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Australia's Big Christmas Sing-A-Long celebrating older Australians

A two-hour national Christmas celebration aims to lift the spirits of 1.5 million older Australians in aged care and retirement living, their families and care staff, after a very difficult and unique year.

Narelda Jacobs will be hosting the Christmas Sing-A-Long on Thursday, 17 December. [Source: Christmas Sing-A-Long website]

The Big Christmas Sing-A-Long is an online festive show, broadcasting on Thursday, 17 December from 1-3 pm AEDT, which will feature a huge range of Australian stars and international celebrities.

This show has been organised by Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) and Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) in partnership with aged care service provider, the Royal Freemasons' Benevolent Institute (RFBI). 

All seven of the aged care peak representative groups, ACSA, LASA, UnitingCare, Baptist Care, Anglicare, the Aged Care Guild and Catholic Health Australia, are promoting the event to their members. 

Attendees to this year's Sing-A-Long are encouraged to contribute to the concert. The event will be hosted by Narelda Jacobs from Studio 10 and have appearances by some big Australian favourites like Johnny Young, Normie Rowe AM, Kamahl, and Ernie Dingo.

Home care clients and residents in residential care and retirement villages, including families and communities, have provided pre-recorded videos of Christmas carols and festive messages that will be included in the Sing-A-Long.

With millions experiencing the challenges of COVID-19 this year, Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Sean Rooney, says the Sing-A-Long will be an important occasion and celebration for many.

"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," says Mr Rooney.

Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) CEO, Pat Sparrow, says, "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.

"Sing-A-Longs 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."

RFBI CEO, Frank Price, added that the idea is to restore older people's lives and feelings in a positive way through this special event, and that it is wonderful everyone can join this broadcast.

The Sing-A-Long could be broadcast to over 3,000 aged care homes, retirement villages and home care organisations with an accumulated 5 million people.

One feature of the show is a video montage of the 12 Days of Christmas performed by Australian residential and home care providers and retirement villages.

Studio 10 presenter and Ten News First national newsreader, Narelda Jacobs, says, "This is a wonderful way to give back to our seniors during a year that’s robbed us all of cherished time together.

"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.”

Johnny Young, Dutch Australian singer, composer and host, says, "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."

Australian singer and songwriter, Normie Rowe, says he is also looking forward to being involved in such a great initiative.

"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,” says Mr Rowe.

"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 Sing-A-Long 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."

This event is also linked to a similar broadcast in the United Kingdom and there may be some local messages and carols broadcast in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, along with UK performers contributing to Australia's broadcast. 

To learn more or buy tickets to the event, head to the Big Christmas Sing-A-Long website.


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