The Responsibility of The Arts by Katie Noonan
I believe the arts have a responsibility to comment on the orders of the day. I believe that music is the most accessible and inclusive form of art. I believe that music comes from a place of love and healing.
While ruminating upon my first festival as an Artistic Director, I felt that as Queensland’s only state-wide arts festival, we should use the power of music to talk about difficult issues affecting our State.
Each day there seemed to be a new story about the domestic and family violence epidemic and after reading the Not Now Not Ever report, I felt compelled to dream big and envisioned a choir of thousands of voices unified in communal compassion.
This dream became a reality in 2017 and was a profoundly moving experience. Using the iconic You’re the Voice, we combined as one powerful voice, singing out for those whose voices had been silenced by violence, singing out for change.
While reflecting on this year’s festival, the story that kept speaking to me was the crisis of the mental health of our boys and men, particularly in regional Australia. I have also been alarmed by the increasingly negative rhetoric around our boys and men.
This year we are using Glenn Shorrock’s iconic Help is on its Way - a song about mateship and singing to your inner self. We are encouraging our boys and men to commune, talk and sing together and we are reframing seeking help as an act of bravery.
This dream is being realized across eight regional Queensland centres and will culminate with a choir of thousands across the county, unified as one voice, singing about self-care, compassion and community.
There is nothing more beautiful than a communion of voices united in sound. I believe that everyone that can talk can sing and I hope Queensland Music Festival encourages you to find your voice and use your voice for good.
For more 20th Anniversary stories click here.