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Docklander - Feb 2019

01 Feb 2019

Docklander - Feb 2019 Image

I’m Monica Long, a Docklands resident since March 2013 and a Docklands worker since 2005.

Our Bureau of Meteorology building at 700 Collins St (then known as the Medibank building) was one of the few office buildings in the area when we moved in, but Docklands has certainly grown since then!

I love many things about living in Docklands – access to walking paths by the waterside, Ron Barassi Snr Park, free trams to my doorstep, the view of Docklands Park from my balcony, the amazing library, Kep Whitley’s chocolates and ice-creams, wonderful restaurants and cafes within walking distance – the list could go on and on! But my favourite thing of all in Docklands is the Open Door Singers – Docklands Choir.

I have been a member of the choir for just over two years and it has really changed my life for the better.

Through our regular Wednesday afternoon catch-ups I have made many new friends. Quite a few of them live in Docklands or work nearby, but we have others who travel all the way from Dandenong and other outer suburbs to be part of our fantastic group.

What struck me when I first came along to a rehearsal was the warm welcome I received. Margot Islip, who is the co-ordinator extraordinaire of the Open Door Singers groups, gave me a big smile and introduced me to some of the regular singers in the group. Everyone was really encouraging and friendly and I felt like I had come to a second home.

I have quite a musical background, having sung almost since I could talk, and played piano since the age of four. But the great thing about Open Door Singers is that you don’t need to have any formal musical training – you just need to love music, love singing and love to have fun.

We are led by internationally-renowned conductor Shaun Islip, whose energy, enthusiasm and positive encouragement keep us on track – even when we’re learning something new that’s a bit tricky.

With Shaun’s leadership, a backing track and the lyrics projected on to a screen, we sing along together and find ourselves uplifted from the routine of the day or the worries of the week. By the end of the session we all leave with a smile, feeling like we’re on top of the world.

That’s what singing together does – it fills your heart like nothing else can. There are formal studies being done on the benefits of singing in a group, but it’s something that I’ve known for a long time. Singing with the Open Door Singers Docklands puts me on a high for the rest of the week.

Our choir sings a large range of music from show tunes, such as Les Miserables, West Side Story and My Fair Lady, to contemporary bands such as Coldplay and Birds of Tokyo. We sing Disney classics from The Lion King, Aladdin and Frozen plus medleys from Gershwin. One of my personal favourites is a song called A True Friend from the new musical Muriel’s Wedding. In December, we’re also singing lots of Christmas music too!

I recently celebrated my 40th birthday and engagement party at Harbour Kitchen in Victoria Harbour. It was a no-brainer that the choir would be part of the celebrations because they really feel like my extended family here in Docklands. We had a wonderful night of celebrating together that I will remember fondly for all the years to come.

The motto of Open Door Singers is to Uplift, Inspire, Unite and Extend Hope and Encouragement to All.

I encourage you to join our friendly and welcoming group on Wednesdays from 5.30pm to 7pm in the Community Hub at the Dock Multipurpose Room – that’s the building next to Library at the Dock.

It doesn’t matter if you think you can’t really sing. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know anyone in the area – come along and give it a go! There is no audition process and you never know – you just may meet some new friends, find neighbours you didn’t know existed and have the time of your life!

We took a break in January – to give Shaun time to rest following a jam-packed December of concerts across his various choirs – but we’ll be back ready to go from February 6, 2019. We’d love to see you there with us!


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