Salvo’s Hope Community Choir sings joy and wellbeing

The members of the Salvation Army Hope Community Choir.

ANY Australian family can attest the importance of making time for friends and family, working well with colleagues and getting along with the neighbours.

When circumstances become difficult – as many throughout the nation find the present cost-of-living crisis – things are much more bearable when people can live together “with a little harmony”.

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The Salvation Army Hope Community Choir knows this to be a literal truth.

“Our Choir ‘family’ has earned a wonderful reputation for its ability to bring joy and happiness into the lives of its members as well as the audiences they entertain,” said choir director Susan Petterson.

“It is a proven fact that singing improves our sense of happiness and wellbeing.”

The choir first formed under the umbrella of Port Stephens Council as a community group, but in 2017, when the council was unable to continue the program, the Salvation Army at Raymond Terrace was eager to carry the torch.

“Obviously the members at that time didn’t want to stop singing together,” said Susan, “and we thought this was a wonderful opportunity to build connection with our community.”

The Choir welcomes anyone and everyone who loves to sing and is looking for a place to connect with others.

The diversity of Hope Community Choir members is reflected in their repertoire, compiled from a variety of genres such as country music, contemporary radio hits, musicals and classic standards with a few hymns mixed in.

Since taking over stewardship of the choir Susan has led them in singing regularly at aged care homes, centres for disabled people, local shopping centres and concerts all throughout the Hunter.

When pressed on the performances that have meant the most to the group, Susan said the regular opportunities to sing at ANZAC and Remembrance Day ceremonies linger as something special, although a performance last Christmas at the Raymond Terrace Marketplace is also a contender.

“It was such a joy to just sing carols for the people passing by.”

The doors are always open for newcomers seeking fun, fellowship and lots of great music.

“No auditions, the only criteria required to join our choir is you love to sing and enjoy bringing pleasure to others.”

Rehearsals are held on Thursday evenings, beginning with coffee and chat at 5pm and then singing from 5.30pm – 7pm.

Enquiries regarding membership or booking the choir can be made via their Facebook page – The Salvation Army Hope Community Choir – or by contacting the Choir Director Susan Petterson via email

By Lindsay HALL

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