A host of Australian celebrities will create a two-hour national Christmas celebration to lift spirits among 1.5 million older Australians in aged care and retirement living, their families and care staff, who have endured pandemic restrictions.
Called the Big Christmas Sing-A-Long, the online festive show will feature Australian stars and international entertainers, with local people encouraged to contribute to the concert alongside famous performers including Johnny Young, Normie Rowe AM, Kamahl and Ernie Dingo.
Home care clients along with residential care and retirement village residents, their families and communities are being asked to pre-record video Christmas carols and festive messages for inclusion in the Sing-A-Long.
“I am delighted to be part of the Big Christmas Sing-A-Long which I know will bring a great deal of enjoyment and fun to many of our seniors,” said Johnny Young.
Normie Rowe AM said it was a great initiative to be asked to join.
“This last year has been such a struggle for us all but none more so than those of us who have been isolated from our loved ones, especially the ones who are in care,” he said.
“The elderly have born much more of the brunt of COVID-19, often being unable to enjoy the warmth and love of their families. Being locked away from the most enjoyable parts of our lives and the close relationships with our grandchildren creates a misery totally unexpected.
“The Big Christmas Singalong will hopefully bring a slice of Christmas cheer to all who can experience it and I am so grateful for the opportunity to be asked to take part.”
The Big Christmas Sing-A-Long will be hosted by Studio 10 presenter and Ten News First national newsreader Narelda Jacobs.
“This a wonderful way to give back to our seniors during a year that’s robbed us all of cherished time together,” said Narelda Jacobs.
“While some still can’t be reunited with loved ones, the Big Christmas Sing-a-long will hopefully provide comfort, joy and fun. The pandemic has united us against a common foe, so on the 17th of December let’s come together as a big family to spread some festive cheer.”
A feature of the show will be a fun video montage of the carol The 12 Days Of Christmas, produced from videos sent in from residential and home care providers and retirement villages around Australia.
Experienced producer Ben Alcott is creating the show in the Damn Good Productions Sydney studio, which includes well-known entertainers, choirs, student performers and space for locals to submit content.
The Big Christmas Sing-A-Long is being coordinated by the Royal Freemasons’ Benevolent Institution (RFBI), Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) and Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) and promoted by national age services organisations.
“The idea is to help restore older people’s lives and feelings in a positive way, with support and inspiration through this special event,” said RFBI CEO Frank Price.
“The wonderful thing is that everyone can join legendary entertainers in the broadcast.”
ACSA CEO Pat Sparrow said: “Music and the collective experience of it is uplifting to us all. Older people need and deserve what is a fundamental human experience – to share and enjoy music.
“Singalongs might seem like a purely symbolic gesture at first but nothing could be further from the truth. This is a window into happiness that the entire community should be helping to keep open.”
With millions of Australians enduring COVID-19 challenges, LASA CEO Sean Rooney said the Sing-A-Long was an important occasion.
“After battling COVID-19 and its broad impact on Australians, we want to celebrate the joy of living, sing some Christmas carols and also continue rocking on,” he said.
The Big Christmas Sing-A-Long has also linked up with a similar online event in the United Kingdom, so some local messages and carols could also be broadcast in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, along with some UK performers contributing to the Australian event.
Australia’s Big Christmas Sing-A-Long will potentially go to over 3,000 aged care homes, retirement villages and home care organisations that cover more than 1.5 million people, plus millions of family members.
The show will be broadcast on Thursday 17 December between 1-3pm AEDT.
The website is https://bigchristmassingalong.com
Contact: Nicholas Way (LASA) 0419 835 449
Alana Parker (RFBI) 0406 151 929
Peter Stahel (ACSA) 0408 584 439