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Children are impacted by disasters in their own way and their experiences can sometimes be overlooked. Disasters can impact in several ways, for example directly impacted in their homes and families, disrupting to normal life routines and reducing in connection with friends.

Kempsey, a town on the Mid North Coast has been named as one of the most disaster-stricken towns in NSW. from 2019 – 2022 – Kempsey experienced compounding disasters of drought, bushfires, floods followed by COVID 19. Singing in groups, movement and other community related activities were limited in schools at the height of the COVID 19 pandemic.

Two full day Power of Song workshops were offered at St Joseph’s Primary School Kempsey during Term 3, 2022. Workshops were delivered by year group over a series of sessions. The workshops used world music songs to introduce acapella harmony singing in an age-appropriate manner. Body percussion and rhythmic movement was employed to enhance the therapeutic benefits offered by group harmony singing. The children enjoyed the singing and body movement and engaged enthusiastically in the sessions. Power of Song workshops were designed and delivered by Ruth Nolan, a fully qualified Creative Arts Therapist and experienced choir leader, known to the students through her role at St Joseph’s as part time School Counsellor.

The students were enthusiastic and enjoyed the singing and clapping and hand movements. Teachers reported that the children have been more focused and alert and improved listening skills in class. The children have reported that the singing group makes them feel good and confident.

“Singing together builds a group identity and community benefits. The kids love being on stage” (Teacher)

“Sometimes it makes me feel relaxed, it calms me down when I am stressed, if you sing you can be confident” (Student)

“Singing together we can be in time, we work together, if we mess up we have our friends to help us” (Student)

A Creative Recovery project supported by Arts Mid North Coast and made possible through the joint Commonwealth/State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements, Resilience NSW and FRRR (Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal).

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We live and work across the traditional lands of the Gumbaynggirr, Dunghutti/Thunghutti and Biripi Nations on the Mid North Coast of NSW.

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