Sing Australia St George would like to say a huge thank you to John and Toni Darcy who have been our leaders since we began seven years ago. John, who was a Co-leader of Sing Australia Sutherland, promoted the idea of a St. George Sing Australia group and received encouragement from Colin Slater, the National Director. John’s wife Toni threw herself wholeheartedly into the project and became Co-leader. After thousands of letter box drops, newspaper articles and interviews on 2NBC a very successful first meeting took place on Mon, 26 Mar, 2012 at Peakhurst South Public School. Sing Australia St. George acquired 100 plus members very quickly and for reasons no one can quite explain, a higher than usual proportion of male members For many years John and Toni did all the organisation such as the venue, equipment, agendas, gigs, finances and took on a host of other roles, the extent of which has only become apparent in the recent devolution to a new leadership team. Their strong focus on community involvement saw the choir performing 30 plus gigs a year, which is quite an achievement. Perhaps the most significant measure of their success is that, for more than seven years, they have provided a nurturing environment for over 100 diverse singers — and at the end of it managed a smooth transfer to a new team. That is truly brilliant leadership. A very successful hand-over night occurred on March 11 in which Sing Australia St George honoured and celebrated John and Toni’s leadership with the following speech, and two songs sung especially for them.
THANK YOU NIGHT FOR JOHN AND TONI (Written and delivered by Sing Australia St George’s new Leader, Sue Allison) John and Toni, what can we say but THANK YOU FOR THE MUSIC. You have truly helped us all by giving us THE GIFT OF SONG. When you started Sing Australia St George some seven years ago you must have looked at all the work there was to do – and possibly have felt as though you were IN A WORLD OF YOUR OWN but you worked NIGHT AND DAY, and you NEVER LET GO OF YOUR DREAM of a strong and successful singing group. John initially was the sole leader – but then he said to Toni “This is A TIME FOR US – and Toni was more than ready to STAND BY HER MAN. Together they set out to CLIMB EVERY MOUNTAIN for our choir. They did not settle for ANY DREAM WILL DO. John kept his focus on WHY WE SING - and made sure that we had plenty of high profile gigs. Toni meanwhile showed us her TRUE COLOURS as a leader with her HAPPY TALK and her AMAZING GRACE - and look what they have created. Our Monday night practices have become part of our RHYTHM OF LIFE. We have banished THE SOUNDS OF SILENCE and can all appreciate WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD we can have through our singing. If WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS, (and aren’t we?) if we are ON TOP OF THE WORLD (and I think we are) it is because you, John and Toni, have DONE US PROUD. However, good things sometimes have to come to an end and yes – now is the time that AUTUMN LEAVES BEGIN TO FALL - but it is definitely not THE END OF THE LINE. Luckily for us you will not be AT A DISTANCE, you are not LEAVING ON A JET PLANE. Rather I want you both to IMAGINE - next Monday night, you can WALK RIGHT IN, SIT RIGHT DOWN and SING – SING A SONG- or 2, or 3, or more. John and Toni, I hope that you can FEEL THE LOVE TONIGHT and our appreciation of all you have done as leaders. Yes your role in the choir is changing but we certainly hope that you will always CONSIDER YOURSELF ONE OF US. As I begin my leadership I’M BEGINNING TO SEE THE LIGHT – but tonight we will sing FOR THE GOOD TIMES. It is indeed A GRAND NIGHT FOR SINGING and we want to say, “Thank you”. What better way than to sing? Here are two songs that we have chosen especially because we know you like them. For John, On The Road to Gundagai and for Toni, Walking In The Air.
Comment: Thank you Sue for the splendid and very clever and beautiful tribute to John and Toni. They have indeed been exceptional Leaders. I remember vividly the very beginnings of the group. John and Toni personally did a major letter box drop in the community to start the group and that kind of effort and enthusiasm never dropped. They have always been enormously respectful of the Sing Australia concept and enormously loyal to us in Head Office. We have had a most enjoyable working relationship through their brilliant communication and great courtesy. Their constant pro active initiatives for the group have always advanced the cause of Sing Australia and presented it as a strong advocate for encouraging more people to sing. Thank you John and Toni. Your great efforts and success will be proudly and well documented in the annuls of Sing Australia. Congratulations on a job well done. We welcome Sue to the role of Leader with open arms and extend to her our congratulations and huge thanks for taking it on. We look forward to working closely with her and wish her all the very best. She has wonderful credentials and we look forward to revealing more about that in due course. 3 cheers for St George!!! ...
Dear Colin, Margaret and the Sing Australia Network
Last Friday we celebrated an early St Patrick’s Day at Nagle Apartments in Sutherland. SAP 4 has some great Irish classics and together with some sing along numbers in SAP 1 our concert went extremely well. Some of our members are residents here and some work here so we were looked after well – the green sponge cake was scrumptious. On my train trip back home to Kiama I heard the shocking news about the shootings in Christchurch. What hardship this community has had to endure over the past few years. Harmony Day is celebrated next week and with the help of some members have been choosing songs which will honour 3 things:
1.How music can connect people from all ethnicities and religious beliefs; 2.The need for acceptance and generosity of spirit; and 3. The value of being an open and loving community.
Sing Australia itself has these principles at it’s heart. Best wishes to all.
Maree Shepherd, Conductor Sutherland
Comment: You are amazing Maree. Your contribution to Sing Australia particularly with the Sutherland and Kiama groups is exceptional. To drive to between groups each week is a massive effort and your passion and energy is inspiring. The three things you intend to honour for Harmony Day are certainly our aspirations in Sing Australia. Always good to celebrate St Pats day. That must have been fun - especially the green sponge cake. Thanks Maree and all at Sutherland. ...