The local singing praises on Docklands
As a resident of Yarra’s Egde and member of the Open Door Singers, Jenny Cleal is making the most of her central location.
Having always resided in suburban areas with plenty of garden to look after, the move to apartment living has been a big change for Jenny but one she deems as a “welcomed change”.
It is also through putting herself out there that she can now sit back and say she is living her fullest life.
“I think unless you take the opportunities of the location in which you live, you will be a lonely person,” she said.
“There are so many opportunities to meet people and to feel involved and get enjoyment out of life. There really is no excuse.”
Between spending her Thursday afternoons gardening in Yarra Point’s third and fifth floor gardens, walking, knitting beanies for Mission to Seafarers and reading at the Library at the Dock, Jenny raves about being in the Open Door Singers choir.
As a local choir involving no audition and plenty of “fun”, Jenny has found her three years with the Open Door Singers to be good for the soul.
“I love music and wouldn’t have ever called myself a singer but I love joining in and there is such a great bunch of people,” she said.
“It is so good for you emotionally, spiritually and socially and I just want people to know more about it. Some people get churlish because they think they will have to sing on their own, but you don’t, you just join in and sing along with other people.”
Conducted and run by musical director Shaun Islip, Docklands’ Open Door Singers meet at 100 Lorimer St, next to Yarra Point, on Wednesdays between 5.30pm and 6:30pm.
While the environment is one where everyone is welcomed and made to feel comfortable, Jenny said it was also a great place to learn from others and Mr Islip.
In addition to the practices, the choir also does performances at various events around the city, with their next gig set for July 13 at the Queen Victoria Market’s Winter Night Market, which is something Jenny said was both “really good fun” and gives you a “sense of elation”.
Alongside belting out tunes from The Greatest Showman, Les Misérables and Phantom of the Opera, Jenny said meeting people had been one of the other more positive things about Docklands life.
The “friendly environment” of Docklands has also seen many acquaintances become friends, and while apartment living may not suit everyone, it most certainly has become home for Jenny. •
For more information: opendoorsingers.org.au