representative of the cultures within the choir. I am an Australian of Maltese decent and my Maltese isn’t great, however I have managed, with the help of others, to teach the choir a couple of traditional Maltese songs. The Maltese community are overwhelmed with pride when we sing songs from their homeland.
Your story will be featured on Channel 31 this Friday. What can audiences expect?
I will be featured on
Maltese DownUnder at 4pm this Sunday, October 29. The show is repeated at other times. Expect to hear a little background on how I began teaching and eventually directing the BMCC. The audience will also hear a little of some members of the choir singing.
What would readers be surprised to know about you?
I’m in my third year at university, studying for a bachelor of education (primary). I have also taught myself to play the ukulele, which I love … I teach it to the students at the primary school where I teach.