Voice of Real Australia is a regular newsletter from ACM, which has journalists in every state and territory. Sign up here to get it by email, or here to forward it to a friend. Today's newsletter is written by Port Macquarie News editor Tracey Fairhurst.
On March 13 myself and 1500 or so others came together at the Enmore Theatre in Sydney for what felt like would be the last music gig ever on the planet. We weren't far from wrong.
As the lead singer of Aussie crew The Southern River Band (supporting the UK's The Darkness) ripped out a riff, he declared to the crowd "this is the last (insert expletive) rock n roll show in the world before they shut the whole (insert another expletive) lot down". We cheered and on that night rock and roll did not die.
And thank goodness. Music, art, the written word, video, sound, lights, colours and pictures - the mediums that make us creative beings - is the glue that is holding it all together at the moment, it seems.
When time is poor and life is fast and having "real conversations" with friends and family are fleeting, we bemoan the shackles that have us permanently connected to the screens we view and share our lives through.
Imagine this time with no music, movies, television or books.Marie van Gend, choir director
Now, with the luxury of time, the very technology that feels like it separates and isolates us, has been the very thing that has kept us connected. And we've used it in extraordinary ways to write a new story.
The creative collaboration we are seeing right across the world has transcended closed borders, infiltrated quarantine zones and given us hope when the evolving beast that is COVID-19 takes a new turn or another precious life each day.
It has helped us rewrite the rules around communication, the way we do business, the way we stay connected and how we share stories of hope - those gentle little nudges via a funny meme, a heartwarming drive-by celebration or online birthday, neighbours on their balconies singing or livestreamed music events that remind us that we will make it out the other side - together.
A community choir in Port Macquarie, Kala Rava, proved they could be united in voice, if not in body and the result was musical magic.
Led by director Marie van Gend, their rendition of All I Ask of You involved recording their individual voices and melding them together in one song.
Marie humbly described the finished work as "particularly lovely".
"I hope that we have learned to slow down, value relationships and value the arts - as that is where we turn when things get tough," she said. "Imagine this time with no music, movies, television or books."
It has been a time of rapid innovation and change. We will prove Darwin's theory right - that is that those who are prepared to adapt will survive.
Even the Country Women's Association has continued to blaze a trail and have not let the cancellation of the Royal Easter Show (the first time this has happened since the Spanish flu in 1919) rain on their parade. Come to the stage, the virtual scone.
They might not be hot and oozing with sweet jam and cream, but you can go online and buy a virtual treat and continue to support the great work of their organisation across our country.
On the business front, outside-the-box thinking has seen the complete transformation of traditional business models.
Bega general practitioner and anaesthetist Duncan Mackinnon, renowned Frogs Hollow designer Peter Bevitt and Stony Creek's North of Eden distillery joined forces to supply the region with hand sanitiser. The distillery successfully switched its business strategy to manufacture the alcohol-based disinfectant to World Health Organisation standards. Now that's impressive!
We don't know how long this will last, but if we continue to create, collaborate, share and celebrate what is good us, we will make it.
Continue to wash your hands, make sure you stay at home, follow the guidance of the health experts. But also don't forget to smile and be kind.
On the other side, I hope life become richer because of its simplicity. See you there.
Editor, Port Macquarie News
PS: We'll be back with you on Monday. Enjoy Easter - but stay home.
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